I grew up in a Christian home with a good foundation and a family that supported me. I was in church at an early age. I knew what was right and I knew the importance of God in my life. However, I didnt really understand the true meaning of Christianity. I was bound by religion, rules, and the need for approval from others through meeting their expectations. This thinking overflowed into athletics, where I fell into a performance trap, basing who I was on how I played.
My view of God was blinded by what others thought. I could fit in with any group of friends; but, I never firmly stood for what I believed. I always compromised. This led to isolation from God, and guilt and shame were the result. I would pray every morning, asking God for help, but even that became just a ritual or a habit. I wasnt obeying or studying HIS WORD, but I wanted Him to take care of everything for me. I was bound by the expectations of man. I wanted to have a good reputation so I strove to meet all of the standards my parents, teachers, and coaches assumed I would meet. I hid my weaknesses, internalized everything, and found myself running from God.
Pride and fear consumed my life; and, I lived hoping that my circumstances would change or become easier before I changed. Big mistake!
A defining moment came along and changed the direction of my walk with Christ. We were flying back from a playoff game against the Oakland Raiders. I was having a conversation with a teammate about God, Christianity, evil, creation/evolution, etc. I could not answer one question about what I believed or why! I called myself a Christian, but I didnt know what I believed! I was disgusted, ashamed, and sick of being lukewarm. I no longer wanted to compromise what I knew was right for the approval of others. I made a decision and it is the best one I have ever made!
In order to follow God, we must know Him. God has told us all we need to know about Him in His word. My whole Christian life I had the word of God to give me boundaries and guidelines for living; but, I wasnt utilizing His power to follow His boundaries and guidelines. I would try to live a godly life through my own strength, ultimately failing and giving into temptation, anger, etc. Why would a nonbeliever want Christianity when they can live like I did without the guilt? I have learned the importance of spending time in the Word and developing an intimate walk with God. He has strengthened me in times of weakness and has helped me to overcome trials. Plus, the closer I get to God, the more I realize how much I need help. This realization has helped me open up and talk about things I had internalized my whole life.
My decision to represent Christ means that I take my eyes off of myself and look to help, encourage, serve, and love others in spite of what I am going through. I find that I actually get refreshed when I walk in the power of God this way. Having the Word of God as my foundation and my guide will help me fulfill the purpose I was made for. It is for freedom that Christ set us (me) free.
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