Many of us wander through life looking for something. Sometimes it takes somebody to tell you what you are looking for. I was seeking for purpose in life. I wanted to know why I was created. I was asking myself questions like: Why am I here? Why was I born? Where do I go when I die? Why do I feel so empty inside?
Popularity came easy for me from having an outgoing personality as well as a successful basketball season my senior year in high school. During high school, I had accumulated many bad habits including drinking, smoking, and being sexually involved with women. Influenced by a lifestyle of secular music, media, and partying I lived for pleasure and wanted to do what felt good. I lived for myself and the times where I could get glory.
I had grown up in a Christian home and went to church all my life. The high-school that I graduated from was also a Christian school. Naturally, I called myself a Christian because of these things, however my heart was far from God. I had no personal relationship with my Creator. Even though I had heard about God all my life I still fell into many things that drew me away from Him. I had never opened the door of my heart and invited Christ to live inside me. I never knew that God desired to have a personal, intimate relationship with me.
According to the standards of the world, at this point in my life I pretty much had everything I wanted, but something was missing. I felt completely empty inside and I did not know why. Through a series of questions and events, I ended up at a family/church camp listening to a Pastor named Kevin.
“What would it be like to know you are living for eternity – for reward beyond this life – for the opportunity to hear God say, ‘Well done, Jeff. You stood tall. You fought for justice. You cared about the little people. I’m proud of you, son.” I knew this man had something that I was missing and I wanted it. He was full of joy and peace and you could see it all over his face. Pride held me back from talking to him throughout the week, but I ended up getting his email address at the end of the camp. When I got home, I sent him an email pouring out my heart. After I told him the stuff I was doing, he challenged me saying, “You seem empty inside, and it seems you are trying to fill up the emptiness with all kinds of stuff. Doesn’t sound like it’s working too well.”
He also asked me, “How would you like to be filled on the inside; what would it feel like to know your Heavenly Father is passionate about you – that He loved you so very much, and had great plans for your life – and that you could trust Him to talk with you and guide you. What would it feel like to know that He wanted to help you form intimate relationships where your soul is bonded with other folks – not in a ‘taking’ or ‘using’ relationship – but where you are so full that you really want to give yourself away to people – you aren’t ‘needy’ for them – you just want to be there for them…emphasis on ‘them’ – not self…To have your eyes on the ‘eternal perspective’ of each moment to the point that you aren’t always obsessing about the next pleasurable experience on earth. What would it be like to be a leader in terms of activity – not a follower – so that others would start to follow you instead of you them – you become a trend setter – instead of you forming the habits they give to you. What would it be like to go to bed at night and look in the face of your Heavenly Father and know you have lived with integrity and authenticity that day – so you could sleep the sleep of peace because your conscience is clear?"
He then went on to say, “What I’ve just described is what following this man named Jesus – with your whole heart – is about. Surrender to Him is the only way to get free from that which has you in bondage. I’m not talking about becoming a religious fanatic – I’m talking about falling in love with Jesus. I dare you to get alone and cry out to Him that you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired – and you’re ready to follow – because even though you’re young, you believe there must be more to life – and you believe it’s centered in this man named Jesus."
Instantly, I knelt beside my computer and cried out to Jesus. I asked Him into my life, turned my heart towards God, and asked for help. All this time Jesus was saying, “Come to Me (Matthew 11:28-30).” My heart was immediately changed (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ezekiel 36:26). I no longer wanted to do these things that caused emptiness and hurt in my life. I wanted to be filled. I wanted to know God. I wanted to know what my purpose was. I started seeking Him (Jeremiah 29:11-13). The Lord placed several different people in my life to help teach and disciple me. As Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32).” I started understanding what the Lord had done through the death and resurrection of His only Son. I started understanding His great love and mercy and that He had forgiven me for everything that I had done. I began to fall in love with Jesus (Luke 7:47). I began to be in awe of the matchless Creator of the universe.
In my pursuit of God, I have found my life in giving it away (Matthew 16:24-25). I exist to know God the Father and make Him known (John 17:3). Today I have friendship with God and enjoy an intimate, personal relationship with Him (John 15:15). As Paul said, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”