I grew up in a Christian home in northeast Oklahoma with my father, Doug, serving as a pastor for most of my life. The message of the Gospel was not a foreign subject to myself or my sister, Cindi, as both of our parents shared it often and modeled it daily. Our parents had both of us involved in the church as much as possible and we grew in familiarity with the ways of Christ.
Mostly, I lived a religious life. By and large, I did a lot of good things and good works; I wasn’t in trouble much. I had a good relationship with my parents. I loved going to church. Most of my friends were Christians.
Unfortunately, I assumed as a teenager that salvation would “just happen” to me because of my Christian heritage. I lived in contradiction to the words of John 1:13 that states that those who are born of God are not “of blood or the will of the flesh.”
Thankfully, God intervened in my life in high school through the faithful love of a youth staff volunteer named Travis who continued the labors of Gospel-preaching that my parents had begun. Travis helped me understand that I was deceived about my own salvation and had never surrendered my life to the Lordship of Christ.
One weekend, I was attending a Southern Baptist youth ministry conference and experienced my first altar call. I remember the speaker sharing about the ease with which we can be deceived about our own salvation and I can remember thinking to myself, “How does he know about the true condition of my heart?” As we filed down front and then were taken to another room to be paired up anonymously with counselors, the one that was chosen for me – by someone who didn’t know either of us – was Travis. I immediately began to tear up as I could see a clear moving of God to draw me to Himself. So, I gave my life to Jesus at this point through the direction and encouragement of my parents and this faithful youth worker.
The most dramatic change I noticed after coming to Christ was the motive for why I had spent a short lifetime “doing good things.” All those things I mentioned previously continued on, but I no longer pursued them for selfish purposes. Before coming to Christ, I was a church kid who did all the right things. But my motivation for doing those right things was to please my parents and to keep a good reputation with others.
As a result of the Gospel changing my heart, the motivation for living a godly life turned from living for self to living for God and others. My desire to live a godly life is to herald the name of God and be a witness for him by my commitment to Him. And I Corinthians 10:31 continues to be one of my life verses: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”