Every Sunday I was just checking the box.
I grew up going to church and every Sunday my family went. I got involved with the Sunday school youth group and my parents taught classes at church. I could answer all the church questions and could tell you about every Bible story, giving all the typical answers, but I didn’t actually have any understanding of it. It was all just head knowledge.
In high school, I was very successful. I graduated valedictorian and played football, and I had a great loving family; everything was going well for me. I got accepted to the Naval Academy and planned on going there.
On the outside, I looked perfect. But on the inside, I lived in a darkness I could not escape.
During my freshman and sophomore years at the Academy, I still maintained that outward appearance. But I also struggled trying to find what I could fill that darkness with.
I tried filling it with what I thought would work: I tried the drinking crowd, I tried sex — anything that could please me.
Nothing did. The darkness was growing and I was sinking deeper and deeper.
In 2008, between my sophomore and junior year, I was in San Diego doing summer training. One day I was by myself on the beach and two guys from Cru came up to me. I knew when they approached me that they had been talking with people about the gospel since I had been watching them on the beach. So when they asked if we could talk I said, “Whatever.” I figured that with my background, I would have all the answers to their questions.
But I was surprised at what I heard.
As they shared the gospel with me, for the first time it made sense. God had softened my heart and all the “answers” I thought I already knew clicked. It was like all that head knowledge suddenly turned into heart knowledge.
I realized the darkness I had been feeling in my heart was a hole, and I was looking for Christ to step in and be my Savior. Jesus was what I needed to replace the darkness.
I prayed, asking Jesus to come into my life and be my Savior right there on the beach.
My transformation was not immediate, though. While I was in California for the rest of the summer, I found myself still caught in the trap of sex, drinking and finding things to fill that darkness. I was still not quite willing to let go.
When I returned for my junior year, I knew I had to find somebody to help me in my faith; I wanted to get plugged in with Cru at the Academy. Two of my best friends were already involved with Cru and they came alongside me and helped me grow. I continued to stay involved with Cru and the following summer, I went with them on a mission trip to Venezuela. Once I graduated from the Academy I joined the Marine Corps.
Christ is always revealing new parts of me. I’ve learned that the Christian life isn’t perfect; God continues to reveal areas in my life where I need to grow. But in the summer of 2008, He completely turned my life around— a total 180. I know that my only real satisfaction and hope comes from God; everything I do is to glorify and worship Him.
Jesus is ready and able to be your Savior, all you have to do is receive the invitation. Read more here about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
What’s your story? Did you become a Christian through Cru or any ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ? If so, tell us more at email@example.com.
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