Dead Man Walking

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“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”(2 Corinthians 5:17)

“I wanted to be my own god and have control over my life,” said Bryan Robert. “It was all about what Bryan wanted to do: partying, drinking and having fun. You only live once, right? I had no idea what I was really doing. I was a dead man walking.

“All this began when I was much younger. I started stealing things, feeding off the rush that it gave me. Pretty soon, I had a theft problem. I also was looking at pornography and hiding that from my parents. That led to alcohol, drugs and inappropriate relationships with women. I rebelled and rejected God, choosing the rebellion over everything else.

“After high school, I started selling drugs. I was living with girlfriends and then cheating on them and doing about any other sin you can think of. My dealer went to prison in 2006, and I stopped selling drugs. I was in and out of bars and relationships, always seeking purpose in my life, but never finding it.

“In the summer of 2011, I was playing basketball at a local church and met a guy there who serves at Watermark. He took me to lunch and shared the gospel with me. I didn’t understand what it meant to be saved by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). But the conversation got me thinking about the Lord, and the fact that He layed down His life on this earth so that I could be reconciled with God.

“A few months later, the relationship I was in was falling apart. My life felt out of control, and I fell into a concentrated depression. I couldn’t eat or sleep and had no idea how to get back to my normal self. One night I felt led to pray, and I cried out to God. I talked to Him about all my anxieties and fears. The way I was living my life was not working at all, so I asked, ‘God, if you’re real, would you help me?’ I felt an overwhelming need to get to know God and His Word.

“At the gym the next day, there was nobody on the court except a 60-year-old guy. He asked me about my life, and I explained a little bit about what had been going on. He turned to me and said, ‘If you think your life is good without God, it is 100 times better with Christ.’ “What are the odds that the first person I talk to after praying to the Lord happens to have a strong faith in Christ? I went home and got in touch with a friend who also believes in Christ and goes to Watermark. I asked him a lot of questions. How can I trust the Bible? How can I really trust in a God I cannot see? I wanted to know what faith in Christ was all about.

“From there God began to radically transform my life. I learned a lot about God’s Word, His character, and why the Bible really can be trusted. As I prayed and read God’s Word, two verses really got to me. The first was 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” That was a real depiction of my life in Christ. The second was Isaiah 65:1, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.” I really had been found by a God I didn’t know before. I wasn’t looking for Him, yet God pursued me and radically changed my life.

“I met and connected with other single adults at Watermark, and now I’m surrounded by a ton of friends who follow Christ. I also joined a community group. We’re able to process things, sharpen each other, and work to align our lives with God’s Word. We’re not perfect, but the transparency and accountability from all the guys in the group has been a life-changer for me.

“The thing that surprises me most is how much God changed my life. When I began walking with Christ, so many sin struggles began to fall away. For example, I figured there was no way I’d ever stop having inappropriate relationships with women. That’s where I found my identity. Of course I still have those desires, but God has given me a renewed mind and changed how I see those around me. Where I once just looked at a body in front of me, now I see a soul. I’m motivated by the grace God has shown me and I have the desire to show others a fraction of the love God has for us all so they might know the Lord as well. I am in no way perfect, but through obedience to to Christ, I’ve become free to enjoy life now.”

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