Football exploits, alcohol and uncompromising self-approval were Ron Edwards' 'religion' but he was left unsatisfied and desired the forgiveness that had changed another young man.
From his school years, Ron recalls, "I was sure that I would not need to work hard because I was better and higher up the social order than others."
In his assessment of God, Ron could not conceive that a supernatural all-powerful Creator could be present everywhere, so he dismissed the God of the Bible.
As he watched his mother sew, he remembers, "I imagined a god sowing a needle and thread, making the universe. How could that be true? So I believed in evolution and invented a god of my own imagination."
At a seaside camp Ron says his prideful outlook changed. "The football club, booze, and the constant striving to approve myself as right didn't seem to be going how I wanted it to. But still I wanted more from my religion."
Ron recalls hearing a young preacher share his life story and how God's love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ had changed his life.
Ron continues: "I realized that I didn't have what this young man had. I really had no god at all. Could God be real after all? Was Jesus able to change me? I didn't know. Maybe God could answer if I prayed to him? I wanted to try."
“I felt so full and high that I thought I would burst”As he walked in a park, Ron remembers he prayed, "God if you are real show me. Send someone to me who wants to know about how to know Jesus."
The next moment, a woman ran up, saying she had been trying to find him.
"She wanted me to tell her about Jesus – but I was the last person who could do that, so together we listened to the young preacher explain how Jesus Christ took the punishment for my sins. What I needed to do was tell Jesus how wrong I was and that I needed Him to take control of my life."
That day, Ron remembers that he and the woman "confessed our need of Jesus and asked Him to forgive us."
Ron is sure God accepted his prayer because of what immediately happened in his heart.
"My life was flooded with His love. It is difficult to find words to describe how I felt. My feelings were so full and high I thought I would burst. I felt like jumping onto the moon and shouting to the whole world, 'Jesus Christ has changed my life!'"
He embarked on a career as a farmer and yet the passion to tell people about Jesus has led to work distributing Bibles for the Gideon's and a mission trip to Africa.
"This passion to tell others has not left me," says Ron. "Life has had its ups and downs, but I now have help that those seperated from Jesus do not have."
With God's help, Ron says his prideful attitude has diminished, as he explains: "Some temptations like desire to get drunk fell off easily while other ones, like pride, still rear their ugly head from time to time."
For others wondering whether Jesus can change them, Ron advises, "Do not 'try Jesus' because trying implies you can do it alone."
"Jesus taught us to trust in Him, and let our old self go. He will give you a new self, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Surrendering to Jesus means we repent: to agree with God that you have been going the wrong way, and then you turn around 180 degrees and go the other way in obedience to God's commands."