I was 8 years old and keenly aware of how I was always falling short of my mom’s expectations and my own. One Sunday, my babysitter was going to a revival meeting at her holiness church, and since she was watching me that day I tagged along. As the service progressed there was a lot of singing and music, and women began throwing themselves all over the ground. They were twisting and writhing. The women seemed unconscious, for they would not, and could not respond to others. I asked someone what was going on to which they responded, “she caught the Holy Ghost”. These were the “spiritual” super consecrated ones, so what was happening to them was something to attain. As the music continued, a baptism service began. There was a long line for people to get baptized, and someone explained to me that getting baptized washed our sins away.
Well, well, well I thought, “As rotten as I am, I for sure needed to get baptized.” I stood in the line, and soon enough was standing in the water getting dunked “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. After I was baptized, with my sins being washed away, I felt I should be able to now catch the Holy Ghost. As the music continued, I went to where the women were who were “slain in the spirit” were, and I watched how they were doing it. Then I threw myself on the ground, flailed about knocking over chairs, imitating what I had seen. But nothing supernatural happened to me.
I reasoned, “There must be some sins left. I need to get baptized again.” So to the line I went. I made it to the waters, I and was again baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. I went back to the flip flopping women and tried again…..to no avail; then back to the water for a third dunking, and back to the flip flopping again. This craziness lasted for HOURS. I went home that day as lost as ever, wet, tired and bruised. In that building, that I dare not call a church, The pure Word of the Lord was not taught.
There was music, emotion, talking, and works that a person could do to attain to righteousness and cleanness, but the Word of God, the Work of the Holy Spirit, and the name of JESUS WAS MISSING.
Six years later, at age 14 I heard the Word of God preached, and my heart burned within me. I learned from the Word of God that, “Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”.
Getting baptized, “catching the Holy Ghost”, speaking in tongues could never do for my soul what Christ alone came to do. On January 5, 1991, I turned my heart from my own efforts to be better, and put my faith and trust in Christ alone to save me. That day the Holy Spirit came into my heart and soul, made me alive, and sealed me without me even having to flail about!
According to the Scripture in Matthew 28, because I believed on Jesus Christ, one month later, I was baptized, but not to wash away any sins. The blood of Christ did that. I was baptized in obedience to the command of Jesus for believers to be baptized, in order to identify with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Finally, I was baptized as an outward testimony to man of what Christ had accomplished in my heart. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ by faith thus being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, and obeying the first command as a true believer to be baptized begins the journey of Preparing for His Kingdom and Living for His glory.