“Hey, I can adapt to any situation. I can be anybody I want to. I can be anybody’s friend and fit right in.” This was my attitude before I became a Christian. I had a very low self-image, but no one could tell because I was a proud person. My clothes, music, friends, possessions, language and where I hung out were all tied in with what others thought of me. This attitude found its greatest expression in throwing wild drinking parties in expensive hotels, and in rebelling against both my parent’s and the government’s authority. It was also demonstrated by my lying, stealing, trespassing on private property, and breaking most traffic laws. I was trying to prove that I was somebody important. Well, about the only thing I proved was how to wind up in jail, a fool due to my excessive speeding, reckless driving, and evading arrest. That night in jail started me thinking about the direction of my life. I didn’t want to make being there a habit.
As a result, I started thinking more about my relationship with God. Even though I grew up in a nominal Christian home going to church most every Sunday, guilt about my sins and doubt about my salvation plagued me. At times, my doubt would be so bad that I would repeatedly pray over and over again to accept Christ as my Savior because I thought that maybe I wasn’t sincere enough the last time I prayed. Also, I would do good things like go to church, read my Bible and feed the poor in order to have a secure feeling that I was going to heaven. But this got me no where. And the harder I tried, the guiltier I felt. It wasn’t until I stopped trusting in my feelings for security and placed my trust in Jesus Christ alone, that He died and paid for all my sins, that I knew, based upon God’s word, that I was completely forgiven and was going to heaven.
After I made this decision, I started talking to all my friends about Jesus. But because they did not like me talking about Jesus, they stopped calling me up to go out on the weekends, and they ignored me. Within two weeks, I literally lost every one of my friends. This was a crucial point in my life. I had to choose who was more important, Jesus Christ or my friends. Who would I please? Well, I chose to please God. Soon after this, however, I became very lonely and depressed, so I prayed to God and asked Him to give me good Christian friends. He answered my prayer a couple of weeks later. While attending college, I ran into a Christian who was a part of a Bible study group. He invited me to the studies, so I decided to go. While attending these studies, I not only was accepted for who I was, but I was also shown how to live the successful Christian life. This gave me the freedom and desire to become what God wanted me to become without the risk of being rejected if I failed. As a result, my goals in life have changed from that of living just to please others to that of living to please and obey God. Now I’m concerned about who I am as a person, and not about the type of clothes I wear or the people I’m seen hanging around. Like it says in 1 Samuel 16:7, “…for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”