Baptism of Michael Krzesowiak
In what I now understand as an act of His mercy and grace towards me, God allowed everything I was trusting in, that wasn’t Him, to fail me. In about a three week period during the beginning of my senior year of high school my life as I knew it stated unravelling as women, friends, playing guitar, sports, family members, grades, arrogant pride and self-driven performance and perfectionism, failed me. They all one by one stabbed me in the back and walked away. Everything that I had placed my identity, worth, validation, or significance in was gone. God exposed my idols for what they truly were –unable to save me, and unable to satisfy me. I felt my life was in crisis. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was doing or why I was here. And the pain of it all was utterly crushing. I became depressed. I didn’t eat or sleep for days if not weeks. Just being alive hurt more than anything I had ever known. I desperately wanted out. Most of the people I looked to my life were telling me to have a good time, and saying “Enjoy your senior year! It’s the best time of your life so live it up!” And I was thinking, “Are you kidding me? If this is as good as it gets then what’s the point?” I then decided that I was either going to commit suicide or steal my parents’ car and run away from home. That was the best plan I had, so I packed my duffel bag and a pistol.
It was that night my friend Jake Novotny called me up seemly out of the blue. Somehow he convinced me to go along with him to something called Young Life. At the time I thought it was probably the stupidest thing I had ever been to. It was just weird, and I felt about as out of place as a penguin in the desert. This joint was definitely not my scene. Then the last 10 minutes of this thing some dude suddenly just opened up a bible and said, “I am going to tell you about who Jesus says he is.” And from there he basically started unpacking the gospel from John. I had never heard about this “Jesus,” he kept talking about. The gospel was a complete affront to my prideful moralistic works-righteous religious arrogance. And for the first time was confronted with the reality of sin, of my own sin, that I indeed was not a “good person,” but was deeply wretched. I was messed-up, jacked-up, screwed-up and in desperate and dire need of a Savior. I was offended and outraged at the idea that I was absolutely unable to appease God by my own works, yet I was haunted by the implications of such truth. for which the gospel was the only solution. Jesus was the only way. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I realized that if Jesus really is who he says he is, that changes everything I’ve ever known about everything ever.
And in that God just owned me. I don’t know how else to describe it, He just owned me. This God–who I wanted nothing to do with, who I didn’t believe in, who I had a deep animosity towards, who I thought was an absolutely ridiculous notion, who I hated and slandered–just owned me. I didn’t even really have a say in it, Jesus simply revealed Himself to me and I couldn’t resist Him. I for the first time started to see who He was as revealed in scripture and I didn’t know how to say no to Him anymore. He just poned me. I was downright blindsided by the gospel.
The things in my life didn’t get better, if anything, they got far worse for a long time, but knowing Jesus made it all worth it. The greatest reality in all of this for me, is not that Jesus eventually brought me out of my depression. It is not that He saved me from ending my life. It is not even the forgiveness of my sins. The greatest reality of it all is that in His saving me from my sin and in His saving me from the just and right wrath of God, He has brought me to Himself! That I, a hell bound, God-hater, rightly deserving condemnation, living in bold faced, stiff-necked, full bore rebellion against Him, now stood redeemed and loved in Christ, that I might partake in more of Him!
The greatest reality of the gospel is that He has freed me to know and treasure Jesus Christ and His glory above all other things. At the cross Jesus is beckoning me to come to the greatest thing that has ever, can ever, or will ever be know, Himself. Jesus is the greatest thought my mind can ponder, the deepest affection of my heart can long for, the greatest treasure my life can behold, and the greatest name my lips can speak of. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven, it’s a way to get people to God, and it is the only way.
“But when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)
I am being baptized not just as a proclamation of the gospel, but a desperate heartfelt plea for the gospel, that you may know Him! You can actually know Him! Repent, turn away from the things and sins that can never satisfy you and believe in the only One who can, Jesus, the supreme satisfaction for which you were made.
Please, dear friend, you must know Him! You were made to know Him. Press on to know the Lord (Hosea 6:3)! Let there not be another day that you do not know Him as the infinite, all-satisfying, supreme treasure that He is! If you should gain anything and everything in this life it is all dross if you do not know Him for who He is! You don’t have to get yourself all “cleaned up” to come to Him (in fact you can’t so to even try to clean yourself up is a foolish game), just come to Him!