As I became a teenager and began to walk in a way that was very sinful to Christ, and recognizing it as I did it. I knew lying, stealing, fornication, and adultery, and all those things were wrong, yet I still engaged in some of those. I eventually became concerned that I was not living the life that I should be living. There was a 20-year period of time that we never darkened the door of a church.
As we began to go back to church, we also began to hear the Word of God preached again. We had been through the Sermon on the Mount, and I can remember Jesus saying in Matthew 5:48, “Just be perfect. Everything will be fine. Just be perfect.” I thought, “There is no way. I am not perfect. I can’t be perfect. I can’t go back and change the things that have happened in the past, so perfection is not going to be anything that I can ever do.”
We changed churches and began attending Fellowship Bible Church in Dalton, Georgia, at time when we were assisting with an upcoming convention. I met an Elder there. His name was Norm Fleet. Norm had been a missionary in the Philippines. He and I struck a good chord with each other because he loved to hunt, so we traveled around looking for good places to hunt. We spent a lot of time together.
Norm began to mentor me. We had a lot of Bible studies together. It was through him that I came to know the gospel of grace, and the fact that Jesus came to, not only save me from my sin, but also was taking my sin up on Himself, while giving me His righteousness. Jesus giving me His righteousness was the thing I needed to hear so much because I felt like there was no bridge between me and God because of my sin. I had not lived a life that was worthy of the Judge.
When I heard and believed that Jesus was not only my savior and was taking my sin upon Himself and giving me His righteousness, it was like a new spark. Then I believed on Jesus as my savior. In the beginning, I was in control because I thought I had to live life in a certain way. That was the message that I had heard. The message that God was now in control was all new.