The daily goal of remembering our baptism can be summed up by Martin Luther, “So truly, a Christian life is nothing other than a daily remembering of our baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be done without ceasing, that we always keep purging away whatever belongs to our old nature, through the power of Christ’s death. Then what belongs to our new nature, through the power of Christ’s resurrection, may come forth.”
Almost every minute of every day we are engaged with our own internal self-talk phrase. This self-talk phrase, for better or worse, interprets the events of our daily lives.
Mental health research has discovered: ×Events alone do not create good or bad emotions = Self-talk of events creates good or bad emotions
We all have negative self-talk statements running through our minds at all times. Our internal monologue is a never-silent stream of self-talk statements, which create either good or bad emotions. The following ten destructive thought patterns are the most common negative self-talk statements:
1.All or Nothing. This destructive self-talk states that something is perceived as all good or all bad: If I don’t get an A in math, it’s the same as failing.
2.Overgeneralization. Making rules and drawing conclusions to apply to every situation: Mary didn’t want to go to the movies; nobody wants to go on a date with me.
3.Ignoring the Positive. Only paying attention to problems and weaknesses: My friends tell me I am a good golfer, but they are only trying to make me feel better.
4.Inferring. Thinking another person has negative motives: The only reason Bobby gave me a hug is because he wants to use my car.
5.Mind Reading. Thinking you know the thoughts and desires of another person: She told me she’s going to visit grandpa but she’s really going to visit grandma.
6.Magnification. The pattern of convincing yourself that it’s the little things that really upset us. It was not an innocent mistake, she refused to look directly at me.
7.Minimization. When you ignore positive things as being insignificant. Well, I got a raise but it’s not even close to what I need.
8.Infallibility. The belief that your feelings represent reality. Ross, nobody thinks Tom insulted you, except you.
9.Labeling. The practice of name-calling with the use of derogatory labels for others. Mary is the absolute biggest klutz; she breaks everything.
10.Fortune Telling. The false understanding that you are capable of predicting the future. It won’t do me any good to talk to Jane, she just doesn't listen.
By recognizing and replacing a negative and destructive self-talk phrase with a positive and constructive self-talk phrase, it can give us the capacity to feel good and act great. Destructive Self-Talk Constructive Self-Talk Something always goes wrong The Spirit is my daily guide I worry about everything The Father is my provider He makes my blood boil Christ empowers me to love I am usually right Jesus Christ is my Lord
A.We can use a brief order of confession and forgiveness, usually in the morning, as a way to remember our baptism. Example: I was baptized in the name of the Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, and adopted into the eternal family of the Trinity. Merciful God, I confess that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done and by what I have left undone. Forgive me, so that I might be renewed in the covenant of my baptism. It is important that we refrain from always using this type of generic confession. More often than not, our confession should reflect self-examination. Most of us are experts at examining the sins of others. However, we are much less capable at identifying our own sins. Our confession, to be most helpful, needs to bring before Christ specific sinful thoughts, words, and actions. The traditional word for this is the examination of conscience. One way to help us identify our sins is to review the Ten Commandments. Another way to identify our sins that has been helpful to many in the Church is to review the Seven Deadly Sins. When we confess our sins there is a need for our sins to be specific. We want to be honest with God, and ourselves, in order to be truly grateful for God’s forgiveness.
B.We can use a verbal acclamation of thanksgiving to remember our baptism. Luther was known to have frequently said out loud, I am baptized! As we go through the day we can use water as a helpful trigger for a baptismal acclamation of thanksgiving. Example: I am baptized… Christ is with me!
C.We can remember our baptism throughout each day by singing a renewal of baptism to a favorite piece of music. Example: Remembering our baptism may be easily put together with a familiar tune like Amazing Grace: Bap-tized and a-dopted in God’s fam-ily. God is my fa-ther now. Je-sus has be-come the Lo-rd of my life. The Holy Spir-it lives in me.
