I grew up in a middle class home in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. God wasn’t really a part of our household. We would go to church for Christmas and Easter, but other than that, we weren’t really involved. I wanted people’s acceptance – that’s been a theme in my life. I became highly legalistic by trying to perform and trying to gain my righteousness by what I did.
In 8th grade, my Spanish teacher was a Christian. He would talk often about Jesus. In the middle of class, he would share the gospel with us. I got involved in a Saturday morning Bible study that he had been doing with some middle school guys.
I finally understood the gospel. There was a lot of freedom in that. I remember hearing that God fully accepts me for who I am, not on the basis of what I have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done – that was very freeing. Ephesians 2:8-10 was big for someone who was completely submerged in legalism.
From then on, I remember walking in the Lord. But, I still felt like I wanted to impress people, so I had to wrestle through having a double life. Through out the course of high school, the Lord just started the process of kind of weeding out some insecurities and some sin tendencies and sexual sin when I got to college.
In college, I started to get honest and really start to deal with that. I started to cling to Christ. When I went to Ocean City, NJ. on a summer project, that’s when I understood that the gospel requires action. I started to share my faith and take church attendance and membership seriously. From then on the Lord was doing a work.
Now, I want to please God and I want to be concerned about my acceptance from Him and not my acceptance from people. But I realize that my concern about God’s acceptance is not based on my works.