Real Peace - Don Dewald
As a teenager growing up in Oklahoma City, like many in my generation, I was deeply involved in drugs and alcohol, pursuing pleasure to fill the deep longing and emptiness within my heart. Then in mid December a close friend of mine named Danny who was living pretty much the same lifestyle as myself became a "Jesus Freak." He quit smoking, drinking, drugs, partying--began going to church--and excitedly shared with all his friends his newfound faith in Christ.
When Danny told me about his experience with God I mocked him and told him that was fine for him, but that I had "tried" religion before and that it wasn't for me. (About three years earlier I had gotten baptized in a Church of Christ. It's possible that I was truly regenerated at that time, but without the nourishment of the Word of God and the care of true believers, there was no growth.) But Danny wouldn't take no for an answer. He was convinced that what God had done for him, God also wanted to do for me. He said he would pray for me.
In the next two weeks, God began to accelerate His work in my life. He allowed me to see and experience some of the darker aspects of the lifestyle I was living. I thought that in this world of drugs and "freedom" I had discovered peace and love. But through the opening of my eyes, I began to see the greed, selfishness, hatred, and even violence in some of those I was around.
On New Years' Eve, I left the party I was attending and decided to go to Danny's house to talk to him about God. When I went home that night I got down on my knees and prayed, "God, if you are real and want me, here I am." I felt a sense of peace after praying that prayer. The next morning some of my friends from the party came over and asked why I had left the night before. I immediately informed them of my "conversion" experience and told them I would not be doing drugs any more.
Although I didn't understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and forgiveness through His grace and mercy, I had called out to the Lord with a sincere heart. He answered my prayer. In the next weeks as I began to attend Christian meetings I learned about the blood of Christ and forgiveness through the grace of God--not as a result of my works. This concept was difficult for me, because I had thought that God's forgiveness was based on my deciding to follow and obey Him. But as I began to worship God, sing to Him, fellowship with other believers, and hear the Word of God, a true joy began to flow in my inmost being.
Thus, the seed of Christ was planted in me. And to this day, He is still growing in me and still teaching me that this new life is a life of His grace, not a life of my self effort.
As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him. Colossians 2:6
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Scripture quoted from The New Testament, Recovery Version © 1985, 1991 Living Stream Ministry. Used by permission.