Do work on your testimony, about half an A4 page, based on the 2 questions:
1. Why do you want to get baptised?
2. How has Christ impacted your life?
1. I want to be baptised because it is instructed of those who believe in Jesus.
2. In the past, I thought I could live without God (or gods, for the matter). After all, what if there weren’t any of these things? Wouldn’t my life then misguided? When I tried to lead a life that was essentially god-less, I realised two things about myself.
One, I could not disprove the supernatural. I wasn’t atheistic. I simply judged it beyond my means of knowing. Because of past influences in my life, I was also inclined towards a meritocratic, transcendental notion of the supernatural and the afterlife. Inspired by Buddhist and Taoist thinking, at the back of my mind was the possibility that there could be something karmic going on, that salvation was to be found by ridding the self of attachments to this world, and thus of desires and the associated suffering. To take off covetousness, and to put on transcendence. I thought that even if I were areligious, such a frame of mind could make me live compassionately and graciously, and perhaps to inch closer to the ideal of the Confucian Gentleman. After all, to desire less of this world could open myself to give more to this world. At the end of it, if by some chance, the spiritual did exist, I hoped my godless life could still meet the transcendence-based criteria.
Two, being transcendental was difficult. Even as I lived by my own principles and values, I could never quite desire nothing. And it wasn’t as if I was living the moral high life; I lapsed in numerous ways, many many times. Covetousness, attachment, self-centredness – they’re not that easy to take off. Compassion without the ego, transcendence – they’re not that easy to put on.
As I studied the Bible, I was forced to confront my fallibility and the possibility of a spiritual frame that accommodated the desirous heart. Enlightenment came for me when I remembered something a friend told me way back, “We’re bound to desire something. Desire never truly disappears, it merely shifts from one to the other.” Even when I wished to put on transcendence and be one with the universe, so to speak, I was still putting myself in the centre of it all because of the meritorious nature of this mechanism of salvation. I’ve come to hold that, the pathways to salvation described in Buddhist and Taoist teachings – at least those I’ve heard of – run against one’s very nature (to be desirous) and are historically uncertain. What Jesus has done for me is to set me free from both this mechanism and the powerlessness I felt in my search for salvation and the truth.
I still struggle with self-centredness and inadequacy. Simply put, I don’t desire God as much as the Bible describes I should. I’m still struggling to understand how to lead a life that is God-centred. Egocentrism, if I may term it as such, is not easy to shake. Yet, I know I am saved, and I’m confident that God would finish what He began.