Joel Espada was baptized into Jesus on December 31, 2017. It is incredibly poetic that this would be the day, New Years Eve, that he would be made new in Christ. As the Apostle Paul discusses in Romans 6: 1-7 when we are baptized we are participating in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus and our old selves are “done away with.”
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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.
5 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. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”
As the year 2017 was done and the new year of 2018 had begun so was the old self of Joel done away with and the new “Joel” had arrived!
I asked Joel a few questions and I have put a part of the discussion here:
How did you end up deciding to make Jesus Lord of your life and what really helped you make this decision?
I decided to make Jesus Lord of my life after realizing that what I had thought I knew about what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus was in actuality contrast to the way I lived. Growing up in Christianity, I read and heard about the great commission the Lord gave His disciples to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded. But after carefully studying the scriptures, I discovered that commission was intended for me too. For years, I took it as an inspiring mission, but never a command. And when I learned that discipleship meant counting the cost, being willing to surrender everything, denying self, picking up your cross, and most importantly, following Jesus, I realized that ultimately meant obeying Jesus as Lord (master) and that obeying Jesus as Lord was something to be done with a great sense of urgency and not to be taken lightly (John 14:23). And that’s what really helped me make this decision. I wanted to truthfully obey Jesus and not wait any longer.
What are some things you would like to share with those who might be considering a relationship with God?
I would encourage anyone considering a relationship with God to search for Him with all your heart, never giving up. It’s how you’ll truly find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Lay aside every preconceived thought, belief, or perspective you may have of Him or the Bible, as if having no knowledge at all, humbling yourself like a child. You will find out that He is so much greater than you had ever imagined.
Lastly, study the Bible. Which I found was different than just reading it. And as you study it, beg the Lord to reveal His truth to you. Becoming a disciple is a challenge and an adventure. And learning to become one will either radically change your life or leave you to remain the same. Forever.