I Tried to Clean up My Life before Coming to God,
But He Wanted Me just as I Was
I never realized how damaging addictions could be. I thought I had them under control, but they actually were controlling me, and destroying my family. I am so glad to be free finally, but the path was hard and humbling. Here’s my story.
When I was 19 my girlfriend, Stephanie, and I moved in together. We had known each other since we were young teenagers. I spent the next few years “clubbing” with friends and experimenting with drugs, drinking, and smoking.
“I thought I was enjoying this wild life, but Stephanie was not.”
She wanted out. After living together four years and having a couple of children, we split up for a year and a half. During that time apart, Stephanie received some literature on her door from Lehigh Valley Baptist Church and decided to visit, and then started to attend on a regular basis. The longer we were apart the more my heart ached to be back with Stephanie and the kids and be reunited. I started coming to church with her just to be with her. But while at church I began listening to the preaching about salvation and the need to get saved. I wanted that, but felt that I needed to clean up my life first.
“I had too many bad habits and addictions in my life for God to accept me.”
Stephanie began doing a Bible study with a lady at church and really enjoyed it, so I agreed to do a Bible study with one of the men as it couldn’t hurt me to learn the Bible better! I did the first two lessons, but found excuses to delay the third. Then before the last study I went out drinking and ended up flipping my truck resulting in a bad road rash on my arm and a fire in the truck. That got my attention! Once I got wrapped up I wanted to do that last Bible study, and at the end I got saved! That was August 10, 2008. For the first time I understood that salvation involves repentance, which is hating my sin and desiring to change.
“But God invites sinners to come just as they are, and HE does the changing – from the inside out.”
Those changes for me began that very day. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that“if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” Very shortly after I got saved, Stephanie and I went to the justice of the peace and got officially married. My desire for alcohol was taken away immediately. But there were other addictions that hung on and were more of a struggle. God deals with one area at a time, though, and gives victory. Smoking was hard to give up and I battled that for a few years. Another strong addiction was marijuana – I had smoked that since I was 13 and convinced myself that it was “medicinal” and helped me relax and function better. God finally convinced me that I was deceiving myself and He wanted me to get victory over this final addiction. Since that day, our marriage has been strengthened even more and my whole life has really turned around, Praise God! I am learning more all the time about how to be the spiritual leader in my family and am excited about what God is teaching me.
What about you? Are you wrestling with some addiction like I was? Is your life falling apart or meaningless? Is God trying to get your attention? He is inviting you to come to Him just as you are, repent of your sins, and trust Him to be your Lord and Savior!