by Rick Warren
By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life. Romans 6:4 (TEV)
"If you haven't been baptized as an expression of your faith in Christ, be obedient to Jesus and be baptized as soon as possible."
This week we're talking about developing the eyes of faith. When you are spiritually reborn, God opens your spiritual eyes and this enables you to see His work all around you and to see the many opportunities He places before you.
God will also open your spiritual ears, so you will be able to hear what people are really saying instead of what you think they are saying. When Jesus comes into your life, God opens a whole set of spiritual senses that help you see life from His point of view.
Let me give you a simple example of how this works. Have you ever been reading the Bible and, as you read a verse, it just pops out and you think, 'Wow, I never saw that before!' Even though you've read that verse fifteen times, you'd never seen the truth that just popped out for you.
What happened? God just opened your spiritual eyes.
Now, as I mentioned yesterday, there are some basic steps you must complete in order to develop the eyes of faith, in order to live life by faith, and you need to live by faith or you will never be able to complete the destiny God has planned out for you.
Your first act of faith is inviting Jesus into your life, your whole life - all the rooms - as we discussed yesterday. The second act of faith you must take is to publicly identify with Jesus. Most of us don't understand how important baptism is to the development of our faith, but it is a powerful step of faith that God uses to release His power in our lives.
Jesus wants you to publicly identify with him and He teaches this is a very serious issue. Jesus says that if you are ashamed to publicly identify with Him, He will be ashamed of you when He returns in glory (Mark 8:38).
That's pretty strong. But that's because Jesus knows how critically important this is. The Bible says, "By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life." (Romans 6:4 TEV) So the power to live a new life -- following Jesus in order to fulfill your destiny -- is empowered by the obedience you show in being baptized.
Now understand, baptism doesn't make you a member of God's family; only faith in Christ does that. But baptism does show you are part of God's family. It's like a wedding ring, a visible reminder of an inward commitment made in your heart.
It is not something you put off until you are spiritually mature. The only biblical condition is that you believe. In the New Testament, people were baptized immediately -- as soon as they believed. There are no delayed baptisms in the New Testament.
If you haven't been baptized as an expression of your faith in Christ, be obedient to Jesus and be baptized as soon as possible.