Should I get confirmed?
Discover 4 reasons why you shouldn't, and 5 reasons why you should.
In The beginner's guide to confirmation, I talked a little about the history of confirmation and how we should understand it. This week I’m going to give you 4 really bad reasons to get confirmed and 4 really good reasons to get confirmed. So here we go
4 bad reasons to be confirmed
1: "I’m a Baptist and really want to annoy my pastor".
Whoa! Hey it’s really important to respect the leaders of your church and your denomination’s views on baptism and confirmation.
If you are a Baptist or belong to another denomination that practices believers' baptism, and therefore has no confirmation services, you don’t need to worry about confirmation! As I said in my earlier article there are great arguments for both infant and believers' baptism and both respect the Bible in their arguments. A Christian who was baptised as a baby and then confirmed is equally saved and loved by God as a Christian who has been baptised as an adult, one is not better than the other.
2. "My Parent/Minister/Youth leader wants me to do it".
All of these people have a really important place in your Christian walk (See Titus 2:1-6) and you should listen to their advice about confirmation. However these confirmation promises are serious, and you need to be committed to them yourself, this is your decision.
3. "All my friends are doing it".
Well that’s great, maybe you can sit in on the confirmation classes and learn all the stuff with them, but this is still your decision. You need to be ready to make those promises yourself, and you need to want that prayer to be prayed for you. Maybe you’ll decide during classes that you are ready and keen, but if you need to wait for another year or more, that’s cool too!
4. "I need something to fix my life up".
Sometimes as Christians we can feel that we aren’t good enough for God. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish there was some miracle cure for sin, or something that would make me pray and read my bible more. Well please don’t get confirmed because you think it will magically change you in this way. God may answer the prayer the church prays for you in an especially powerful way but to be honest, probably less than half the people I was confirmed with are still Christians. I and several others still are, but we still struggle to be faithful to Jesus. Confirmation is a great thing, it’s encouraging, it’s a great expression of trust in and dependence on God for his help, but it’s not a way of making you instantly mature in Jesus. You know, passages such as Romans 5:3-5 and Psalm 119:67 suggest that it’s by leading us through the struggles and sins of life that God grows us to maturity. So confirmation is a great thing to do but is no substitute for hanging in there as a Christian.
5 good reasons to be confirmed
1. "I want to know who I am".
I reckon one of the biggest questions teens are asking is “who am I?” Now, there are a lot of ways we can answer that - by what movies/music we like, by whether we are skater, punk or emo, by whether we like or hate twilight, or Justin Bieber, by whether we have a job and what it is, by whether we are a jock or a nerd, etc. But in confirmation (and in believers' baptism for that matter) you say “I turn to Christ”. This isn’t just a ‘one off’ promise to follow Jesus, it is a promise that your life will be about following Jesus from now on. It is saying that “I am a follower of Jesus, yes I like [insert favourite music genre here] but that’s not who I am, I am a Christian”. Attending confirmation classes and making this promise can help us answer one of the biggest teen questions (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 17).
2. "I want to live for Jesus".
You certainly don’t need to be confirmed to live for Jesus, but this is a great public opportunity to express your desire to do so. Living for Jesus is costly (see Luke 9:23-26) but totally worth it. The promises you make in confirmation express this desire and your commitment. If you are really serious about following Jesus this is a good way to express that truth.
3. "I know I need God’s help".
Being a Christian and following Jesus is hard. It costs to follow him. You get ridiculed, you lose friends over it, there are many temptations out there. But God has promised us his Holy Spirit to help us live for him. Confirmation is a great opportunity for you to have your whole church family pray that God will strengthen you by his Holy Spirit to live for him. For this reason I don’t have a problem with someone getting baptised one week and confirmed the next, because this prayer is such a good thing! (and of course you could do this at other times too). Confirmation is a great opportunity to say to God “I can’t do this without your help by the Holy Spirit, please help me!”
4. "I want to encourage others".
I always get so encouraged when I see a Christian baptism or confirmation. To see a young person commit their life to Jesus and seek the prayerful support of their church family is awesome. If you want to encourage your Christian brothers and sisters this is a great way to do it (as long as reasons 1, 2 and 3 are true for you as well).
5. "I was baptised as a kid but don’t remember the pledge made to Jesus".
It’s time I make my own public stand for Jesus. Making a public commitment is a much more significant, if not fundamental, commitment. I want to the whole world to know that Jesus comes first in my life.
So what does this mean for you?
If you are thinking about getting confirmed, I hope you will see that there is a right and a wrong way to approach confirmation. Please don’t get confirmed because Mum or your minister wants you to do it, or because everyone else is. Please get confirmed because you have turned to Jesus, and want to publicly proclaim this and seek your church family’s prayers to support you in this.
If you are a minister or youth leader, I hope that you will take confirmation, and getting behind the confirmees seriously. This isn’t something we just do because we've always done it - it is an important opportunity to support the confirmees in understanding and living out their faith, and praying steadily for God’s help as they do this.
Finally if you have already been confirmed, maybe now would be a good time to pick up the phone, ring someone you were confirmed with and encourage them in their faith. It may be that you are part of God’s answer to the prayer prayed at their confirmation!