I grew up in a Christian home with parents who love the Lord. I remember regular family devotions, being encouraged to read my Bible every day, and having a lot of friends from church. A good family however, didn’t save me. It wasn’t Jesus that I loved, but myself. I was extremely competitive and harsh with myself and others when competing. I loved lust and was often consumed by sinful thoughts and desires. I wanted to be seen as humble by other people and would work hard to achieve it in a way that only fueled my pride when others thought well of me. And yet in all of this I managed to convince myself that I was a Christian. Deep down, I thought, “God couldn’t send me to hell because… I’m me. I’m good at things and do kind things for others and am well liked.” This attitude carried me all the way through high school and in to college at Bethel University where I continued to lead a double life of attempting external godliness while on the inside I loved my sin the most.
During the summer after my sophomore year at Bethel I was a camp counselor at Trout Lake Camps. God began working at my heart through a group of incredible men working there that summer. They talked about and revered the Bible like nothing I had encountered before. They read the entire Bible (not just small portions like I did) and lived under its authority. In God’s providence, when the summer was over, my older brother picked me up and had planned to discuss my view of the Bible during the three hour drive. By the time we got home my desire to read and take the Bible seriously had grown even more intense. I started reading through the entire Bible and attending Bethlehem Baptist Church. I wanted to read every gospel-centered book I could get my hands on because it felt like the life giving Christian faith I had heard about for so long, but hadn’t experienced.
Somewhere along the way, I was born again. I turned from trusting myself to be good enough for God’s love and began trusting wholly in Jesus and his finished work on the cross to reconcile me to God. I remember hearing the gospel for what felt like the first time and realizing that this was just basic facts for unbelievers, but the foundation of the entire Christian life. Since being born again, I still struggle with the same sins. Yet now, rather than just covering over my sin so that others can’t see it, rather than sin being my greatest love, Jesus has been slowly but surely transforming me by his grace so that he is my greatest love and deepest satisfaction.