Like most people, I was a product of my childhood. My parents came to the United States from Nigeria. My dad, who was a Muslim, had a quiet strength. He was a strong, big man, who lived his faith, and had great integrity. He said something, and then followed through. I respected him, and wanted to be like him.
My views of Christianity came from my Dad, who said that Christians didnt really live their faith. Those views always seemed to be played out by the Christians I knew. It seemed that Christianity was a religion that had no discipline. The professed Christians that I saw, even my mother, didnt seem to have that same strength and discipline I saw in my dad.
Whenever I had encounters with Christians, I would ask them questions they didnt have answers for. My goal was to cause them to stumble to point out the inconsistencies in their faith. I went to chapel at San Diego State even though I was a Muslim just because I wanted to listen. And everything I heard confirmed the views given to me by my Dad Christians were weak. They said one thing and did another. They were full of contradictions. Even when I started reading the Bible, I did so for one reason and one reason alone and that was to prove it wrong. In my pursuit to fault Christians, something else happened
All along, I was struggling with integrity issues of my own. The very things I was critical of in the Christians I knew were the same things I was struggling with. I thought they didnt seem to have integrity, and yet I was fighting the same battle inside myself. I did and said all the right things, but behind closed doors, I was no different than anyone else. I realized I wasnt really a man of integrity.
I was dating the woman who would become my wife. She professed to be a Christian; in fact, she was going to a small group where people were praying for ME. She told them I was everything she wanted in a man except I didnt have a relationship with Jesus.I thought she was like all the other Christians I knew. But she wasnt. I came to see that while she wasnt perfect, her relationship with God was real. I respected that. I knew she really loved her God, and I wanted what she had. I came to realize that I had been closed off to having a relationship with God, and I wanted to be open.
While in Green Bay my rookie year, I started reading the Bible and it finally started connecting for me. Instead of finding the contradictions I thought Id see, I realized that God is a God of discipline. Even though the Christians I knew werent perfect, I saw that One person in the Bible was, and that was Jesus Christ. I even saw Jesus in the Old Testament. I prayed, God, I want to know who You are.
Before I accepted Jesus, I had done things my own way all my life. I had all the money I needed and more. I had a car, a roof over my head and I was rubbing elbows with famous people. Even with all this, it lead to nothing but emptiness.
After I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, my life didnt change over night. It was a long process with some ups and downs along the way. I still, on occasion, found myself falling into some old ways but it was different. I found myself wondering how I could say Im a believer and do what I was doing. I wondered how I could be the light I wanted to be the light God wanted me to be. I realized I couldnt do it my way anymore. I couldnt do it half-heartedly. It had to be Gods way all Gods way.
Now I take the same attitude I have toward football and apply it to God. I follow with my whole heart. I put myself entirely into it.
By Gods grace, Ive had great success on the football field. Ive set sack records for one of the most storied franchises in all of Sport the Green Bay Packers, and I plan to do more in my football career as long as God allows me the opportunity. As much as I enjoy football and the success, I know that those things wont last forever. There is one thing that will, however, and thats my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This by far is my greatest victory.
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