How Adam Became a Christian

We are God’s trophies. A trophy is something earned through victory. A trophy never earns itself. A trophy may seem impressive, but its purpose is to point people to the victory that was won. When I consider trophies, I think of the old dusty football trophies locked up in glass cabinets in most any high school—trophies that have been sitting there for ten, twenty, thirty years. I bet if you’d walk in there and ask around how this trophy was won, or who was on this winning team, you’d probably get few answers. Every trophy has a story behind it, a story which, at the time, is very exciting. But as years go by, that story gets fainter and fainter as the excitement wanes. But not with us. We are living trophies of the love and grace of God. And we’ll be honoring God as His trophies for all eternity for the victory Jesus Christ won on the cross over evil, sin, and death. Thus, I never grow tired of sharing how He called me, a worthless sinner, to become His forgiven child.

I grew up in a small rural town in Nebraska called Colon. Yes, it’s spelled just like the body part. I was raised in a Christian home, went to church every Sunday, was baptized as an infant, and was confirmed as a young adult. For grade school I went to a tiny little country school that only had two rooms, one for kindergarten through third grade and one for fourth grade through eighth grade. I always tell people it’s easy to be second in your grade when there’s only two people in your grade.

Later on, I went to Wahoo Public High School and was soon introduced to parties and alcohol. By my junior year I was actively involved in partying and drinking. However, there was no connection in my mind between what I did Saturday night and what I did Sunday morning. I figured there were many people far more evil than I was. The only thing that worried me was the fear that my best friend Jeremy Goodding would find out. I knew Jeremy was “religious,” even more than me, and would be disappointed if he knew what I was about on the weekends. So I asked people I partied with not to tell Jeremy. But secrets like that don’t last long. I figured that when he found out, we’d just drift apart and go our separate ways. Surprisingly, when Jeremy did find out, instead of distancing himself from me, he started inviting me to his church’s youth activities.

One night we attended a high-school party based on the board game Clue at his church—the adult leaders dressed up as Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, etc. and organized a night of fun and games. The youth pastor spoke, but I didn’t pay attention. However, afterwards one of the teenage girls (Iris Davenport) talked to me and asked me a question that changed my life: “If you were standing before God right now and He asked you ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ what would you say?” I told her that God would let me into heaven because I was a pretty good guy, I hadn’t done anything too bad, like robbing a bank or murdering someone.

It’s difficult for me to remember exactly how I viewed the world back then, but I know I thought of myself as a good person. I believed in God and knew Jesus died on the cross, but I didn’t realize the severity of my moral failures. Looking back now, I can see that underneath I was developing a heart full of hatred, anger, bitterness, pride, and intense selfishness. But at the time, I figured almost everyone was going to heaven, except those that were abnormally evil—Satan worshipers, serial killers, and Nazis. I understood that I did the wrong thing occasionally but was convinced it was nothing compared to what truly evil people had done. If anybody was going to heaven, certainly God would let me in because I hadn’t done anything “that bad.”

Iris went on to explain, though, using verses from the New Testament, that being a “pretty good guy” wasn’t enough. She explained that God’s moral standard was perfection, that I had to be perfect to get into heaven. According to Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, we’re to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matt. 5:48). I was a bit frustrated and said, “Well, nobody’s perfect!” and she replied, “That’s the point.” Because we’re all morally imperfect, God sent Jesus to rescue us from the punishment we deserve for our moral failures. She explained that I had put my faith in the wrong thing, that I was trusting in what I could do to earn my way to heaven, which would never work. Instead, I should trust in what Jesus did for me on the cross to reconcile me back to God, pay for my sins to be forgiven, and welcome me into heaven.

On the hour drive back home, I had so many questions for Jeremy, and he reiterated what Iris had explained. That night when I got home, in my bedroom by myself, I made the decision to trust in Christ. And that’s how, on February 4th, 1994, I became a Christian. As for an epilogue, shortly after that night Jeremy and Iris began dating and eventually got married. Thus, I remind them to this day that while I’m grateful to them for leading me to Christ, they should be grateful for me because maybe I was the missionary project which brought them together!