I was ready to conquer the world at the age of 8, that was, at least the third grade.  But my world came to a screeching halt that year when I realized I was a sinner, headed straight to hell to pay for my sins.  Fortunately, someone told me the good news that Jesus Christ had died for the very sins I had committed, or would commit, and that by trusting in His death as payment for my sins, I was assured of going to heaven when I died.  Unfortunately, my life over the decade gradually showed less and less evidence of my being a Christian, which was demonstrated by my loss of godly convictions that I once held.  As a result, I became a self-centered individual with no real purpose in life.

This kind of self-centered, purposeless life began to really take shape in junior high.  At night, while everyone in my family slept, I would turn on the radio softly and listen to a secular music station, which had a negative effect on my thought life.  Soon after this, other personal convictions, such as not having sex before marriage and not getting involved with drugs became things of the past. 

When I entered high school, what goals I did have, all revolved around “getting the girls.” By the time I was in 18, and in college, with still no purpose in life, I decided I’d start partying.  Going to clubs and drinking became the thing to do. Sometimes I’d get so drunk that I wouldn’t even remember how I got home.  However, this soon proved to be unsatisfying.  So I experimented with drugs.  But the experiment wasn’t enough, so I began to do them occasionally with friends.  It wasn’t long before they became part of my personal daily life.  Eventually, I would sell drugs to pay for my habit. 

When I turned 23, I realized that all of my selfish attempts to gain satisfaction were completely useless.  I was drowning in a pool of mediocrity, disgusted with the thought of what my life had become.  I knew that I needed to get back into a close relationship with God, but since I had drifted away from Him for so long, and I hardly knew my Bible very well, I got easily caught up in several false teachings within the charismatic movement.  I remember being told here that God wants every Christian healthy and wealthy.  But my experience with the charismatic movement wound up being just another self-centered pursuit, only this time with a religious twist. 

At this point I had nowhere to go, so I went back to college to finish my education.  While at college, I met a Christian who invited me to a Bible study group. It was at this study that I learned how to live the truly, successful Christian life.  It involved my choosing to be controlled by God’s Holy Spirit, moment by moment, decision by decision throughout each day.  I also discovered what God’s purpose for my life was, namely to share my faith with others, to spiritually build up those who are already Christians, and for me to grow into Christ-like character.  So, instead of living a self-centered life plagued with emptiness and devoid of purpose, I’m choosing today to live a Christ-centered life, filled with true, satisfying joy; and I now have a purpose.

Just like Paul said to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ living in me.”

M.R.T.

 

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