David is a delicate flower who enjoys playing games on his mobile phone. However, his love for God is greater than his love for said games.
I believed myself to be a fairly tolerant person. I felt that each individual was entitled to live however they pleased as long as they lived without troubling others. This mentality led my to clash with Christian ideology on a few occasions growing up, especially in high school. The media made Christians appear intolerant and hateful. I looked down on them for their closed-mindedness and dogmatic beliefs that they insisted were truth and I hated how they imposed that truth on the world.
Growing up I wondered if there existed a God while I was raised in a non-Christian household. It became apparent to me that even if there was a God, no one could know for sure. Like most immigrant families, my parents grew up very poor and worked hard for everything they had. My family struggled financially as they raised my sister and me up through elementary school. As I watched these struggles unfold, I began to believe I had to depend on my own efforts to survive and be successful. That was all I ever knew and believed growing up and that was the ideology pushed onto me when it came to education. As a result, my sin blinded me. I hid my pride behind a thin veneer of kindness, as I puffed myself up over my peers with my better grades and morals. My high school was an environment that fostered liberal ideas which made God’s existence seem nonsensical and trivial. I remember adopting the belief that everyone was born with a clean slate. People were neither good nor bad when they were born, but were shaped by their experiences and decisions. I placed myself in the category of good people. Amidst all this, two of my Christian friends had invited me out to their youth group on multiple occasions and I eventually decided to go. This was my first exposure to Christianity in a Church setting and it was pleasant, contrary to my expectations. I went back on several occasions to hang out with friends. I filtered out the messages being preached and almost never went on Sundays. Going to youth group only blinded me more to my sin. I saw no difference between myself and the people at Church. I praised myself for my good morals. After all, I was doing better than most people around me and relatively problem free. My moral relativism caused me to be content with my own sin. I justified my own weaknesses and sins because they weren’t as bad as my peer’s. Moreover, my Christian friends and peers did not act in accordance with their beliefs. I looked down on Christianity. Religion was for fools that needed a crutch.
Then I went to college. With the recommendation of some returning college students from the youth group I had gone to during high school, I decided to check out a Christian fellowship. It seemed like an easy way to find friends at the time. At UCLA, God exchanged my enmity towards Him for love. By God’s grace I was integrated into GOC my freshman year and was pushed immensely to consider the truths of Gospel and the very existence of a god. Little did I know that I would soon be severely humbled. I had entered college very prideful and overconfident. I indulged in my new-found freedom and neglected my studies and played games all the time, thinking I could just breeze through college in the same way that I had done in high school. I was very wrong. I struggled a lot my first quarter. Even amidst my struggles to adjust to college classes, I continued to come out to GOC. I, for whatever reason, paid attention to the sermons and even went to church on Sundays even though I had never bothered to during my multitude visits to youth group. The Gospel pricked my conscience, but I still thought it was ridiculous. I deliberately asked people hard questions about the Bible. I wanted to find a hole in it. I believed that if I could trip them up — if I could ask questions they couldn’t answer, then I would know for sure that the Bible wasn’t real. I made it my mission not to become a Christian. GOC offered a terrific community and that’s all I wanted from it. But the very opposite ended up happening. To challenge the people at GOC and GCC I had to read the Bible. During Sunday sermons, I would listen to Pastor John and search through the nearby passages he preached on in hopes that I would find a hole in his sermon, and find something tricky to ask GOCers later. Instead, I was drawn into the passages of the Bible. I had a fascination with Jesus. If He was who He says He was, then I wanted to believe in His saving work. The Gospel accounts held some authority that seemed to come from nowhere. My drive to argue against Christianity only led me to read more of the Bible. I listened more intently to the sermons each week and became paralyzed by the weight of my sin. The realization caused a turmoil inside of me and I ran from the truth. I remembered that I had promised myself not to become a Christian, but my conscience tore at me more than it had ever before, despite previously being content with all the sins I had ever committed. I couldn’t silence this arbitrary feeling of urgency away this time, so I searched amongst the body of believers to validate what I had read. John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”. I truly saw that in the people at GOC and was encouraged to see people living out this example. Lastly, Titus 3:3 says this, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” I saw this in myself. A combination of seeing my own sins, a visible body of devoted believers, and a need for a savior brought me to devote my life to Christ during UCLA winter quarter. God orchestrated something I could never have anticipated. His plan is perfect and His will is good.