Florida Gator Quarterback
1996 Heisman Trophy Winner.
January 2, 1997. Sugar Bowl.
Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles for the NCAA Division I-A National Championship.
Operating out of the shotgun, I took the snap and looked for my receiver, Ike Hilliard. One problem: Florida State defensive end Peter Boulware was going to greet me before Ike could make his break. One solution -- anticipate Ike's pass route, throw the ball and have faith that he would be where he was supposed to be.
Like it or not, faith is present in all of our lives, and we exercise faith in countless ways each day.
Even sitting on a chair requires faith -- faith that it can hold us up. And our faith in the chair grows each time it doesn't let us down. So it is with my faith in God. Through joys and sorrows, He has never let me down. My faith continues to grow.
My faith in God is not a reflection of what I've done for Him. Rather, it is a reflection of my countless experiences with the living God. And after all, that is what being a Christian is all about: not a formula or a feeling, but a true experience with Jesus Christ -- an encounter with God Himself.
When I encounter God, I become aware of a problem. God commands me to be perfect, like He is, and I'm not even close. If all the things I've done wrong and all my secret thoughts were suddenly public knowledge, I couldn't bear the shame. I am fully aware that in and of myself I have no claim to be in the presence of a holy God.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Two thousand years ago, Jesus, God's own Son, lived a perfect life and pleased His Father in every way. When he sacrificed His life on the cross, He carried my guilt on His shoulders and paid the price for my sin. Every step toward God can be made only in Christ Jesus, for He is the "author and perfector" of faith (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus Christ is my salvation.
I have been blessed to be a part of many championship teams and to win numerous awards over the years. But no championship or trophy can possibly compare "to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8).
If you find yourself uncomfortable with the sin in your life and feel led to make peace with God through Jesus Christ, consider saying this simple prayer. At that moment, you'll begin your eternal walk with Christ.
Dear God, I understand that I fall way short of Your standards, I know You are perfect and I need You. Jesus, thank You for dying in my place. Please come into my heart, forgive my sins, and help me to follow You. Amen.
And by the way, Ike caught that pass. It was a touchdown.