So, 13 years ago, Lent, I chose to give us cigarettes (19 years), alcohol (19 years), weed (15ish years). I thought if I could do it for 40 days, that would be a good start, and I may be home free. This was part of my desire to really be repentant though – I think I had been baptized earlier that year and thought to see if I might go back to weed again, if God would still love me, but everything in me told me not to, but I did instead – only because when I voiced it one day, the weed showed up another, and I decided to go for it. What a horrible move! I think I started on everything again, too. Well, all hell broke loose after that time in many awful ways, I got boils on my face, a first, my brother and I had the worst fights of our life – we weren’t prone to fighting, and it was awful! And, a terror stuck through my house that I will not go into.
While at a friend’s house “partying” one night as my norm, I inquired as to what lent was. When he told me, I thought I could certainly use that – being repentant. I had been really “bad” lately, and I needed to do that.
I gave up everything. The first two weeks were a bear, but I made it through and made it through to the 40 days. I thought if went back after that, I was an idiot. I’d already been baptized, and had long striven to be free of drugs, alcohol and smokes, everything, and, lent proved my way out of that mess again, and I desperately needed it.
I stayed clean and free of that.
I used to go to AA on and off, but I guess in my heart never felt like an alcoholic though I drank like one most times. My thinking – it was a bad habit, and yes, it was. My belief too was this was between me and God. If I could get that worked out, and believe He really loved me, I wouldn’t need to drink, nor would I need AA. Something like that.
At any rate, I never went back to AA, and though in the past 13 years I have had 6 drinks on 4 different occasions, I am free.
Grace Permanently Changes Us
What I have come to know is that the grace of God is what changes us permanently. Now, he will give us over to our ways, if we choose to persist in those as referenced in Romans 1:24, but I fought for so long to be free, and I am. There was such a desire in me to be pure, yet I had lived in bondage for so long that it was tremendously hard to stay free for any length of time – I always knew I would go back because mentally I hadn’t worked out my issues, even with years of sobriety at different times. However, once we are free, we are free indeed!
Jesus Christ came as grace and truth, John 1;17. I had my aunt say some years back, “There but the grace of God go I.” I never understood that statement truly when I heard it in AA, but knowing what I did then, and having experienced his freeing grace in other circumstances in my life, I knew what it meant, finally, that day it came from her lips.
Living the Resurrected Life – Glory to Glory
So, Easter Sunday – the Resurrection. The old man is gone, all things have been made new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 more fully reads: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
I feel the reason I don’t go back to my old ways, other than they are death, and I lived the terror they ushered in after I went back, is because I have experienced the resurrection life since then.
I’ve often wonder why people lose their faith, and figured it must be because they never really gave God a real shot – they never had the really hard trials of life and got to the other side where they knew it was the hand of God that got them there.
That is what I believe keeps me believing. I trusted in the hard times. I sought God. I did my part. God presented Himself as real to me. I have stayed a believer because of these many trials that have showed me God – where God let me find Him. “Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find.” Matthew 7:7.
My point in telling you all of this today – just to give a shout of to the Lord – to Jesus, the savior of my life. He is real. God is real. They are here for us – Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly.
I thought this morning also about this limitation I feel in myself, and from where it’s come. I’m not speaking of it here today because I have only just realized it, but I know that it’s just another level, another hump I give to God now that I’ve recognized it – to lay at the cross, and to be an overcomer even of it to usher in the next level of glory. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:8. Keeping my eyes focused on Jesus, not myself, will usher in with the Spirit of the Lord, to the next level of glory in my life.
As I wrap myself as a cocoon in the word of the Lord to transform my mind, and body during this next season of my life, I trust I will transform again to the next glorified state to come. I feel this so completely right now.
So, my friends, embrace the resurrected life – usher in the Spirit of the Lord – the risen Christ had died for us and been raised that we might live fully these beautiful, wonderful lives we’ve been given.
Happy Easter. May you come to know the risen Christ in your life and your family’s. The old things are gone, behold, all things have been made new!
Thank you for reading. May you become one in the risen Christ.