D.Whenever we see water we can give thanks to God for our baptism. When we wash up with water in the morning it is an excellent time to renew our baptismal identity as a child of God. A helpful way to renew our baptism is with a prayer of thanksgiving as we make the sign of the cross upon us. Example: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I am an adopted child in God’s eternal family!
E.Wearing a cross can become a trigger that encourages us to thank God for our baptism and ask him to allow us to become more like Christ. Similarly, wearing a military style dog tag can also be a visual reminder of who’s we are as a result of being baptized. It is also popular to hang a baptismal dog tag on a bed post, or a shower head, to help trigger the remembering of our baptism. Dog tags can be inexpensively customized on the internet with a message like: I’m a baptized and adopted child in the eternal family of the Trinity.
F.Like the Christians in Cyprian’s day, we can trace a cross upon our foreheads to recall being baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. We might also want to trace a cross upon the forehead of a loved one to remind them of their eternal adoption into God’s eternal family through baptism.
G.Repeat, throughout each day, your own personal and constructive internal self-talk phrase, which is a powerful way to thank God for all the blessings of our baptismal adoption into his family. (Info on internal self-talk can be found in the next session)
Which of these ways of remembering appeals to you the most?
In many respects the daily renewal of baptism is a process of confession and renewal. According to Scripture (Acts 2:38, 17:30), if we are to receive God’s renewing forgiveness we must first confess our sins. If we claim that we’re free from sin, we’re only fooling ourselves, which is nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing (1 John 1:9).
+It is necessary to reflect upon the thoughts, words, and deeds that we have committed, which do not reflect our status as a baptized child of God. It can be helpful to reflect upon the Ten Commandments (See chapter 4b. Preparing), to identify how we have sinned. Another similar resource to consider is the seven deadly sins (pride, anger, lust, envy, greed, sloth, and gluttony), that we have committed. It is necessary that we be specific in our confession. For example: I need to stop lying to my boss, instead of, I need to be more honest. Our confession needs to be specific about what we have actually done, or left undone.
+After we have identified a particular sin that we have committed, we next need to ask: Why did I commit that sin? The answer to this question is critical because sin is often an attempt to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way.
+Next, we want to ask, What has happened as a result of my sin? In other words, What are some of the negative consequences of my sin? For instance, a common consequence is that our sin of lying can evolve into a chronic pattern of lying.
+It is helpful to recognize that often our sinning has hurt others in our lives. If we have hurt another person we need to seek reconciliation with them (Matthew 18:15)
+Confession is not just about recognizing what we have done, but how we will need to change in order to avoid a repeating pattern of sin. This involves trying to set right what we did wrong, in a very intentional manner, so that a pattern of sinning is not established.
+The most important reason to confess our sins is to receive God’s forgiveness. When God forgives us of our sins, he forgives all of our sins. An important way to recognize God’s complete forgiveness of our sins is to make the sign of the cross upon our forehead or chest, which affirms God’s unconditional forgiveness for the baptized and adopted children in his family.
+Read aloud Psalm 51:1, 10-12 or Psalm 103:8-13, for the assurance of God’s loving forgiveness.
How often do you participate in confession?
Why do you think God wants us to confess our sins before he forgives us?
Throughout the ages, Christians have remembered their baptismal adoption into God’s family in many different ways. Tertullian (AD 211) described a common way to be renewed in our baptism that was popular in his age: Before we bathe in the morning, as we put on our clothes, whenever we eat, attend to the activities of our daily lives, we, the baptized, trace the sign of the cross upon our foreheads. Cyprian (AD 250) also taught: those who have been baptized have the sign of the cross, the sign of blood, marked upon their foreheads at the highest part of the body to recall the lifted-up cross in which we have been baptized.
Has it been important to you to remember your Baptism?
