Today we live because our Father in Heaven lives. This statement alone should motivate all of us to hold on and never give in to dead-end thinking. We must press on, even when it seems as if the walls of life are closing in on us.

In Romans 6:4 the Bible says we were therefore buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life ... At this time I want to take a few minutes to let everyone that is reading this article know that to die with Christ is to live! This particular scripture is very powerful and when we fully understand its meaning we can experience a new life --- a life full of peace, joy and understanding.

Many of us may have been baptized in the past and we may have done it because we were told we were supposed to be baptized. Some of us may have been baptized because grandma made us. Some of us may have been baptized because we thought the water would clean us up and some of us may have been baptized because our pastor said this is what Jesus did in his time. Well, if any of those reasons were your reason for being baptized then you need to consider going back down in the water.

At this time I will share the true meaning of baptism as it is explained in Romans 6:4. When we go down under the water that symbolizes us dying with Christ and then when we come up out of the water that is a symbol of us being raised up from the dead with Christ. As we can see baptism is simply a way to show others we have chosen a new way of life. Baptism is a statement saying that I am burying my old sinful way of life and I am now living my life as a follower of Christ.

Now I want to be very clear and honest with you all and inform you that making the decision to follow Christ is easy, but to actually live your life for Christ and truly follow him is extremely difficult.

I want to share some of my own personal struggles that I have encountered since I made the choice to follow Christ. I have loved the wrong man. I have spent money on the wrong things. I have said the wrong things at times. I have thought wrong and negative thoughts. I have chosen the wrong friends. I have trusted the wrong people. I have made some bad choices in life. Basically, I just messed up.

If we look at all of those wrongs closely we see that they all start with the word I, so the point that I want to make is that I was standing in my own way because I was not truly following the Lord. As we can see I was following myself. When we make the decision to follow Christ then we must give ourselves completely to him and move self out of the way. I have learned that sin has no power or control over us when we get out of the way. Many of us walk around and blame the enemy for our mishaps and mess-ups, but we fall when we stop following Christ and decide to do it our way. Yes, sin is real, but the choice to sin is ours.

In order to allow God to be in control, we must pray and ask the Lord to teach us how to let go and let God. The key is to stop wanting to be in control of our lives and to follow Christ wholeheartedly. I say this because we all automatically have a sinful nature because we were born with it into a sin-filled world. I know from experience that we are our own worst enemy. Think about this for a moment ... Oftentimes when we want something or want to do something we say, "I want!" Those two words hold us back from receiving perfect peace. I want us all to try something different today and start using two new words: "God wants!"

To be alive in Christ does not mean our life will be perfect and that we will not have any trouble. To be alive in Christ means during our hard times we can trust, rely and depend on the Lord to get us through our own personal dilemmas day to day.

As I travel on this journey through life the Lord is still showing me the way as he continually opens my eyes to see the truth. God has allowed me to see that most of my personal struggles had come from within me. I was my own problem because I was allowing my feelings to take control of my thoughts and my actions and this was the cause of my bad choices. Today I want to ask you all to take the time to search yourselves and decide to truly live today in the newness of life that only comes from the Lord.

Betty Badie is the founder and director of Positive Vibes Prayer/Outreach Ministry. Betty is an active member of Means Avenue Baptist Church and is under the leadership of Pastor Buddy Slaughter.

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