David Upton was into alcohol, drugs, and gay sex for 27 years, until he met Jesus
David Upton lived the life he wanted. He was heavy into alcohol, drugs and fed his same-sex attraction (SSA) through sexual relationships with men. His life began to change as he went to a funeral, where he realized the one inside the casket should have been him.
David Upton grew up going to church. Turning to his teens, his parent began to have problems that led to a divorce. When his mom remarried, they started going to church again, but it was superficial to him.
“One Sunday, I was moved by feelings and by the music… I went down in front for the altar call. I didn’t really know what I was doing or understand what was really taking place…,” recalls David.
Praying the sinner’s prayers, that’s it?
He was told to accept Jesus into his heart and say, “sinner’s prayer.” In his mind, “Is that all there is to it?” The next thing he knew, people in the church were clapping for him and his friends who became a “Christians.” Everyone congratulated them for being saved.
He was baptized two weeks after but never really understood the “doctrine of grace and mercy.” As a result, David lived a fake Christian life.
At 16 years old, he remembers coming to church but having sinful thoughts about other guys. Pretty soon, he met someone and experienced same-sex for the first time. Naturally, he felt shame. He knew it was in but couldn’t help it.
Kicked out of the house
Eventually, guilt dissipated, and the homosexual lifestyle became natural to him. Getting a job for the first time didn’t help either. With a little independence, he became rebellious and turned to drugs and alcohol.
“I wanted to try to do as much as I could as a teenager and live as much as I could and rebel against my parents.” Soon enough, his parents kicked him out of the house. “It was hard trying to live on my own.” He thought joining the Navy would make a difference.
His dream, becoming a sailor
He shipped out to boot camp, and that is when his gay lifestyle really took off. He felt independent and explored California to delve into all kinds of sins. He ended up in a hospital because of drug abuse.
At that time, being gay in the Navy was taboo, and as a result of the stupid things he did, his Navy career disintegrated. He still had gay friends who were returning to Canada. He followed them without his parents knowing. He didn’t care if they’d thought he was dead.
There was nothing much to do with the kind of friends he had except drink, do drugs, and party. Young, handsome, and promising in his early 20s, depression sank.
One day, David was out on a balcony. He was so tired of life and disgusted with himself. He got up to the ledge, and as he was about to jump, a thought suddenly came over. “There’s always hope in God!”
Immediately, he realized that what he was about to do was wrong and even more stupid. He couldn’t dishonor his parents this way. He backed away as he cried and left the party without seeing any of his friends there ever again.
There’s always hope in God!
The prodigal son returns to Texas
Upton continued to live the life of a loser and realized there was nothing for him in Canada. He had no choice but to return home to Texas after getting caught working illegally.
It felt good coming back, but alcohol and drugs got the better of him. He and his partner decided to move back to California, where he got a decent job.
Still in the same bad habit, “I did all kinds of things I hadn’t done before, I continued to decline in my sin and do more grievous things… If I could just try these other things, I would be happy,” or so he thought.
Worst case of double pnemonia
He was never at peace. Guilt and anxiety filled his heart and mind. He became so sick with drugs and alcohol, dehydration set in. He spent New Year’s Eve in the hospital. He was released days after, but his pneumonia caught up with him.
Back at the hospital, the Doctor said he had the worst case of double pneumonia. David was massively dehydrated and could have died hours ago.
As he lay in the hospital, his heart filled with gratefulness. At the same time, he was thinking about sex that he’s eager to go back to once he’s well. After recovery, he was back at it again.
Are you really a Christian?
A friend asked if he was a Christian, and he said, “Oh yeah, I’m a Christian. I’ve been since I was sixteen years old.” Then he asked what his conversion story was, and Upton had no words.
His Christian friend knew he was gay and tried to tell him it wasn’t right for him to live a sinful life. Upton couldn’t understand what he was saying; he was blinded by the devil.
Afterward, he started listening to Todd Friel on the radio, who talked about how many people disregard the Scriptures. Friel got him thinking, “I really didn’t have a high opinion of Scripture; I cherry-picked what I wanted to believe out of it…”
“I wanted to believe I was a child of God, but yet I lived a lifestyle that is completely contrary to what He asked. I broke pretty much every sin there was. I had stolen, I had lied, probably told fifty lies every day, and it never bothered me…
“I did drugs; I lusted, I fornicated, I did all these things that were contrary to what a true Christian should do,” David said.
Reading the Bible for answers
David began reading scriptures and realized how holy God is, that it’s only Christ’s righteousness that will save us from that damnation. As he compared his lifestyle to what the Bible said, his partner scorned his growing faith.
He realized that sin separates us from God. Each sin dooms us to an eternity in hell because God is Holy and Just.
“I started praying to the Lord to please have mercy and show me the truth and show me how to live for Him.” Days after, he began to abhor drinking and doing drugs. He stopped smoking pot and his mind sober where he could process and believe God’s truths.
His eyes were opened wide, and he decided to move back to his mom and sister in Texas. Still, his homosexual desires never left him. From September to December 2008, he cried out for the Lord to save him.
What going to funeral did for him
His cousin’s wife died, and he had to go to her funeral in Amarillo, Texas. The night before, he watched a sermon by Paul Washer titled “Shocking Youth Message.”
In the video, Paul talked about how it didn’t matter that we’ve sinned. Jesus died for our sins, and immediately, David had a clear picture of what Christ did and who He is.
David Upton cried out for God to save him that night
“Up until this time, I never really understood what real repentance was, that it was a turning away from your sin, that it was more than just saying you’re sorry,” he said.
At the funeral, the next day, the last will of his cousin who died was for the Gospel preached at her wake. As the message was preached, Upton realized it could have been him who lay dead inside the casket. Worse, he knew he was headed for hell if he died.
Later that night, he got down on the floor and confessed every sin he could remember
Although David really didn’t believe God could help him overcome his homosexuality, he said to God, “Lord, I’m going to jump into this with faith in You.”
“I confessed my homosexuality, all my sins against God, all the ones I could think of, everything. And I asked Him to forgive me for them and to help me. I asked for Him to forgive me for the secret sins, the ones I couldn’t even think of at the time,” he said, alone in his room.
He went to bed that night not knowing if he was saved.
Something changed the next day
The next morning, he felt different. As if some dark cloak was lifted. He felt no shame or guilt. “I knew something was different inside of me, but still, a part of me didn’t believe that I could be saved from homosexuality. I still went on, and I doubted the Lord.”
Afterwards, he read the following passage:
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.” I said, “I confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
That moment, he realized he had truly repented after confessing everything to God. A year and a half later, he felt his gay desires melt away. “God has given me a new heart with new desires…”
The love of God compels David to share God’s words to those struggling with SSA
David is no longer afraid of what the future holds for him. God is in full control. “I know that Jesus Christ has saved me from the power of sin, and He can save you too.”
He pleads to those living a sinful life, “Please consider turning your life over to Christ. Surrender to Christ. Fall at the cross and surrender all your sins… Christ can set you free.“
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“…do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.“
1 Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
In 2010, David told his testimony on a Heart’s Cry video, he was 44 years old at that time. Today, Upton is active in church, helping others overcome their sin, fear, and struggles.