by Thomas Dougan
I grew up in a Christian home, and like many kids who also grew up in Christian homes, I gave a profession of faith many times. I grew up in church my whole life, but I never gave too much thought to my own salvation. About the time I turned 15, I joined a youth group, and I decided to really ask Jesus into my heart. I think I did it because I thought that it was the right thing to do, and I knew that I believed in Jesus. But my belief was not the kind of belief that changed my life. As I got older, I began to fall in with the wrong crowd and do things that were not very beneficial to me or my walk with God. I kept on going in the wrong direction and alienated myself from everyone who loved me. Sin began to harden my heart, and I just kept on walking further and further away. At maybe the lowest point in my life, I told God to just leave me alone. I put him on the shelf and told Him I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I went on like that for a long time. It was a long miserable time.
Sometime around the middle of my senior year, I began to evaluate my life. I started to look at what I was doing, why I was doing it, and where it was taking me. As I evaluated, I became more and more unhappy about what I had become. There wasn’t a whole lot of Love in my life and that’s when I decided I was going to return to the only true good thing I ever knew. I asked God to help me return to his graces and change my life. That is the first time I ever really surrendered my life to Christ. I’ve never regretted it since then. Giving God control was the best thing that ever happened to me.
As I began repairing my life, I began to see the importance of good friends who were encouraging and uplifting. My family and my church family played a big part in everything I did. They kept me accountable and warned me of the traps of the devil. As I started my walk with God, some of my old friendships started to get severed. I lost friends because they didn’t believe the same way I did. Most of the friends I lost were a big influence on my life, and it was better that I didn’t hang around them. After that, God began sending good people my way, and I began to make new friends.
I cannot count all the good things God has done for me. He is my Savior, my Comforter, my Provider and my Friend.