Walking With God

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“I grew up in a newly Christian family; I called myself a Christian. I had knowledge of the Bible, spiritual experiences, and no relationship with Christ.

“Feeling stuck in a Christian bubble, I came to idolize everything outside of that bubble. The world looked fun! In high school, I fantasized about drinking and partying. Thankfully, because of my parents’ protection, I couldn’t experience the depths of my depravity at an early age.

“When it was time for college, I had the opportunity to attend an academic school, but I chose a party school. On my first night of college, I realized my parents had no control over me. Suddenly, the floodgates were opened. I pursued all my high school desires. I drank in excess, slept around, and partied my heart out. If I kept good grades, it was OK, right?

“One night, I woke up unable to move, staring at the ceiling. Through my alcohol-induced fog, I realized I’d pushed it too far. I knew I had alcohol poisoning, and if I vomited, I’d choke and die. In desperation, I prayed to the God I thought I knew growing up. Unable to speak, I pleaded with Him in my mind to save my life.

“God, I’m sorry. I messed up, and I need You now. Please help me wake up tomorrow. I swear if you do this for me, I will never drink again. I’ll do anything you ask. I will give You my life.

“By the miraculous grace of God, I did wake up the next morning. I remembered my promise, but I had a beer in my hand no more than ten minutes later. I broke my promise. I lied to God, and I continued living my life in one big, destructive, repetitive cycle. My addictions ruled my life, and I felt helpless to the desires of my flesh.

“My life was empty, so I distracted myself by being numb all day. There was no joy; there was no fulfillment. I lived life empty, intoxicated, and lost.

“Then, one day, my cousin who lived nearby called and invited me to a Bible study. I decided to go once, to respect her wishes, and then never again. When I got there and talked with the pastor, AJ, I realized he had something I didn’t. He seemed happy in a way I couldn’t explain or figure out. I decided to keep coming back.

“I continued to go to the Bible study in secret. I even started meeting with AJ, who faithfully cared for me even though I was living a double life. I refused to tell my friends or my agnostic girlfriend where I was spending my Tuesday nights. When my unexplained disappearances continued, she questioned what I was doing.

“I admitted to her about the Bible study, and to my surprise, she asked to join me!

“Our weekly routine now included partying five days a week, with Bible study and church squeezed in. My girlfriend started asking me questions about God and Jesus. I desperately wanted her to go to Heaven! (At this point, I thought I was going to Heaven) So, I tried to teach her what I knew.

“As I was seeking answers to my girlfriend’s questions, the Lord convicted me. He showed me that I wasn’t saved. Living the life I was living, believing the things I did, I would never make it to Heaven. I had yet to fully surrender my entire life to God. Matthew 7:23 says, ‘And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ I was a worker of lawlessness. I didn’t truly know God, and I never had.

“I turned to AJ for help, and he shared the gospel with me. I placed my faith in Jesus Christ, confessing Him to be my Lord and Savior. AJ then suggested that I read the book of John.

“The first day I read the Bible, I didn’t smoke or drink. When I turned to God’s Word, I felt satisfied. If I read in the morning, I found myself sober at night. The Holy Spirit was changing my heart.

“But change took time. Faithful friends at church encouraged me to give up other sinful habits like sleeping with my girlfriend. Eventually, with a desire to pursue God and purity, I broke up with my girlfriend.

“Through it all, I have realized that walking with God is better than walking in the world alone. It’s more fulfilling, and there’s hope. Looking back, I see God’s patience and faithfulness throughout my life, and I am reminded that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith and leads us to true repentance.

“You might be wondering, ‘What about the ex-girlfriend?’ Despite our relationship ending, she kept coming to the Bible study and eventually gave her life to Christ as well. I can celebrate that God has worked in every piece of my life for His glory, even when my choices did not honor Him.”