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Baptism | Nick Barbaro

Baptism | Nick Barbaro

November 20, 2022 |

What was life like before you met Jesus?

Before I met Jesus, I lived for myself. I was self-centered and self-serving. Even the things I did for others were to make me feel good. I sought out things that I thought would bring me satisfaction in life: A promotion, a girlfriend, a bigger house, a better car. I was never content with what I had and I could never attain what I wanted fast enough. I felt I deserved more, but wasn’t getting it. Any time I did get what I was chasing, I found the satisfaction was fleeting. Before Christ, I struggled with anger issues. I was impatient and argumentative with those I cared about. I was also arrogant and felt superior to others. I drove many people away from me. I was lonely and unsatisfied and I struggled with depression, yet I flaunted my self-sufficiency and independence from God. I never knew how hardened my heart was.

How did you meet Jesus?

I was as arrogant and disrespectful toward God as ever when my girlfriend and I got pregnant. We had only been dating for a year. We weren’t married, we weren’t engaged - and suddenly, my world was going to be different than I’d planned. There was a life coming that I would be responsible for. Not just to feed and clothe and provide for, but to raise. To teach how to be a person, how to behave, how to treat others, and how to be content in this life. I had no idea how to do that.

God had sought me out and showed me how little control I had. He turned my life upside down so that He could reorder it. Still I resisted that God or the Bible had any answers for me or were anything more than made-up stories. Then God put it on my heart to seek out a Christian friend, to ask for help and guidance. And even though he was a good parent to several children, my friend didn’t tell me how to be a parent, or how to get ready for a child, he taught me how to see God.

But I was prideful and stubborn and self-centered, so I squirmed and argued and denied for months. Until one day, I couldn’t deny it. God revealed His truth to me and I saw it for what it was-his love and mercy and grace poured out for all of His creation. He wasn’t a distant God handing out rules, He cared deeply for me and all that I was going through. And for the first time, I saw Christ as alive and caring and actively helping people. I saw His hand in everything and it was reassuring and beautiful.

I still can't believe that God sought me out, with my arrogant, disobedient, prideful life, but that is why the truth and beauty of Romans 5:6-8 resonates so deeply with me. It says, "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." This was how I felt, utterly helpless and in need of a guiding love. And here was God, willing to sacrifice so much in order to forgive all of my arrogance and disrespect and mistrust and show me the way back to him through His Son, Christ Jesus.

After being saved by Jesus, what is your life like now?

I have faced many challenges in life since that time and I often lean on Christ to help me through. Whether it is a life challenge or an area of personal growth or a way I am struggling to live out my faith, I am learning to trust God and to turn to Christ as my savior. This helps to keep things in perspective when my world would seem to otherwise have no anchor. Knowing the sacrifice that God made for me and the love that Christ has by being obedient to God, is a constant reminder of my worth and of the footsteps I must follow.

God's Word has guided me to be a better husband and father, co-worker and neighbor. It guides me in having deeper, healthier relationships. I have not struggled with depression in more than a decade. The purpose that God provides me in his Word and in his tasks for me is a constant source of joy and deep contentment. All of this is founded on the Bible, in God's Word, in Jesus' teachings. I know that I have eternal life with God through Christ. As John 14:6 says, "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and Hebrews 10:19 says, "And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus." And so I place my confident hope in Christ as my savior.