“I was looking down the wrong well for something to satisfy my thirst.” – Chris Landry
“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man; and God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
“It seemed kind of un-American to not earn what I had, whether it was the love of people or the love of God,” said Chris Landry. “I always thought church attendance made me a Christian. Growing up in a loving home shaped a lot of my values. But for me going to church was more about putting on my Sunday clothes. I always cared about how others perceived me, and that kept me from being open and honest. I was very involved at church, and from the outside I looked ‘alive,’ but I didn’t know the gospel. Morality was my only god.
“At church one night I was asked, ‘If I died tonight, would I go to heaven?’ I thought I knew the answer, but I was truly perplexed. I realized that eternity was a really long time, and I feared being separated from God and my family. So that is when I decided to trust Christ as my Savior. But it would be 10 years until I really started following Him as my Lord.
“I went off to college and found it SO easy to isolate. I pursued a path of porn, promiscuity and bad decisions. Transferring colleges, I surrounded myself with some childhood buddies who were Christians. That was my first small glimpse of biblical community. During my last year at college, I got married. I thought we had a good marriage, but when she confessed to an affair, I realized just how many opportunities I had missed to be a good husband. I was passive and never thought much about pursuing oneness. That was hard work, and I was young, naïve and didn’t understand the value of true leadership. We stayed married for another year, but I let her leave. I gave up. I didn’t fight. I was passive, again.
“After the divorce, I wanted to feel loved again, so I jumped into unhealthy relationships. I felt empty inside, yet I had tons of friends around me. I moved to Dallas, but even in a new place, I choose to move deeper into promiscuity. Crossing boundaries, I would end up crying out to God with all my heart soon after. I was looking down the wrong well for something to satisfy my thirst.
“Fortunately a coworker told me about The Porch (a gathering of young adults at Watermark) in January 2010. That is when I connected with Christ instead of relying on my morality. As I learned more, I surrendered all of my heart to God rather than just my good deeds and church attendance.
“As I started following Christ, the missing piece was community. It was scary to consider being fully known and to accept that the other believers in my life cared about me more than I could ever know. In a lot of ways, that is like God’s love. It is hard to understand how sinful I really am and how much God loves me. The more I see my own sinfulness the more I can appreciate the huge degree of separation there is between me and God and the sacrifice Christ made to close it.
“Rather than avoid community, I pushed through, and that was the best hurdle I ever could have overcome. I didn’t snap my fingers and suddenly start making better decisions. It was a slow and steady progression of yielding to God’s Word – the Bible.
“One of the places God changed me most is in my relationships. I used to objectify women and relationships because of my history with pornography. Christ has helped me to live within His will in that area of my life. I’ve actually found great joy in pursuing purity and not being perforated with guilt and shame. Because of what Christ has done, I’m able to treat women with respect.
“Even as a Christian, I know I am still capable of bad decisions. The words of 1 Corinthians 10:12 remind me to be very careful, lest I fall. I’m never going to ‘arrive’, so I constantly need to abide with the Lord daily and be connected in community with other believers to enjoy the abundant life God intends for me.
“I’m very thankful that God helped me overcome the fear of being fully known. I understand much more about God’s great love for me now that I’m around people who remind me of the truth. I am free from the bondage of worrying about what others think about me. The shackles are gone, and I am walking in the light. Not hiding is one of the most freeing things I have experienced with true, biblical community.”