Two years ago today (at about 3 A.M. this morning), my life began to transform in ways I would have never expected…. or would’ve never even asked for. Most people reading this will already be familiar with my testimony from either hearing it by video, podcast, radio or just word of mouth…. but for those of you who don’t know, my conversion experience didn’t begin with me straightening myself up and coming to church—it began right in the midst of my sin.
When the Lord opened my eyes and put life inside of me, I wasn’t on my knees at the front of an altar or reading the Bible or praying—I wasn’t seeking God or inviting Him into my heart or even pondering the possibility of “change.” I was dancing at a gay bar. That’s where I was when God called me, once and for all, out of darkness and into light—at the gay bar. I was drinking excessively, trying to black-out (like I was used to doing when I drank), but for some reason I just couldn’t get to “that level” on this night. Something was different… I felt weird. Around 3.am., while on the dance floor, I became overwhelmed, out of nowhere, with a sense of……. awareness?? It’s hard to really describe what I felt….. you could call it embarrassment….or shame. But this thought just struck my mind:
“Matt, what are you doing?”
This picture was taken on the night I’m speaking of. I don’t post it to glorify my sin—but as a very real reminder of how far away from the Lord I was—-and how He came into my life this night anyway.
Now I didn’t fall on my knees in the middle of the gay bar and repent or anything like that—I didn’t even know what was going on. I just felt weird… I felt off. I knew I didn’t want to be at that bar anymore so I left just a few minutes later—not knowing that it would be the last time I would walk out of there. Over the next month I started talking with some Christians that I knew, reading the Bible, found a church, started listening to preaching……all very, very foreign things to me. Everything was changing. Everything. I didn’t want to be the person that I had been. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be new.
I didn’t know this at the time, but… I already was new.
Whoever you are reading this, perhaps someone who unwillingly stumbled across this blog as you were googling something else……you probably think I’m absolutely psychotic. That’s okay. You might be thinking (especially if you knew me personally in the past), “Why would a perfectly capable, well-liked, gay guy just “decide” one day he didn’t want to pursue his natural desire to other men anymore?” Unless you believe in the God of Christianity, there’s no explanation I can give you that would satisfy you. But just hear me out on one thing: If for some reason you’re ever in a place where you see your need for change, your need for saving, your need for God…..please know that He isn’t waiting on you to get yourself right or fix yourself or for you to figure everything out. He’ll meet you right where you are—-even if it’s on the dance floor at a gay bar at 3 a.m. I didn’t go tidy myself up and change my behavior then head toward the front of an altar saying, “Jesus, I’m clean, I stopped doing this and this and this…please accept me!”….. no. He came right down into my lost-ness and said “I accept you. Now be clean.”
Lord knows I’ve stumbled over the past two years, splitting my face open on the rocks of my sin. But my God has not left me. He is faithful even when I’m faithless—always saturating my heart with His grace and leading me into repentance….. repentance AND joy.
I’m thankful for this day… the day (to my knowledge) the Lord began a good work in me. I’m grasping hold of this promise tonight:
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”- Phillipians 1:6