Josh Lee

by Josh Lee

I entered freshman year lonely, scared, and searching. Socially anxious and spiritually empty, I was a miserable, people-fearing freshman. I spent most of my time with J. R. Cuevas in CLICS Library, hiding from my suitemates. Christianity was my hope. But I only saw God as the means to my self-centered ends. If I was holy enough, God owed me good grades, lots of friends, social confidence, and a successful life. I quickly grew frustrated when my parachurch involvement and religious duties failed to give me what I wanted.

My sophomore year was much happier. I lived in Matthews Apartments, surrounded by a comfortable Christian bubble. I seldom felt lonely. By God’s grace, I endured my closest friend’s battle with depression. But I still struggled to study and wondered why I was living. Even surrounded by friends, life felt meaningless. I searched for a Christian ministry, book, or sermon that would forever fix my empty feeling. Though I had friends, I lacked a relationship with the most important person, Jesus Christ. I knew about Him, but I did not know Him.

On a cold, dark, May night, I sat down at a computer in the Science and Engineering wing of Geisel Library. Desperate for a spiritual solution, I hunted for answers at A MacArthur article appeared. It was on saving faith. I thought I was saved, but according to MacArthur, saving faith required a humble submission to God as well as intellectual belief in His Gospel message. Had I humbly submitted? Maybe not. But I was religious! So were the Pharisees. But admitting I was unsaved had scary consequences. What if I died right then? I would be in hell! But if I wasn’t truly saved, I’d still be going to hell. I wanted to make sure. I trusted that if God was who I thought He was, He wouldn’t let me die before saving me. It was my first act of trust. I admitted that I was not a Christian. For the first time in my life, four years after praying the sinner’s prayer, after 19 years of church attendance, after 2 years as a small group leader, after 4 quarters of parachurch involvement, after being baptized and becoming a member at LBC, I finally saw myself as a wretched sinner, rightly condemned before a holy God. I asked God to save me and started to walk home, not knowing what to do or when God would save me. Then I immediately felt intense joy, like I was shot with a missile of happiness. This sinner was finally saved!

I was extremely excited. Now I could be the super Christian I always wanted to be! Riding the spiritual high of recent conversion, I assumed everyday would be bliss. To my dismay, I still struggled in school, I was still anxious around people, and a newly regenerate conscience started to make me feel bad about my sin. Bummer. Lighthouse’s excellent preaching was largely wasted because I still wanted a transcendent spiritual experience that would perfect my sanctification and make all my problems go away.

But God is gracious, and my life slowly began to change. After my salvation I started to see God as a person with a mind and heart, rather than as a vague, impersonal force. Pink’s Attributes of God and Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy taught me more about Him, and led me to a deeper knowledge of Him. Chris Mueller’s “Aggressive Christianity” tape series (thanks Peter!) taught me that the Christian life was a progressive battle; I needed to stop looking for dramatic experiences and start growing a little every day. The way to grow in Christ-likeness was not to conjure up spiritual highs but to grow in my understanding of God’s word and to live out that understanding in everyday decisions.

By the end of my 4th year I had a grasp of what it meant to be a Christian. What is the Christian life? To love God, and love people.

Favorite place in SD: My house. Come over sometime.
What song will define this era for you: “Who I Am” by Casting Crowns. My first Sunday as a believer, they did body worship to this song. I couldn’t stop crying.
Favorite verse: Jeremiah 15:5-8
Memory of college stands out the most: Getting saved.
Advice for collegians: Cultivate a God-glorifying appreciation of academics and learning. It can be an idol, but that’s no excuse to neglect the mind. Studying can be fun! If you like learning, staying awake in class will be easier, finals week will be more bearable, and your GPA will be higher.


The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.



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