I was drowning (almost literally) in a secret addiction to alcohol. Along with that indulgence came gluttony, pornography and tobacco use, all while spending hard-earned money and lying about everything.
I was raised in a Christian home and couldn’t ask for better parents, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:14). I kept feeding my flesh, thinking that it was only a matter of time before I grew up or snapped out of it, or that it would just "go away." It didn't. I had gotten to a point of immobility and was lost in my own desires. My struggles were the byproduct of years of selfishness. I knew I was not in line with Him and I knew I needed help, but my pride wouldn't allow me to come clean and seek assistance.
That all changed in August of 2013 when I began attending a recovery group and actively started pursuing my relationship with Christ.
I attended for a year and completed their 12-step program, but I was becoming frustrated with the idea of always having to attend a group in order to be successful in my recovery. I felt like I had been through the program and wanted to get back to “normal” life. In other 12-step groups there is a big emphasis on continual recovery, and they imply that without the program you will most likely fall back into old habits. While I agree consistency is important, I also believe a person can truly repent from old ways and find sufficiency and life in Christ.
That’s when I met with Dave Obwald about re:generation groups. He described the program and purpose, and it aligned with my view on the recovery process.
Through re:gen, God has shown me pride is more of an issue for me than I thought. While I believe it is possible to recover from issues and get back to a normal swing of things, I realized I will always have a need of recovery in one way or another. And by recovery, I mean a pursuit of Christ and how He can root out sin in my life.
With the tools re:gen has shown me, I am confident that I am equipped to return to “normal” life, all the while having a healthy awareness of my struggles and tendencies. Being a Christian isn't about outward deeds, behavior modification, or even having head knowledge of the Bible and the things of God. It means developing a relationship with your Creator and relying on Him for your strength, understanding, peace and contentment.
Freedom in Christ is experienced every day when I drive home from work and don’t feel the urge to buy a drink. Freedom in Christ is when I am able to use an internet-enabled device without feeling the urge to roam. Freedom in Christ is being able to have money in my pocket without spending it on indulgent amounts of food. Before my journey, these areas had strongholds on my life. I was dead to them; they were my master. That is not the case any longer.
This does not mean I’m finished. I take measures to protect myself from temptation in these areas and more, because I know I am only an arms length away from being back to my old life. Pride comes before the fall. And as God continues to point out, drinking, porn and food are not my only issues. My life will never be perfect, and my journey of pursuing Christ will never stop so long as I’m on this earth.
Because of Christ, my life today is different because I know what freedom truly means. I am no longer immobile to sin. Sin has no mastery. It does have influence, but I can say no, I can run away or I can choose something else.
If I can encourage you with one thing, I would say nothing is worth more than Christ and the freedom He has to offer. We are here to pursue a relationship with God, and my only regret is not starting my journey earlier.