I am a
drug addict. I am an alcoholic. I am a criminal. I am loved. I am wanted. I am a child of God. When you think of labels, do you think of what you have been, or what you are? Simply being is easy, living is the hard part. God understands that. Our identity, as explained by teaching pastor Kyle Idleman, is defined as the truest thing about ourselves. I used to think that the truest thing about me was my alcoholism, my drug addiction, my criminal behavior. And, for a long time, it was. Through His power, His grace, His glory, I am no longer that individual.
This post is not about Biblical advice. Everyone has that moment in their life when they look back and think to themselves, what if I am not doing the right thing for myself? Ask anyone, I’m sure I’ve had at least 5 of these moments. Those times when I was getting off of a bender that almost destroyed my life, or that time when I OD’ed in the library at school, those are the kind of events that people choose to label us by, and truly they are defining moments in my life.
A lot of people doubt my praise of Jesus and God, and with good reason. I used to be an Atheist as well. Of course, it helps to know exactly what an Atheist is. An Atheist is someone who denies the existence of a God or gods. Simply put, they do not have to understand or even believe in science, just not believe in a supreme being.
It all started with a few church sermons. God seems to have a way of putting people in your path at just the right time, if you allow it to happen. I attended a series of sermons that at first, seemed to assert the church’s moral beliefs, but then digressed into a wonderful and intellectual discussion about the dangers of porn, about the concept of forgiveness and mercy and finally, addiction.
These subjects touched me so deeply that I started to feel that there may just be something to this God thing. Well, a year later, I am happy to say that there is. While Danielle and I experience our own unique difficulties, and of course we all do, we are truly blessed. I no longer see myself as the drug addict, or the alcoholic, or the criminal that I once was.
If you have transformed your life, it probably didn’t happen overnight. It probably wasn’t easy. So, the next time someone reminds you of what you once were, remind them that you are no longer that individual, and that through His mercy and grace that you have been changed.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord
Acts 3:19 (NIV)
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:34-36 (NIV)