It’s been over 20 years in the making and I’m in awe of God’s faithful handprints evident in my life. I was not raised in a Christian household but I was first introduced to Christ when my parents enrolled my sister and I to Chinese school in the United States, which was also a local church. Despite growing up hearing Bible stories, attending Sunday school, singing Christian children’s songs in choir and participating in youth group, it wasn’t until I was older that I came to have a deeper, personal understanding of the gospel and its weight.
I have always been chasing. Chasing to get into a good school, chasing to get a good job, chasing to get the next promotion, and chasing to look like I have everything together in my life: the perfect student, the perfect employee, the perfect Christian. While chasing after these worldly idols, I slowly but surely began to take the driver seat from God and became prideful when I achieved something. I thought, if I worked hard for something, then I deserved it. I have pushed God to the passenger seat and boy was I wrong. Everything I have was given by God – I do not deserve any of it, and yet the punishment for the sins I’ve committed and deserved were paid for me.
I have been convicted by Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that is not of yourself, it is the gift of God.” I am saved through faith, there was nothing I could have done to earn it. The price for the sins I’ve committed have already been paid – this is a gift from God. “Jesus died for us not because we are worthy, but because we are unworthy and there’s no other way for us to be made worthy” (John Piper). We aren’t saved by living the “perfect life”, but by Christ justifying us through faith in Jesus. He did not just pardon our sins by dying on the cross, but broke the bondage of sinning. We are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone.
The weight of truly carrying the cross is not light. It means placing Jesus at the driver seat and letting Him reign in every facet of our lives. But there is hope and joy of being saved. I am flawed and will constantly be falling short, but I don’t have to be the “perfect person”. My value is no longer in what I do or strive to become, but in Christ alone. I am accepted by Christ, just as I am, stripped from all sparkles.
For me, baptism has been a long time coming, but God has called me, chosen me, and appointed me to obey in His leading, to carry the cross, to live a life of repentance, and to become a faithful witness of His love and bear the good news of the hope Jesus brings to those around me, wherever I am.