Baptism usually refers to immersion into a body of water and afterwards becoming a new creature. That is the brief version of the symbolic deed. I like to draw further light onto the nature of baptism through my own illustrations. Envision the stoniest mountains and the driest deserts becoming absorbed into the moist, soft, greenery of the earth. The mountains melt away, and the deserts become saturated with water as a new form develops into the landscape. Renewal of life blossoms to replace the hardness of the stony mountains, and the dryness of the hot deserts.
That is what spiritual baptism does for the state of our inner being. The hard, stony, dry, hot places within us become immersed into soft, moist places where divine qualities thrive. We begin to experience a difference within us through the blossoms of the spiritual fruit. The softness of love, kindness, goodwill, peace, gentleness, meekness, joy, faith, goodness, perseverance, self-control, and patience becomes who we are.
Spiritual baptism immerses us into the waters of health for the human body. Envision your immersion into a population of people who cherish the welfare of your health. On a hot day, there are plenty of nutritional and cool drinks to replenish the fluids you desire. When you are hungry, the people around you offer food that enables the body to thrive with energy and health. The quality of air is fresh and full of oxygen because those in the environment want our lungs to inhale life-giving air. That healthy environment is only possible because the spiritual fruit of love, goodwill, and kindness exist for the health of one another.
In contrast, envision being thrust into an environment that tears down and destroys the body. The people of that population offer you drink that rob the body of the nourishing liquids desired. In addition, the food offered contains very little nutritional value and dumps junk into the body that ruins your health. Furthermore, the body is introduced to various forms of smokes and toxins that alter the healthy function within the body. This environment is full of people who have not experienced the inner baptism of the spiritual fruit. They do not feel a need to honor the body as the home of a divine presence.
Spiritual baptism immerses us into the waters of a safe and secure environment. Imagine your immersion into an area of life where you felt joy in the job you have, and a reserve of bountiful finances gave you peace. That would make you smile and fill you with thankfulness for the population that made that security possible. In that circumstance, you feel safe with the pleasant, meek, and gentle people around you. The spiritual fruit of peace, meekness, gentleness, and love makes the baptism into that secure world possible.
However, imagine being thrust into an environment that made you feel very insecure and unsafe. The workplace causes sadness from the negative performance evaluations and hostility of peers, despite your fruitful spirit. You have no savings account and might have enough money from your checking to pay a bill. That could fill you with conflict, strife, and stress as insecurities begin to mount and the situation becomes volatile and unsafe. In that environment, the world seems harsh, full of arrogance, and incites conflict between each other. An environment like that is not experiencing internal baptism that blossoms with spiritual fruit. That population of people will wear away through hatred, cruelty, and ill-intent to one another.
Spiritual baptism immerses us into the waters of belonging in a loving society of people. We would all want to envision ourselves being accepted, loved, welcomed, and befriended at school, work, home, church, or community events. That would be a population of people where the fruit of love, peace, faith, goodness, and joy blossoms from within each person. Our immersion into an environment like that is possible when our inner being experience’s baptism into a divine presence.
In contrast, imagine being thrust into a population of people that were full of intolerance, hatred, cruelty, and ill-intentions to others. In that environment, there are no mutual friendships based on love and acceptance, but only bickering. The groups at school, work, church, home, or in the community seem like gangs prepared for battle. An environment like that exists because there is a void of the spiritual fruit within the people. Their inner being does not experience the baptism belonging to that divine inward presence.
Spiritual baptism immerses us into the waters of experiencing self-worth and respect for others. How wonderful of a feeling when people give us praise for doing good, and nourishing the worth of others. Our immersion into an environment that fills our esteem for performing goodwill, conveying love, and bringing joy magnifies our feelings of worth. Just sharing a smile with someone and expressing faith in the goodness that lives in others does wonders for the ego. That self-worth and respect for others blossoms from the same baptism from which the spiritual fruit sprouts.
Conversely, who would want to be thrust into an environment where self-worth diminishes and disrespect for others was rampant? Instead of self-esteem, there would be feelings of self-hatred, cruelty to self in many forms, and ill-intentions for the use of the body. That leads to self-destructive behaviors to self and others. Because a person feels no esteem from their population, they lose respect for the worth of others. They begin to abuse self and become destructive to the people around them. That environment deteriorates because self-worth has not experienced the baptism into the presence where divine qualities flourish.
Spiritual baptism immerses us into the waters of fruitful self-expression in words and deeds. The way we express ourselves involves our beliefs, thoughts, ideals, ability to solve issues, etc. Immersion into an environment where our words and deeds flows through the fruit of the spirit would be joyful and harmonic. A kind word of praise to the dishwasher is as equal as a loving word for the person mopping the floor. It is when our words and deeds are immersed into the spiritual fruit that we can express ourselves compassionately.
In contrast, to be thrust into a population of people without fruitfulness in words and deeds would be a horrifying experience. Behaviors would be confrontational and words would be very “one-sided.”. How could you even entertain the thought of visiting different cultures or expressing an idea of a noble nature? Every opinion would have to be the same, each word following a “script,” and every deed to “fall in line” with everyone else. The spiritual fruit would be absent.
Some people want to deny the baptism that immerses us into the waters of spiritual fruit. They want to keep our inner selves stony, hot, and dry where sadness and anger persist. Their intent is to avoid mutual behavior that causes immersion into the moist, soft nature of the spirit’s fruit. However, baptism into the divine presence where spiritual fruit blossom is the only solution to peace, love, and faith with one another.
We can assess that spiritual baptism immerses us into the fruitfulness of that inner divinity. The diagnosis is that some people want to keep us hard and dry within ourselves where friction and destruction exist. Even so, we plan to experience the fullness that spiritual baptism brings to our living. We implement that plan by immersing our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors into the soft moist qualities of our inmost being. The evaluation of our success is through the spiritual fruit that blossoms through us. When the fruit of the spirit is evident, we know our baptism is of the divinity in us, God.