I grew up going to church and knew a lot about who Jesus was. I had a lot of knowledge like most kids, but I didn’t really have a deep relationship with Christ.
I did things on my own until my sophomore year in high school, and that’s really when I began a relationship with the Lord. But it was a rough road getting there.
Growing up, I idolized sports. I hadn’t lost a football game since I was an 8-year-old, and I found my true sense of worth in my athletics – how well I played or how well our team did. Once I got to high school and learned about defeat, I learned that all those people cheering only temporarily satisfied me.
I started wondering what would satisfy me completely and give me peace.
In high school, I wasn’t the best player anymore, so I was trying to find satisfaction with friends, experimenting with drugs and trying to find something to satisfy me. Those things were all temporary. It got to the point where I realized nothing was truly quenching that thirst. None of those things brought me happiness.
I was on a downward spiral and got caught vandalizing houses. At that point, a few of my friends told me I needed a relationship with Christ. I was broken, so I said, “Lord, if you’re real, come into my life, and I’ll go all-in for you.”
That’s when my relationship with God started, and people could see the transformation in me. My actions and my thought processes changed.
God was evident in my life from then on. I wanted more of Him and less of myself and things of the world. I started a Bible study with some friends to grow together and build our relationship, “as iron sharpens iron.” We were getting fired up spiritually and growing a lot. All the things I used to use to glorify myself I started using to glorify God. I started excelling in sports and was really walking with God.
It’s been a major refining process, and it’s still happening. My relationship with the Lord has continued to be the one thing that gives me that true happiness and peace.
When I was playing DI football and now as I play in the NFL, He continues to be the only thing that truly satisfies.
From early on, my favorite verse has been Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.” That says to me to seek God first, not when it’s convenient for me.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the worldly things and what we need to do, but if we seek Him first, we find our joy, our hope and our future in Him.
I find myself sometimes seeking the worldly things, but if I get that vertical relationship right, the horizontal works itself out.
Originally published on beyondtheultimate.org.