My Life Before Christ
My life before Christ was characterized by pain and turmoil. My parents divorced when I was only three years old due to clashing desires and constant disagreement. My early years of life were without great stability except that which was provided by both sets of my grandparents. My father quickly remarried a young widow with two children and they are still married today. My mother remarried soon after, and following twelve years of tumultuous marriage they divorced. His tragic death occurred not many years later. I certainly cannot blame my childhood for the many sinful and destructive decisions I would later make, but there were obviously contributing factors. My parents made mistakes, as do all parents, but they loved me and taught me many important lessons despite their conflicts.
By the time I reached the age of 14 I had become angry and confused with life. I began a pattern of destruction that would damage myself and others for the next 10 years. Although I was responsible and hard-working in many areas of my life, I was also given over to much revilement and sinful existence. Violence, substance abuse, and riotous living were my modus operandi. I existed without truly living, and attempted to hide my pain and anger with worldly substitutions in order that I might avoid dealing with the reality of the lack of a man I had become. I remember moments in my life that God impressed His truth upon my thinking, but I only suppressed His truth in my own unrighteousness. I dare not boast in the sins of my destructive past, however this is the generally stated truth of my life before Christ. It was no life at all.
How I Came to Trust Christ as Savior
I am certain that I had been exposed to the gospel at various times in my early years, for much of my extended family were Christians and many times throughout those years I attended gospel-preaching churches, although not regularly. My drift to selfish secularism was quite natural, as I thought life was all about me. I do not recall ever hearing the gospel during the years of 14 to 24, in spite of knowing several church-going people. Possibly I just did not have ears to hear in my sinful suppression of the truth.
I met my wife when I was 23, and she initially had more concern for her spiritual condition than I had for mine. My love for work and alcohol caused her great concern regarding our future. Her neighbor invited her to attend a church service at Denton Bible Church, and she invited me to attend also. At first, I thought it was good for me to be present in order to help establish myself as a respectable young business owner in the community. My interest in God’s word and ministry was minimal and I especially thought the singing was ridiculous. However, God began to change my thinking and I became very interested in the biblical messages that were being proclaimed. As far as the singing, I remember one day watching some people standing next to me, with the corner of one eye on them and the other eye on the bulletin, while they were singing, “How Great Thou Art”. They were singing with such joy that I realized I did not possess what they possessed. Their faith was real, mine was an empty lie.
I became hungry to know the truth about life, and my church attendance became constant. After listening to power-packed Bible sermons for about one year, I became introspective about my own spiritual condition. Then one day while at home, I felt the conviction of God in a way that I had never known. I realized for the first time in my life that I was guilty of sinful rebellion against the holy God, and I deserved His judgment. I fell to my knees as I felt like the judgment of God was pummeling me into the foundation of my bathroom floor. I cried out the only words I knew to cry, “Jesus, save me!” In that moment I knew that I had passed from judgment to mercy, as times of refreshing came from the presence of the Lord and cleansed my soul. I confessed to God that I had spent my life running from Him and hurting every one in my path. I confessed that I was truly a sinner and believed that Christ alone could save me from the judgment I deserved. I turned away from my sin and was embraced by Jesus. Christ became my Savior that most wonderful day and I arose a new man.
How My Life Has Changed
I spent the first 24 years of my life confused and damaged by sin without realizing the source of my problem. Since becoming a follower of Jesus, I have gained awareness of the source of emotional turmoil and have increasingly received victory over it. I once lived for myself and deceptively exploited others for my own personal gain, but as a child of God I wish to lose my life for the sake of others and their eternal destiny. I now realize that my life does not exist for me to be famous, but for Jesus to be made famous through my life. While I still do not know the answers to everything life presents, I have found the God-given wisdom through God’s word to live a life of peace and joy. My hurts and pains had no apparent purpose before I trusted Christ, but I now know that God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are the called ones, according to His purpose. For years I felt so alone, but now I know the presence of God through the Holy Spirit. Summarily, I once was lost, but now I am found. I once was blind but now I see. Jesus has rescued me from myself and now my life completely belongs to Him.