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The 700 Club

Trying to Live up to God’s Rules

Ed Heath - 700 Club Producer

“We were in church – a lot of times we were there four, five, six, sometimes seven days a week. It made me feel good.   It made me feel like I was closer to God.”  When he was ten, Adam asked Jesus to come into his heart and forgive his sins.  But to him, being a Christian meant following God’s rules, and trying to be perfect. He recalls, “I was trying to be good enough.   I was trying to live up to a standard and I can't be good enough.   If I can't be good enough, what's the benefit of being good?”

Unable to keep up his self-imposed high standards, Adam started making compromises. Through junior high and high school he went to church on Sunday, but for the rest of the week he drank and chased girls. Adam says, “Was any of it really sin?  Yeah, it was sin, it was bad, it was – it hurt Him.   But I couldn't comprehend that because I didn't know Him on a relational level.  I still had trouble understanding and comprehending who Jesus was.  More than just a story figure.” After graduating from high school Adam married his girlfriend, Amber.  He tried to be a good Christian but always left Jesus behind at church. He says, “I knew Him on a prayer level.   I knew Him at an altar level, but not at an outside level where you're living every day.  I was putting God in a box that He had to exist within the confines of a church. It put me in a position to where I was more willing to make bad decisions that would not honor Him.”

By 2009 Adam and Amber had two kids and a third on the way.  Adam decided to join the Dothan, Alabama police force. He says, “Being a law enforcement officer, I didn't go into it because I thought it was going to be easy, or just get to drive fast and have guns. And, you know, I felt called there.” It also fit into his view of a religion without grace. He recalls, “My view of God was rules and regulations and standards and I wanted to hold people to the law.   I wanted to enforce the law and do a good job at it, but at the same time I felt like I had to live a level up above that, – it's intimidating, it's exhausting.  It's just mentally exhausting to live like that, to uh to feel like you've got to always be perfect.”   

He quickly moved up the ranks in a variety of departments but paid a heavy price for those promotions. He recalls, “Dealing with the stress of the job, that was having a tremendous toll on my marriage because it was taking a toll on me.  Mental exhaustion, spiritual exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, physical exhaustion.  And, you know, you just don't want to communicate.   You shut down, you lock yourself out. I saved all the good I had for what I did on the street, or what I did in investigations, or what I did on the job.  And I gave my best away and didn't save it for my family.”  When Adam started working in the sex crimes division his empathy for the victims made him question God’s love. He says, “Seeing the pain that others went through, seeing the just blatant evil that's present in society that most people will never know about, caused me to ask God, ‘If you love us, why do these things happen? If you love us, then why do little babies suffer, why do children suffer, why do innocent people suffer?  And why is evil so prevalent?’ And it was almost on a level of interrogating God and saying, ‘If you are love, and your Bible says you are love, your Word says you are love, if you're love, then why do these things happen?’”

Adam continues, “My wrestling match with God lasted six months but it felt like an eternity. I got to a point to where I said, ‘I have tried to prove you, I have tried to find facts about you, all I have is your Word.’ I said, ‘you know, I can't prove that you exist.  I can't put a finger on you.  But I believe in you because I choose to believe in you.’ Inside I was broken, beat down and probably felt more defeated than I had ever felt in my life.  And I just totally surrendered. Nothing compares to the love, the embrace I felt from Jesus in that moment.”

Surrendering to God released the pressure Adam felt to be perfect and he invited Jesus into every area of his life. He says, “I didn't really have a desire to do some of the other things I had done in the past.   And so I didn't fit in any more with certain places.   It just didn't feel right.  It made me want to be a better husband.   It made me want to be a better father.   I began to understand that we live in a fallen world, and that God is love and that He's present, He's available, He's given us the power to overcome and be more than conquerors. He’s given us the power to have abundant life.”

Adam has since retired from the police force but stays in close contact with his fellow officers. He loves to share about the freedom he found when he surrendered to God. He believes, “No matter where you're at, how good things are, or how bad they seem, that in the middle, Jesus is still the answer.  He is still the answer. It doesn't matter how dark your days are, how bad you've been, or how good you've tried to be, Jesus is the way. We've painted this picture of a big God with a big hammer, who has got a finger on a red button waiting to send everybody to hell.   And, man, that is not who He is at all.  He is love.  And when we understand that, it changes everything.   And when we experience it, it really changes everything.”

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