Luther said… Never adopt the opinion that your baptism is something that happened in the past and cannot be used in our present life. Baptism is not a one-time action, but a truly splendid on-going act of God. Everyone should therefore look upon baptism like the clothes we put on every day. We should at all times be clothed in the blessings of baptism. We must every day remember our baptism so that our old nature is suppressed and our new nature in Christ would be allowed to grow toward maturity.
Martin Luther was fond of saying…I am baptized (using the present passive verb) rather than, I was baptized (the past perfect tense verb). With this emphasis, Luther describes baptism as an ongoing condition before God. Baptism is not just a past event, but defines both who we are and what we will become. When Scripture invites us to remember (anamnesis, Greek), it is not an invitation to merely reflect on something that happened in the past. The word remember, as it is used in Scripture, is a reliving of a past event in such a way that it becomes a powerful and living present experience. Therefore, remembering our baptism is a similar, yet positive, experience to that of a veteran reliving a past event through post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Martin Luther said…Baptism is the greatest event in our lives; nothing else in all of life can begin to compare to the significance and importance of God's gift of a new and eternal life through baptism. If there is anything we should daily remember, if there is anything we should keep from forgetting, it would most certainly be our baptism! The act of baptism is quickly over as we can plainly see. But, the drowning of sin and our rising to a new life lasts throughout our whole life. Therefore, the life of a Christian, from our beginning in baptism to the grave, is nothing else than a series of deaths and risings to prepare us for our final day when God will make us altogether new.
How do you feel about what Luther said regarding Baptism?
When we are baptized into the Triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are baptized into the mission of the Trinity in the world (Matt 28:18-20). The mission of the Trinity in our world is most often referred to as Christ’s mission—Christ’s mission of reconciliation. Through our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ we become full participants in his mission. Through our baptism into Christ’s ongoing mission of reconciliation, our broken relationships with God, others, and the world are in the process of being made whole…reconciled.Through our baptism into the life of Christ and his mission of reconciliation, God promises us that we will be reconciled (united) with the family of the Trinity, the human family, and the world into eternity. To reconcile is to have a relationship free of conflicts, differences, or divisions; one united in harmony. In the New Testament two terms are used to describe our reconciliation with God: adoption and access.
AdoptionThe Father sent his Son on a mission in which the Holy Spirit adopted us into the family of the Trinity. John tells us that we become the adopted children of the Trinity through baptism. Paul tells us that through baptism we have become children of the Father and heirs (inheritors) of God (Gal 4:5). Jesus, who regularly addressed God as Father, invites us to do the same. We are to approach our heavenly Father affectionately, as we would our own earthly father (Abba/Daddy).
Access St. Paul tells us that we have access through our baptism into the fellowship of the Trinity. We have access to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:17-18), to effect Christ’s mission of reconciliation in our world.Since we have access to the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart (Heb 10:19-21). Through Christ’s death on the cross, he has united us with God into a new and reconciled relationship which transcends death and offers eternal life to all in his family. Christ’s gift of reconciliation has both a vertical relationship to God, as well as a horizontal relationship to people. Paul teaches that Christ has removed the barriers that divide us (Eph 2:14). And, the power of his reconciliation extends throughout the Church, society, creation, and even the entire universe (Col 1:15-20). Are you familiar with what the Bible teaches about the Trinity?
The Apostle’s Creed is based on a short description of the Triune God in whom we were baptized. The Apostle’s Creed was developed from a series of questions originally asked of a person (or a child’s sponsor) prior to Baptism. Its oldest origin occurs in the first century.
