Every June 1st, I am reminded of a story. Years ago, I knew a teenager who was faithful to church, sang in the youth choir, was president of the church youth group, and attended Christian camp every summer. He was even baptized in a Baptist church. He was the model Christian teenager in front of most people. But I knew better. I was able to see the truth about him. He was a teenager in conflict. He was living a double life.
He was introduced to drugs at age 13 and over the next few years he met older teenagers who would buy him beer and alcohol. He was running quickly down a path toward pain and heartache. He struggled to “keep face” in front of family and church people while all the time, finding a way to indulge in things he knew was killing him. At church he was all into Jesus, but outside those doors, he lived absolutely for himself.
That brings me to June 1, 1980. At the end of his junior year in high school, he attended church on this fateful Sunday. Something was different on this day. As the pastor was preaching along, this teenager was shown that he was living a lie and he wanted to make things right with God. He struggled with letting go. How hard it can be to give control of your life over to someone else...even God. But he did. That day, this young man surrendered his entire life to Jesus Christ. On June 1, 1980, he received from God what his soul had always longed for: peace, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
I don’t recognize this guy any more even though I see him everyday in the mirror. The fact is, I have never been the same since yielding my life to follow Jesus. Am I perfect? No way. But I have Jesus who guides me and is patient and forgiving with me. Jesus has literally saved my life and I have celebrated this day for the last 29 years!