As a kid, the most important things to me were family, sports and church. My sports were baseball, football and basketball. At an early age, I realized that just going to church did not make me a Christian. I realized that many things I had done in my life were displeasing to God – lying, cheating, swearing, being disobedient to my parents, just to name a few. I realized that these things, along with all of the other wrong things I had done, were called ‘sin,’ and that this sin had separated me from God. As the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). I realized that the payment – the penalty, no less – for my sin was death, and that if I died right then I would spend eternity separated from God in a place call hell. That reality was overwhelming. I knew I needed to do something. The deep desire of my soul was to be forgiven, to be cleansed of my sin, to be assured of an eternal home in heaven, to find peace with God.
I realized that the Bible said Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sin. The second half of Romans 6:23 says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I wanted that gift of eternal life. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). At a point in my life this reality became crystal clear in my heart and mind: if I would simply ask Jesus to forgive me of my sin and be my Lord and Savior, He would do it. As Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I believed in my heart that Jesus died for my sins, that He rose from the dead, and that if I asked Him to forgive me and save me that He would. Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” So, I knelt on my knees in prayer, and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sin. I told him that I was trusting in Him as my Lord and Savior, and that I want to follow Him all of the days of my life.
In an instant, He forgave me of all my sin – past, present and future. He put His Holy Spirit to live in my heart, giving me a peace that passes all understanding. He gave me assurance that I will spend eternity with Him in heaven. He began to change me from the inside out, day by day. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold all things have become new.” He continues to work in my life to this day, helping me to be more and more like Jesus in every way.
Through the years, I have had many successes, failures, triumphs and challenges, related to sports. I have played on undefeated teams and on teams that never won a game. I have been a starter at times and I have sat on the bench. I saw my dreams of a college football career shattered because of a staph infection that almost killed me and deteriorated my ACL. Through all of this, God has been with me, teaching me things, leading me, guiding me. He has never left me, and He never will.
I would love to hear your story. I would love to tell you more about how Jesus can be the Lord and Savior of your life. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.