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UCG-A Bible Insights Thursday, March 12 2020

Baptism: surrendering to God

Samantha shares her realisation that part of the process of repentance that leads us to unconditionally surrender our will to God and seek baptism involves recognizing the motives that govern our behaviour.

by Samantha Thomson

It wasn’t long before I realised I had a special ‘power’. ‘The power to have my own, self-serving desires in situations and work towards them in a socially-acceptable, unnoticed way. The power of what I call the ‘underground agenda’ allows us to act on our own behalf while appearing neutral, or better yet, for the good of others.

The basic human desire to serve yourself first is one of the constants in life, as indicated by God’s corrective command to not to do anything out of ‘selfish ambition and vain conceit’ (Philippians 2:3-4)· It’s hard to overcome the belief that if you don’t work to ensure your interests are taken care of, no-one else will take care of them.

I have lived a fairly ‘Christian-looking’ life. Much of what God says about Christian living makes sense, and keeping the Sabbaths and Holy Days has been a fairly straight-forward decision for me. But through much discussion, I realised that one of my discomforts about a relationship with God was that I couldn’t get anything ‘past’ Him. An authentic relationship with God could not survive alongside my continued, self-serving ‘underground agendas’. Alternately phrased, an authentic relationship with God could not exist if I sought to control all parts of my environment to suit me.

Scripture says submission to God is not a one-off event, but a daily decision. While outsourcing your priorities to God’s can feel counter-intuitive, it is made easier when you know that His agenda is for us to prosper (John 10:10) and grow in our relationship with Him and others (John 17:20-23). When you think about it, this goal is much more settling than our own, which often disregards our future and meaningful relationship growth (1 John 2:16).

I am now baptised, and quickly learning that the same underground motivations I had before my baptism remain close by. For the time ahead, I will remember that, with God and his Holy Spirit, I will not need my old ‘underground agenda’ to keep me ‘okay’.