I became a follower of Jesus in 1998 when I was a post-doctoral research fellow in the medical school at the University of North Carolina. I grew up in a family that was pretty religious meaning we went to church almost every week and had several Bibles in our house. As a kid, I was pretty good at church. I knew the Bible stories, could give the correct answer and was really good at looking pious and reverent when it was appropriate.
However, I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. Somehow I made the mistake of substituting knowing Jesus with knowing about Jesus.
When I went to college my personal life fell into a lifestyle of alcohol, lust and, well, you get the picture. Knowing about Jesus didn’t do a very good job of helping me resists the world’s temptations. However, God never gave up on me.
Following college I married my wife and we started going to church because that’s what responsible adults do and during this time of me being clueless God was really active in my life. He provided solid Bible teaching, Godly friends, a wife that prayed for me and in 1998 I decided I really really wanted to know God.
In the course of about 20 minutes one night driving home from a research conference that was held in South Carolina I became fully aware of how separated I was from God, how lost I was and how empty was my life. In those minutes, what I knew about Jesus became what I believed about Jesus and I confessed all the sins and asked (ok, really I begged but asking sounds more mature) Jesus to forgive me of them and I accepted/received/dived deep into the ocean of forgiveness that is His sacrifice for me.
Life now is pretty good, more relaxed, more full of, hmmm, everything. I’m still learning about God, but now my learning is centered in a relationship with Him through Jesus.