It has been said that the most unnatural thing for an addict or alcoholic to do, is to be sober. Not everyone subscribes to the “wired” differently theory. I do. I also subscribe to the Romans theory, which tells me I have been transformed, with my mind made new. Lil ol me got to be co-crucified, co-buried, and co-resurrected, made a new creation, with the mind of Christ, and the glory of God resting in me. Christ in me, the literal hope of glory.
Sounds good, and sounds easy enough, but it wasn’t always so “Easy.” It wasn’t easy this morning when I had a flat on one car, and a dead battery on the other. It wasn’t easy when there was pecan pie in the house last night, and it surely wasn’t easy as we buried my mother, 3 months ago, and my wife’s mother, 11 months ago. But it’s better. Because God.
I cried out to God on December 6, 2006. I was broken. Tired. Whooped. And actually, if we’re honest. I didn’t cry out to Him…He met me where I was, in the broken heap of mess. Addiction. Infidelity. Porn. Rage. Idolatry. Blasphemy. It was all present in my house. But through it all, Jesus met me where I was. Just like that verse we repeat: Father, that I would be with them where they are! And He was. He spoke…not impressed upon, or nudged, or made me feel like I should do something. Audible voice of the Lord came to me and said: This is not what I created you for. Tonight, everything changes.
And it did. But to go from my heart, to my mouth, and my behavior, took some time. There was work that God did on me. I didn’t come out of that room perfect: Changed? Yes. But perfect? No. And, I’m nowhere near that now. But something changed in my heart: He gave me a desire to purse the Holy. I wanted to be near Him. And even though I still smoked, cursed, and did other various horrible things…I wanted to be better. I wanted to be Christlike, even if my behavior didn’t display this. I sure was desperate though. Worked steps in AA, NA, Overcomers, and Celebrate Recovery. Did Disciple at the Methodist Church, too, for good measure.
So, I guess I could go on for pages and pages of my life over the last 12 years. How bad it was. How good it is. And the story between bad and good times. But instead, I’ll just say this:
I’m here because God pursued me. He put a charge in my Spirit that day, and while it burns hotter on some days than others, that fire has never gone out. Could He have delivered me and made me “Better” that day? Sure. But Holy Spirit has a path for all of us. Sometimes it’s a miracle, sometimes, it’s a chance. Sometimes it’s the 12 Steps, sometimes, it’s a community that pours its love out on someone. I did a lot of work the last 12 years. I’m still at it. And none…..literally none…of this is possible without Jesus in my life. And even if it was, as Paul says, it would be all rubbish. I’d rather die with a bottle and Jesus, than sober and without Him. That might sound offensive to some of you, and I guess I just don’t care: As Paul says, to live is Christ, to die is gain.
You might look at me, and point out that I still, as the author says so eloquently, have miles to go before I sleep…and I would say, you have no idea. I still have weight to lose. Still have some spiritual disciplines to sharpen. I don’t fast as often as I should, and I don’t read the Bible nearly enough. But I WANT to. And that’s where I’ll stop. Those people that we look down at…maybe, just maybe, they desperately love Jesus and WANT to be different, but they haven’t quite worked it out yet. Maybe that’s OBama, or maybe it’s Trump, or maybe it’s the drunk, or the fat guy, or the dude that’s struggling with same sex attraction. Whatever, and whomever…just because they haven’t transformed into John Wesley, doesn’t mean they don’t love Jesus. Maybe what you should do, Christian, is befriend that person. Speak a prophetic word that encourages them. Or, just be their friend. Because who knows? God could have a plan, that could include you, that could spark that person on to greatness in the Lord.
Here’s to 12 more years…