One Friday night, our fraternity house hosted what was billed as the party to end all parties. All the ingredients were in place – the beer was flowing, the music was loud, and the people were wall to wall.
In the middle of all the action, a bunch of my friends were standing on a coffee table. It looked like the place to be, so I jumped up to join the fun. But something strange came over me atop that perch, I looked at the whole scene and saw nothing but emptiness. I felt the way Solomon must have felt when he wrote, “everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). That was my life – meaningless and empty.
My dream when entering college had been to become a doctor and buy a horse farm outside Lexington, Kentucky. By my senior year, even that seemed meaningless. But sin wasn’t content to steal my dreams and leave me adrift – it also heaped on guilt and shame in supersize quantities. I wasn’t very happy or pleased with my life, and I knew God wasn’t either. But what was I to do?
Surprisingly, even with all my confusion, I didn’t abandon my belief in Christ. I didn’t seek answers elsewhere. I knew the Bible contained what I needed, but I was so blinded by sin and my human effort that I couldn’t see the answers.
Several friends encouraged me to attend a Bible study in Atlanta. I had been to it before because I thought it would help me be God’s guy. This time was different. I knew I had nothing to offer him. My record was stained with sin. Whatever was going to happen to me was on his shoulders.
I never met the Bible teacher personally, but somehow he knew exactly what was going on with me. I didn’t know any other way to live the Christian life than by human effort. I applied it to every rule that I thought would help me become God’s guy – things like reading the Bible and praying every day, eliminating sinful thoughts and desires, standing strong against sin, and maintaining an appearance of goodness.
Nothing could be further from the truth. “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” does not work. These rules may appear wise, “but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Colossians 2:23). I had learned that lesson and was ready for a new way to live and a new path to walk.