I felt like me and God were ‘cool’ but we weren’t, says Roderick
As a team-focused footballer and hard-working labourer, Roderick Manton was convinced he was a pretty good guy until a lack of integrity in a relationship led to the lowest point in his life.
Based on the fact that he did not get drunk, sleep around, make dirty jokes or do drugs, Roderick says, "I didn't think that I was that bad of a person."
Although his mother's beliefs had made him open to God's reality and that Jesus died for his sin, Roderick thought he did not need God's help.
"I didn't need as much 'saving' as my friends at footy," Roderick explains, "or so I thought."
While making good money as a labourer, Roderick's thinking changed when he became interested in a young lady named Maddie.
As he attended her church, he was challenged about reading the Bible.
"I never really read the Bible except when I was desperate," Roderick admits.
He started dating Maddie and joined a Bible study and became a leader at a church youth group program, thinking that these things would be another notch on his belt for God.
Then, on his two year anniversary with Maddie, Roderick recalls that God rocked his world with the news that she wanted to break-up with him.
at the lowest point I have ever been in my life”"She found out that I had been flirting and talking with other girls and lying to her about these things. She couldn't trust me any more so we broke up and it knocked me right over," Roderick says.
"I was like: 'yeah I had not been honest but look at all the other great things I am doing, can't you see I am a good person?' I was confused and angry at her and at God."
Around this time Roderick's pastor approached him about being baptised and challenged him with the question: what does it mean for Jesus to be your Lord and King?
"God opened my eyes to see that I knew OF Jesus, I knew OF God but I didn't actually know Him personally," he says.
Feeling messed up and broken, Roderick says God pointed out to him that he had been a hypocrite and a liar.
"I cried and I cried, I was at the lowest point I have ever been in my life," he says.
"Yet God used this to help me see my sin for what it really was and revealed to me how I really am. I am deceitful, a liar, greedy, selfish, proud, arrogant, and the list could go on.
"I really saw my need for Jesus to save me, not 'cos I am a good person who has made mistakes, but because at the core of myself I am sinful and that is was separating me from God."
Roderick remembers crying out to Jesus saying, "Jesus please forgive me, you died for me and took my punishment...you are a King worthy to be followed!"
It was then, that he humbly and genuinely allowed Jesus to take first priority in his life and entered into a genuine relationship with Him through prayer, Bible reading and worship.
Life according to Roderick was not "sweet smelling roses" after this, and he admits that he still made some bad decisions. The difference, however, is that he now has the Spirit of God living within changing him inwardly.
"Even though I continue to do bad things the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am forgiven, and because God has changed me inwardly, I have a desire to do what God wants me to do instead of just my own thing," he explains.
"I have freedom in Jesus and I know where I am going when I die! I know that God loves me and has purpose for my life.
"Lately I have also been learning that Jesus does not want just a part of me, He wants all of me and there are many years of bad decisions and sins to be worked through but I am at peace with God because I know I am forgiven through Jesus Christ."
Roderick later got back together with Maddie and they married in June 2013.
"She has shown me much more love and forgiveness than I deserve," he explains.
"Our relationship is now much more focused on following Christ and being obedient to Him, from that flows things like honesty, trust, love, patience and joy.
"Everyday we pray together and read the Bible together, knowing that it's Christ's love for us that allows us to love each other in the way He calls us to."