I became a Christian in 2011 in my fraternity house. I remember that some disciples brought the Word to a small bible study that I somehow agreed to go to at a moment’s notice. They were an incredible witness to me and a friend, who had a radical transformation by the grace of God. He left his life of sin that was filled with drugs, sexual impurity, alcohol, theft, and deception. As for me, I was still treading water in that lifestyle even after hearing of God’s goodness.

I read John 1:1-18 and my mind was blown open to the spiritual reality of God. I took a Bible they gave me up to my room, closed the door, and read Matthew 1-7. I encountered the holiness of God, which forced me to notice my deep depravity in the light of truth and desperation for radical mercy. I remember praying through fervent tears and asking, “If you are real, come into my life and help me because I know life is meaningless without you.”

An incredible peace came over me after that moment, and I have never been the same since. I was opened up to a spiritual reality and began noticing the fingerprints of God in all of creation and in every circumstance that I found myself in. I firmly that I have slowly but surely been transforming into the image of Christ. By the power of his spirit at work in me through faith in Jesus, he has helped take away many of my evil desires and tear down the alters of my idols. He continues to work on me every day and I am confident that he who began a good work in me will bring it to completion on the day Christ Jesus returns! I’ve truly gone from dope to hope and it’s all because of Jesus!

-Phil Mann

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