The First Part: God the Creator I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Luther’s explanation: I believe that God has created me together with all creatures. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul; eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties. In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. God does all this out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.(Psalm 8)
The Second Part: God the Redeemer I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Luther’s explanation: I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father in eternity, and also true human being, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person. He has purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I may belong to him, live in his kingdom, and serve him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules in eternity. This is most certainly true.(Luke 23:39-46)
The Third Part: God the Sanctifier I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Luther’s explanation: I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy, and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith. Daily in this Christian Church the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins—mine and those of all believers. On the last day the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead and will give to me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true. (Acts 2)
Christ presented himself to be a sacrifice for us, on our behalf, because there is no way we could have done anything to improve our relationship to God on our own. God put his love into his Son and offered him as a sacrifice even before we knew of him. Now, this sacrifice is the only way we can be set right with God. Through this ancient blood sacrifice which God instituted, there is no longer any question about being at odds with God in any way. Now that we have received this amazing relationship with God as a gift, we can no longer be content with our old life, but live our new life in praise of our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we are given this new and perfect relationship to God. (Romans 5:9-11)
Q. What does it mean that God’s grace saves us from our original sinful nature? A. Original describes how all the sins of humanity are directly connected to the original sin of Adam and Eve (Romans 5:19,21). Because of our first parents’ original sin, all people who come after them now incur the “wrath of God, death, and are influenced by evil” (Romans 6:23). Sinfuldescribes our human tendency to be so self-centered that we regularly break our relationship to God, do not fully trust God to take care of us, and have regular cravings to experience destructive forms of pleasure. (Romans 1:21-32). The sinful nature is the origin of all our sinning. Biblically speaking, people are not sinners because they commit sins, but because they have an internal sinful nature which produces all the sins they commit. As human beings, we needed to be saved or rescued, not so much from our sinful actions, but from the source of all our sinning; theoriginal sinful nature. Nature describes how our sinfulness is a natural part of our lives from the day we were born to the day we will die (Psalm 51:5; Galatians 5:7). Both the world of nature and our sinful nature, since the time of Eden, have been tainted by sin, death, and evil. No matter how moral or determined a person tries to be, they cannot rid themselves of their original sinful nature. Ask yourself…How would you describe, in your own words, your “original sinful nature”?
Q. How did Jesus describe our “original sinful nature”? A. Jesus taught that all people have an inherited inner source of evil that cannot be blamed on a bad environment, a poor education, or any other condition. Jesus tells us that this inner source of evil lies in-waiting with every conceivable destructive desire: evil thoughts, acts of fornication, theft, murder, adultery, ruthlessness, greed, malice, fraud, indecency, envy, slander, arrogance, lust, rage, hate, jealousy, cruelty, revenge, and foolishness. This inner source of evil can be compared to a calm lake with a murky muddy bottom which can easily be stirred-up so that the entire lake becomes filled with murky mud. It only takes a small hurt, small broken expectation, or temptation by satan to stir-up our murky bottom of evil desires. Ask yourself…Which destructive “desire” do you think is the worst?
Q. How did Martin Luther describe our “original sinful nature”? A. Luther describes our original sinful nature as the natural part of every person that is selfishly turned in on itself. In other words, selfishness that creates more selfishness. The Bible tells us that God’s order of priorities for our lives is to: 1.) Love God 2.) Love neighbor 3.) Love self The original sinful nature of selfishness reverses and distorts God’s order to: 1.) Love self (and repeatedly love self) 2.) Love neighbors (when it benefits us) 3.) Love God (when things are going my way) Ask yourself…In your own words, how would you describe the “original sinful nature”?
It is taught among us that since the fall of Adam into sin all people who are born are conceived and born into sin. That is, all people are full of evil, lust, and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and inherited sin condemns us to the eternal wrath of God, except for those who are born from above through Baptism and the Holy Spirit. (“The Book of Concord”)
When we daily remember our baptism, we are remembering a powerful act of God, which cannot be captured in a video recording. When we recall how God has transformed our lives through baptism, a sense of gratitude spontaneously wells up within us. Gratitude is one of the greatest virtues in shaping our new life with Christ. Martin Luther referred to gratitude as, the basic Christian attitude and the very heart of the gospel. There is a large body of research to indicate that grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed-out, and more satisfied with life.
What is your experience with an attitude of gratitude?