It’s been almost four years since my wife and I chose to pursue Christ with everything we have. We chose to give everything to Him and trust in His will and direction for our lives. This hasn’t been an easy task for either of us and it has been full of ups and downs, highs and lows. But as I’ve said before, the pursuit of Christ was never promised to be easy, only worth it.
We had tried in the past to follow Jesus. Not only as a couple, but before we were together as well. The problem was, at least for me, was that it wouldn’t last very long.
Not to say that my intentions were bad or that my heart wasn’t in the right place. It just seemed that it would only last a while before I returned to the old ways. The old ways with some new ways/habits added it always seemed.
Before I heard the true Gospel of Jesus, I smoked cigarettes and drank beer. Sure they were both in excess, but I never intended on doing drugs. I actually looked down on people that would “stoop to that level” as I saw it. After accepting Christ for the first time I was stoked, I had a true sense of freedom. I felt free even though I was in County Jail. After my release I continued to seek Jesus but
it wasn’t really a “top priority”; it was always an after thought or when I had nothing else going on. It wasn’t long before I was back in the bars and smoking the cigarettes, only this time it seemed to have increased in intensity and frequency. I was becoming worse than I was before accepting Christ. As time went by, my interest in drugs started to develop. This was new for me but it didn’t seem to bother me.
I actually reasoned with myself and came to the conclusion that it was ok. Even though not to long before I saw it as something bad and even dangerous. It wasn’t long before I was neck deep in the drug scene. Dealers became my new friends and the thought of robbing them was appeared in my thoughts on a number of occasions. As time went on, my dependence for drugs became greater than anything else, even more important than eating and sleeping. I was an addict!
How did this happen? How could this happen to me? I’ve always been strong willed and grew out of the “follower” stage years before that. I did what I wanted to, popular or not, it was always MY way. I didn’t care if I had to go alone. So how could this happen to me? This was the very reason I didn’t touch drugs before and there I sat – strung out on meth and my only concern was the next fix. Just a year before that, I was sitting in Church, sure I drank but how did I get to this?
Last night and this morning I was praying and meditating on that whole experience and God showed me something. He brought me to Luke 11:14-28. In this scripture, Jesus is talking about casting out demons; He’s not talking about the right to own a gun or even the right to defend ourselves. He’s talking about Spiritual Warfare. I would like to focus on verses 24-26 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes though arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”
The pursuit of Christ is not a game. You see I was that man that the spirits left. All the times before I would just try and cruise through life. Not giving 100% to my walk with Christ. So when the spirits from my old ways would return, they would see my life cleaned up. They would see my “house” in order. They would return with more spirits worse than them. My spiritual state would be worse than before. This would happen because I viewed it as something I didn’t have to put 100% into. Why do I need to read my Bible every day? The people I was spending most of my time with didn’t. Why do I need to change my outlook on life and happiness? I see plenty of people enjoying life and appear to be happy and they don’t seem to be pursuing Jesus?
You see I had become spiritually weak. I was living in my flesh. I was pursuing my wants and desires, not God’s wants and desires. I have learned the hard way that to truly pursue Christ puts a target on you. I used to see people and think, “They drink and party and their life doesn’t seem to be getting worse? If anything – it seems better?” Two things God showed me about that whole thought process; one is I sought after Jesus and now I became a target for the enemy, and second my focus should be on Jesus and not other people.
Being a Christ follower isn’t a game. If we don’t take it seriously, if we don’t prepare for battle every day, we won’t be ready when the spirits try to return. I pray that this helps shed some light on the struggles we face as followers of Christ. It is very important that we stay on course by staying in His Word, prayer, watching who we spend most of our time with and watching what we take in as a whole. We are in this fight together and I pray my past experiences help guide you in the right direction. If you ever need guidance, prayer or just someone to talk to, we are always available.