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Facing Pressure? Remember Your Baptism.

Years ago in the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas, two boys pulled the fire alarm at the Westside Middle School. As the students and their teachers exited the building, these boys began to shoot into the crowd from a slope across the parking lot, killing four students and a teacher. The thirty-two-year-old teacher was hit when she stepped in front of one of her sixth graders to save the student’s life.

I’ve often thought about why that teacher would have given her life for the life of a student without hesitation. I can only imagine that this heroic teacher had already made the decision—years before—that she was responsible for the well-being of her students. When the moment of crisis struck, Shannon Wright, the sixth-grade teacher, simply acted on a decision she had made long before.

For the believer in Jesus Christ, baptism is the moment we declare to the world our intent to follow Jesus regardless of the cost. It starts with faith that Jesus is the one and only way, coupled with what the Bible calls repentance. We turn from the ways of the dominant culture and swear allegiance to Jesus. This is why baptism typically involves some form of confession: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” In baptism we choose Christ over Caesar.


“In baptism we choose Christ over Caesar.”


Here’s how Paul puts it:

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:4–5).

At your baptism, you didn’t just get wet or simply express a sentiment. At your baptism, you declared to yourself, to your community, and, most importantly, to your God, that you would follow Jesus from this point forward. No matter what. Baptism is not a negotiation. It is not a dialogue. It is not a question. Baptism is a confession.

A “confession” is a statement of resolve. It is a declaration that you are all in and won’t back down. No matter what. Your baptism has already answered the question of how you will respond if you are ever given the difficult choice: Christ or Caesar. You have already chosen Christ. When the metaphorical (or actual) bullets start flying, your choice has already been made.


“Your baptism has already answered the question of how you will respond if you are ever given the difficult choice: Christ or Caesar.”


You have already decided to stand on the teachings of Christ, which are not open for negotiation. You have already declared that you stand for life and will not support the killing of innocent babies. You have already stated that you will stand for truth when the unbeliever bullies you with propaganda. You have already stated your commitment to the family as God defines it. You have already affirmed the principles of religious freedom. You have already declared your belief in Jesus’ teachings that any sexual practice other than that of one man and one woman in a committed married relationship is sinful.

When you were baptized, you already made your decision about challenges such as these:

  • If you are interviewing for a job and are advised that your Christianity may get in the way of the job expectations, you have already decided that you can’t compromise your Christian principles. If it’s truly an either-or, you’ll find another job.
  • If you find yourself facing an unexpected pregnancy, you will not consider abortion. Instead, you have already decided that you will make the situation right, love the baby, and stand for life.
  • If your church begins to teach that the Scriptures are wrong when they disagree with secular principles, you have already decided that you will lovingly challenge your church’s compromise. If your church refuses to listen, you have already decided that you will find another church.


“If your church begins to teach that the Scriptures are wrong when they disagree with secular principles, you have already decided that you will lovingly challenge your church’s compromise.”


  • If you are taught gender theories in the university that run contrary to the teachings of Scripture, you have already decided that you will not accept them. If your grade is conditioned on the acceptance of such dishonesty, you have already decided to seek a waiver, accept a lower grade, or just withdraw from the class.
  • If acquiring or maintaining a professional license necessitates that you affirm positions you know to be sinful, you have already decided to refuse the demand, to seek to redress the problem without compromising your commitment to Jesus, or to change careers.
  • If you are in a group of people who start to make false or disparaging statements about Christ or his church, you have already decided not to join in. You have already decided that you will never slander Christ, but that you will always exalt him.
  • If a social media mob rises in response to a news report, you have already decided to seek the truth and avoid acting on unfounded and distorted narratives. You have already decided to be a friend of the truth, not a captive to unfounded mob action.
  • If your child decides to marry someone of the same sex, you have already decided to continue to love your child, but not to sponsor or host their wedding. You have already decided that you cannot celebrate or bless sin.

“You have already decided that you will never slander Christ, but that you will always exalt him.”


To falter in these areas sets you on a path to break your vow, renege on your promise, and betray your king. In biblical terminology, it puts you on a trajectory to committing apostasy. We need to remember Jesus’ words in respect to apostasy:

“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Peter instructed the first-century church to resist the evil one and to stand firm in the face of its persecution (1 Peter 5:8–9). We must do the same. We must resist evil and stand firm in our faith, resolving that we will be faithful to Jesus regardless of what happens.

Excerpted from David Young, Resilient: Standing Firm in a Hostile World (RENEW.org, 2023). 

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