Looking Good but Living a Lie

At twenty-seven I thought I had everything going for me. I made decent money as a waiter pursuing an acting career in Hollywood. I drove a red convertible, had an agent, and partied every night with a different woman.
Whatever happened to the kid who grew up going to Catholic school in Pennsylvania and dreamt of running in the Olympics one day? My decline began in my senior year of high school when I became sexually active. The focus that I had for training and breaking school records changed immediately. Sex and porn consumed my time and energy.

Moving into college only made things worse. Although running kept me marginally disciplined for a while, a knee injury during my sophomore year changed that. My dream to run in the Olympics was over and so was my self-restraint. Once I graduated (barely), drugs and depravity gave me the high I craved; by day I waited tables (from Florida to New Orleans to Hollywood) and by night I left nothing to curiosity. Fear of disease didn’t stop me. Disease didn’t stop me.

Sick and Tired

“Sam, are you sick and tired of hurting?” Chris, my acting buddy, asked me after class one night.

What kind of question is that? I thought. I knew that I was hurting and could not deny it. Chris introduced me to his “tough love” mentor who told me, in no uncertain terms, what I had to do. I knew I needed to get out of the life that was destroying me, so I did exactly what he instructed: I called him and prayed daily; I fasted from food once a week; I attended weekly group meetings.

If hard work were the answer, I would have been cured in a matter of months. But it wasn’t that simple. I was a sexual addict—the harder I tried to deny myself, the stronger the cravings became. There was only one thing to do—get married.

As it turned out, the addiction didn’t go away just because I said “I do.” I would not cheat on my wife, but my porn addiction and erratic behavior took a toll on our marriage and intimacy. I knew the cause; she didn’t. For one year I hid my secret from her until my mentor showed up at our door.

Couldn’t Do It Alone

When my wife found out, my world turned upside down. No matter how hard I tried, I could not ease her pain, avoid the fights, or alleviate the stress that made the cravings stronger. “God, help me! I’ll do whatever it takes!” I began to cry out like never before. What I didn’t know is that God was already pursuing me.

At the insistence of a friend, I finally went to a church service. The preacher shared vaguely familiar words from the Bible. For the first time, I truly heard about a holy God who loves me and wants to have a relationship with me.

With tears in my eyes, I knew I was a sinner right from the start and that the penalty for that sin is death. That’s why I could never have victory through my own sinful effort!

But God sent his Son—Jesus Christ—to earth to become a man to live a perfectly sinless life—and ultimately give his life on the cross. Why? As payment for my sin: “God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” And because he rose from the dead, he conquered sin and death—for me and for you!

That day, at 33 years old, I said, “Yes! Jesus, I want you to be Lord of my life.”

My life has never been the same. Though the effects of God’s transformation became visible to my wife and others gradually, never again did I fight alone, trying to do it all by myself. Jesus lifted me up and restored me when I failed. He began to heal my wife and our marriage. He blessed us with a beautiful daughter who melted my heart the moment she was born. No longer could I see women like objects—for they were also someone else’s little girls.

Up to this point, I thought that I would take my addiction to the grave. But in 1995, through God’s grace, he granted me total victory. And that was just the beginning of my adventure walking with Jesus!

What about You?

I stopped believing in coincidences long ago. Why are you reading my story today? God may be pursuing you too. So here’s my question for you: are you sick and tired of hurting? If your answer is “Yes,” begin your surrender to God by praying something like this today:

Dear God, I know you can see the sin in my heart. I need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus—your Son—died on the cross for me and arose from the dead, conquering sin and death. I need your help! I surrender my life to you right now. Please come into my life. Thank you for your gift of forgiveness and for saving me. Amen.

If you just prayed that and meant it, you have made the wisest decision of your life. God will keep His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Congratulations!

~ Sam Keckler

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