January 14 marked a day this year that I’ll never forget. As my wife and daughter, my whole family and my wife’s family all gathered at Doxa Church in Bellevue, Wash., I was baptized for the second time.
You see, I was baptized as an infant, as all the kids in my family were. But it wasn’t until my college years that I really made my faith in Christ my own. That’s when I truly started following Him with an understanding of what He’s done for me. I knew then that I needed to live for Him; there was nothing I could say or do that would be able to take me away from His Kingdom. The choice to be a Christian was finally my own.
From that moment on, I felt a pull on my heart to be baptized, but I always tried to justify why I shouldn’t. I found excuses such as, “That would be egotistical. I don’t need to draw attention to myself.” But that was a lie from the enemy. Or I would think, “I was baptized as an infant already. I have the Holy Spirit inside me — I pray and communicate with God all the time.” Again, that was the enemy talking. I even feared what my parents would think. Would they think I’m ungrateful for my infant baptism or that I thought it wasn’t good enough? Once again, the enemy was scheming to keep me from answering the call of Christ to obey Him.
I continually thought back to a moment during my freshman year of college, after I had committed my life to the Lord, when I witnessed baptisms at my church. I remember crying for the first time during baptisms; it was so beautiful to watch people — new creations in Christ — publicly declare their passion and commitment to Christ. But in the coming years, I continued to find ways to justify why I didn’t need to do it myself.
This past offseason the nudge was there again and getting stronger. I felt called to act on it, so I began to really pray about baptism. It was clear God had placed this on my heart, so I was eager to obey. Our church in Washington typically does baptisms every few months and I knew that by the time the next one would come around, I would be away for spring training. So I called Pastor Jeff Vanderstelt, explained our situation, and asked him if he could make an exception. He was all for it and even found others who would want to be baptized on the same day.
As I entered the baptism tank that day, surrounded by family, friends and church community, I was asked to share my testimony, but I found myself speechless. I couldn’t manage to get any words out of my mouth, I was so overwhelmed. In that moment, I felt the Spirit of God stronger than I ever have before. As I came out of the water and stood next to my pastor and my wife, I knew nothing had changed — I had already been born again — but I felt renewed. It was a powerful experience. This was something I had been feeling called to do for a long time, and finally I answered that call.
Being baptized seems like a small act, but it’s important to act in obedience to God, no matter what it is He’s calling you to do. No matter how big or small an act may be, we need to realize that we do not live for the judgment of man. We are living for the Lord and whatever our Lord calls us to do — whether or not it goes against our culture or contrary to common sense — we have to be bold enough to obey.
“The righteous are as bold as a lion.” — Proverbs 28:1
The public display of baptism may or may not lead someone else to discover Christ. For me, it was important to declare that I’m made new because of the sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross. I’m acknowledging I choose to live in light of His grace. This act was one of complete surrender — surrender of everything I’m holding onto. This was me saying, “Father, You are my true Father and my one King. I live for You and I surrender to You. You are in complete control of my life.”
— Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers pitcher
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.