A work in progress.

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|BACKGROUND|

 

I would like to give you background information about a place called The Mission House. If I was to say that The Mission House is another AA rehab clinic, I would be lying. The Mission House is a bible based, six month, in house program, which deals with life dominating sins; anything from video game addiction, to adultery, to meth, and heroin. Most of these guys would be considered a lost cause to regular rehab clinics. I guess this is what they would call “a hard case”. The man that started the Mission House about five years ago is a man by the name of Lyle Skillman who used to be a hardcore drug addict for twenty years himself. After he went through a program similar to this one down in Georgia, he felt God laying it heavy on his heart to start one in Port Orchard, Washington. They started with a small house and then moved into a bigger one, and as of right now, they have two houses that are full and they have people from all kinds of places around the world going there. Lyle took on an intern who is an ex-graduate by the name of Kevin, who is now the director while Lyle oversees the ministry. Lyle Skillman mentored me for two years so I spent a lot of time at The Mission House attending morning devotions, teaching devotions, hanging out with the guys, being someone’s accountability or just dropping by to see what they are up too. On occasion a guy from the house will ask me if I could be his accountability and so we start meeting once a week and talk life, scripture, struggles, triumphs, and the Grace of God.

 |We are a work in progress |

 

I meet with a young man who is a couple years older than me every Wednesday from the Mission House and I will usually take him out to eat and get out of the house so that we can go do something fun. I really enjoy meeting with him because he is different from most of the guys that come through the program. Usually after meeting with someone for a couple of weeks I will give them some homework or think of a study we can do together because most of them do not know anything about Jesus coming into the program. So we were at Starbucks this last week and I usually start the conversation by saying something like, “How’s your week going?” and we’ll start talking… But this week was a little different.

He told me that he struggles with doubt, a lot.

I asked, “What exactly do you struggle with?”

He said, “My salvation, I don’t know if it’s genuine,”

I asked, “Have you prayed about it?” And his response answered his own question. He said: “I pray about it all the time. I want to do what’s right before God in my life, in my marriage, and at work. I want Him glorified in all aspects of my life”

So I asked him, “Why do you doubt your salvation then?”

He responded, “My brother is a heroin addict and he’s living with my parents at the moment. I’m graduating from the house in a month and to be honest with you, if I went over there to visit, there would be a huge chance of me doing heroin again. I am so weak, I cannot say no. If I was saved I wouldn’t have such a strong pull towards heroin. When I see myself in the future, I see myself as a heroin addict.”

I am going to stop the quotes because I cannot exactly remember what I said but it went something like this….

You have spent your entire life up until about six months ago walking the course of this world and feeding your flesh but now you are born again as a new creation in Christ and you are just now starting to crawl and already concerned about running….take a step back and just focus on learning how to stand and then it is one step at a time from there.

The Bible is full of facts; facts about Jesus and when your emotions get in the way, focus on the facts…

The moment someone is saved, the awkward dance of sanctification begins. Two steps forward…one step back…two steps forward…one step back, and so we dance….

This is were picking up your own cross DAILY and denying your fleshly impulses starts to kick in…

This is what I like to call the grind….

Let’s start with the fact that you are now struggling with wanting to honor God and not do heroin. That is a response and a conviction from the Holy Spirit. No man realizes how enslaved they are to their sin until they are rescued from it and actually start saying no to it.

The very fact that you are aware of your weakness is something to rejoice over. God has opened your eyes to your struggles, now give it over to Him in prayer and remember that where the ideal is lacking, grace will abound.

His power is perfected in your weakness.

My brother lives with my parents… Great! Now that you see your struggle, you have to put up guard rails in your life. The fear that you will fall back into heroin if you go over there is a healthy fear and most likely will happen if you do. Remember the young man who lacked sense in Proverbs 7 and was walked by the prostitutes house at twilight? He was looking for trouble, he knew she was there. Sometimes you will need to take the long way and walk around the block to get to where you need to go, but you will get there.

The whole point is not to get as close as possible to sin without sinning, but to avoid it altogether.

Tell your family that it is a red area in your life as long as your brother lives there and if they want to see you, all of you will have to meet on mutual grounds.

GET ACCOUNTABILITY in your life. Find someone your age AND someone older that has been walking with the Lord for sometime and get to know them well enough to where you can be vulnerable and open with them to which they can hold you accountable and honest with your struggle, as well as encourage and lift you up.

I’m so weak… me too. I struggle with things just like you do. So often we make everything about ourselves, I’m weak, I’m nothing, I’m a weakling. There is some humility in that, but most of the time it is just pride clothed in false humility. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU, so stop magnifying how weak you are and start magnifying how strong and great our redeemer is. God paid for your sin on the cross, your past, present, and future sin. The Holy Spirit will convict you of sin and it will not feel good, but the whole point is to repent and praise God. Thank Him for the gift he has given to us in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Magnify God; He is so much bigger than anything going on in your life.

If I was saved I wouldn’t feel such a strong pull to do drugs… who told you that? I have bad news for you; you will struggle with the desire for things from your past to some degree or another for the rest of your life. You will have seasons where you will be doing great and seasons where you are not doing great, but that does not mean you are not saved, it means that you’re not perfect.

In the future, I see myself as a heroin addict… Your future ends in everlasting communion with God for all eternity in His everlasting glory, not heroin. You are a new creation in Christ and Satan is just trying to plant seeds in your mind. In times of darkness, loneliness, depression, fear and anxiety, remember the Lord. This is where the rubber meets the road and everything you read NEEDS to be applied. It does not matter how much scripture you know, if you do not apply any of it, than all of that knowledge is useless. As a believer, you have to forget what lies behind and aggressively pursue what God has planned for you right now and the future. Focus on whatever is good, pure, holy, and above reproach. Always keep your mind on things above and let yourself be consumed with the things of eternity.

As for doubting, whether or not you are saved, if you are concerned with bringing glory to God in your life, you feel conviction in your life, you are consumed about doing what is right in the Lord’s eyes, and you are prayerfully seeking His will, I think it is safe to say you are saved…

Last but not least, stay in the word daily. Fill your head with the truths spoken to you so that there will not be any room for doubt, and meditate on those things throughout the day.

When your emotions rev up, trust in the facts.

 

“Be confident in this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” –Philippians 1:6

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