Ryan is a third year Material Science and Engineering student at UCLA. Some of his hobbies include playing basketball and going snowboarding. Ryan enjoys hanging out with people, so don’t be shy to say hi!
I was born and raised in a Christian family. I went to church weekly because my parents always encouraged me to go. Instead of understanding and questioning why I went to church, I just went and saw this as another activity, not realizing or appreciating the true purpose of church. Although growing up in a Christian family and going to church regularly may seem wonderful, I still struggled with my identity in the world or in God. Throughout my life, I assumed that I was already Christian since I had been attending church regularly. I had the theology and the verses down, but I did so for all the wrong reasons. I became prideful the more theology I knew and my actions outside of church did not reflect how a true Christian should act. Because of my pride, I did not take church seriously by dozing off and being distracted with my phone. My actions outside of church and within church were not godly. School and idols such as video games and friends, and not God, were viewed as priorities in my life. In my heart, I was self-centered in seeking to fill my desires with pride, friends, and school. I focused on the desires that only benefited me. I did not depend on God and a drive for academic success and worldly entertainment controlled my life.
In college, my disinterest in finding a college fellowship revealed the true desires of my heart. One day, I saw on Facebook an event for Grace on Campus’s Fall BBQ and decided to attend for the free food. I had no intentions to join a fellowship of any sort. During the event, I heard the gospel that I had heard over and over again, but what particularly caught my attention were the people at the event; I could see that the people at GOC truly loved and cared for each other. As I met up with more people within GOC, the difference between how seriously they lived their lives for God and for the Gospel and the worldly way I lived my life for myself was apparent.
During one meal with a GOCer, I remembered exactly how I became sure of my salvation. I never thought about this before, having assumed that I already was a Christian. As I reflected over the characteristics and commitments of a true Christian, I realized that I was not living my life for God but for myself. Christ used the people I met with to give me a wakeup call about my sinful lifestyle and placed me on a path to live for God. My sins and my perception of Christ became clear to me. I had to set my priorities straight and put God first instead of myself. I never devoted my life entirely to the Lord, but only devoted my time to the things that I thought would benefit me.
As it is said in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” With that one question, I realized how sinful I really was, and I saw that I needed to repent of my sins. In the spring of 2015, I accepted Christ in my heart and dedicated my life to him. 2 Cor 5:16 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” After I came to Christ, my selfish lifestyle that focused on pleasing myself through school, friends, and games has passed away and I have beenreborn as someone who can see the purpose of why I live my life: to tell others who Jesus Christ is and to glorify God. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil 1:21).” I thank God for everything that he has done to show me who Christ truly is, and I thank Christ for his death on the cross for my sins and taking the punishment for someone as wretched a sinner as me.