Sunday, March 12, 2017

Testimony - Deciding To Love Reality

Last week, I heard a twenty-six year old woman give her testimony, and my heart sunk down to a place where I wanted to give her peace and hope. Without even really realizing it, she had given herself to the wrong crowd as a teenager, a party crowd that unfortunately offered her a private place where she could dive into drugs and alcohol as a way to escape from reality. At first, she liked escaping from reality by smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. It seemed exciting at first, but she soon found herself reaching toward cocaine for a quick fix, and she eventually began to suffer from the side effects of trying to quit using heroin. Some people are addicted to prescriptions and anti-depressants and find themself in a similar mess. She was looking to numb herself from the pain and from the emptiness she felt on the inside. She was in denial about the trap she had placed herself in, and she didn’t know how to get out of it. Her parents had divorced when she was four years old, and ever since then, she carried a lot of hurt around wherever she went. She wanted the hurtfulness and the pain and the emptiness to go away, but she didn’t trust in the resurrecting power within her reach. Throughout her childhood and as a teenager, she said she never felt like she fit in. She didn’t like how the teachers and kids and other parents treated her like something was wrong with her as if she was never good enough.

What a mess, but the good news is that Jesus Christ is in the business of working out the messiest kind of messes.

In and out of rehab, this woman began to realize deep down inside that she never wanted to become a drug addict, but she couldn’t seem to make her life any better on her own. Try as she might, her life was not improving. She left an abusive relationship and couldn’t keep a job for long. For a long time, she tried to fool herself into thinking that she wasn’t an addict because she tried to convince herself that she could stop at any point. However, the side effects were too great and her weakness for taking drugs had taken over in her life. Her chosen lifestyle of popularity and partying had pushed her so far into a hole that she couldn’t climb out of it by herself. She was so desperate for drugs to feel better that she began to sell her body. The people she chose to hang out with were also taking drugs, which spiraled the problem even further down into a bottomless pit of destruction.

Finally, at age twenty-five, she called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to save her. And He did. She no longer surrounds herself with party people who take drugs. She no longer surrounds herself with seemingly popular people who get drunk. She now realizes that behind the popular smiles and the seemingly popular personalities are really empty shadows on the inside with meaningless goals, self-serving tactics, and shallow relationships. She no longer looks for a quick fix to feel better. She no longer sees reality as something to escape from. Rather, it is in reality where she now knows she can call upon our redeemer and savior for help. The Holy Spirit is the one who restores her life now, heals her hurt places, and teaches her the better way to live. 

She gave her testimony last week to let people know that if you or someone you know is caught up in a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol, tell them that there is a better way to live, a life of hope and love and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants you to pursue a good relationship with Him.

Also, tell them that reality is beautiful, not something to escape from. Finding the beauty in creation each day is something millions of people do on a regular basis. Even though mortals temporarily live in a fallen world, beauty can be found in reality. Giving thanks to our Creator for being intelligent and powerful and for lovingly and willingly being our redeemer is the way to make a fresh start. He is intelligent enough to help every person no matter how difficult the situation, no matter how troubling the trail. He is powerful enough to help those who are stuck in a mortal rut.

Today is the day for salvation. Call upon His name today. For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, and whosoever believes in Him will be saved. He loves human beings so much that He died to pay the penalty for all their sin. On the third day after his death, He rose from the dead. Believe in Him, and eternal life will become a reality.

The beautiful reality is that male and female human beings are wonderfully made. He made male and female human beings in His image. He made plants and animals and human beings and saw that they are all good because they can participate in His goodness. Rocks and natural things exist, but plants have more life because they live and grow and die. Animals have even more life because they live and grow and can move around on their own and die. Human beings can have even more life because they are rational creatures that can be in a loving relationship with our Creator. Believers are chosen into His kingdom when they choose Him. Believe today and see that He chooses individual human beings who receive His love. He adopts human beings into His eternal kingdom. It isn’t that individuals aren’t chosen. It’s that He is waiting for each individual to choose to love Him on a daily basis. Praise Him everyday for his open arms of love and truth and comfort. Accepted by the Creator, believers are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb who died upon the cross. Believers are forgiven and loved by God Almighty. Every day is a day to praise the Lord for his faithfulness because, even though mortals temporarily live in a fallen world, his love endures throughout all generations.

In closing, know that male and female human beings are valued by our Creator. He cares about each individual and knows everything that each person is going through because He is all-knowing. He wants each individual to participate in His goodness. He wants each individual to become more aware of His presence. Stop running from Him. Start developing a good relationship with the one who gives life everlasting. The Lord Jesus Christ is the way, and He knows the way to eternal life. Stop checking out, and start checking in to Him.

He most certainly is trustworthy, and He is the most beautiful reality mortals will ever know on this side of heaven.

Recommended song: What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong

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