I was blessed to be born into and raised in a loving Christian family, but my road to the Lord calling me and leading me into a personal relationship with Him as my Savior was not immediate. Growing up, I went to a theologically sound church, yet I didn’t know what walking with the Lord looked or felt like.
I knew all of the Sunday school answers to the lesson questions – “God, Jesus, the Bible”, but what I knew to say in my head (and get a gold star) didn’t translate over to my heart. Outwardly, I proclaimed that I was a Christian and I knew I was a sinner, but I only prayed when I wanted something big to go my way and I thought of myself as a pretty good person. Convinced of this, my heart was hardened further and further with each year. Pride overcame my heart, and if someone would confess to me about a struggle they were facing, on the outside I would claim to understand while inwardly, my heart was judging and thinking myself superior. I KNEW I had struggles, but I believed fully that I could overcome them myself, and maybe God would provide some supplementary help – if I was good.
Throughout high school and college, unbeknownst to me, the Lord was merciful in using my growing legalism to shield me from many sinful patterns and choices, but I still struggled with intense judgment of others, selfishness, hardness of heart, and lust — the very things Jesus rebukes the most in the Scriptures.
My friends and family knew me as the funny guy, the person who was always smiling, who seemed to rarely have a bad day. The Lord had indeed blessed me with a sense of humor, but convinced it was my own, I wielded it in order to try to impress everyone around me. In reality, when nobody was around, I found so much of how I spent my time of trying to impress everyone at all times as a really exhausting and endless cycle.
After so much time serving myself, The Lord in His mercy brought Veronica into my life after I moved to DC. Through the early months of our relationship, He displayed His Spirit to me in how He had been working in Veronica’s heart over the course of her life. With that, God was after my heart. Over the weeks, He began to tear down my idols of self, lust, and my intense fear of man.
On February 14th, 2010, the Lord reached into the sinful pit of my proud and sinful heart and lifted me up out of it to set me on a solid foundation. He granted me repentance, and as if blinders had come off my eyes, I could now see. I could EXPERIENCE the Spirit and what a relationship with the creator of the universe was actually like. All of my legalistic and shallow beliefs about the Lord were changed, and I experienced a RADICAL shift in my heart in the immediate weeks.
I saw the ways I had been wasting my life unintentionally with everyone I knew. All of a sudden, obeying the Lord and seeking Him were not arduous tasks or something to be “checked off” a to-do list. Scripture was no longer a long book of names and lineages, but held the very truth and the greatest news of all: That despite all of the ways I rejected God through my hypocrisy, my hatred of His holiness-the Lord chose to love me, to send Jesus to pay for my sin, and to draw me into love for Him. There is nothing in my heart that would have sought Him, He sought me out and rescued me, completely, wonderfully, and undeservedly, bringing this arrogant, prideful, enemy of His from death to life.