2015-06-30 - In His Strength
When I became a Christian, I had a lot of sinful baggage. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, I have rid myself of much of it. Oh yes, I am still a sinner, but nothing like I used to be. The easy one, like the god of money became the God of the Bible; the wandering eye became fixed on Jesus, etc.. However, one of the hardest one for me to rid myself of, was bearing false witness, because I am a bass fisherman, and a story about catching an 8½ pound bass sounds so much better when you round it up to 10 pounds.
However, one thing that haunted me for years was the consuming of alcohol. I do not see anything sinful about drinking a beer or two; however, I would drink 18-24 at a time. I tried to quit many times on my own, but after a few days of abstinence, I always returned to it. Finally, I realized that I could not do it on my own, so I asked Him, via prayer, to remove the desire for beer from my mind, but it did not happen. This went on for two, three - maybe even four years. That is, me praying and not receiving an answer to my prayer. I would not say I gave up, but will admit that doubt began to creep in, and then I received a telephone call from my doctor. I had to go to her office for a physical the week before, and the lab report indicated that I had a problem with my liver. She told me to abstain from all forms of alcohol for a month, and then come back in for a checkup. As I hung up the phone, I immediately thought, "cirrhosis of the liver." Some cases of Cirrhosis of the liver may occur when an excessive amount of alcohol is consumed over a long period of time. This disease basically hardens the tissue of the liver, and it cannot function as it should, which could lead to death.
Did I abstain from alcohol for 31 days? Yes and I no longer crave it or drink it, and the follow up lab report gave me a clean bill of health. The actual problem was that I had an excessive amount of fatty tissue in/on my liver. How did I refrain from popping-a-top for 31 days? I did not do it by myself. I used Philippians 4:13 (KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” as my battle cry. Every time I wanted a beer I would say “No” to self, and when I weakened in my own strength (which was all of the time at the beginning) I would call on Him, and He answered every time. Was it easy? A definite no is the answer to that question. However, with Him working in me and through me, the mission was accomplished.
What did I learn from this: First of all, you have to want to quit. Then you have to realize that you cannot do it on your own. Next you have to ask Him for help through prayer, and then you wait on the Lord. I do not pretend to understand how God operates; however, in my case, maybe He made me wait because I was not ready physically or mentally to quit using alcohol? Of course, I also realized that I could have shortened the timeframe a lot, by going to Him first. Finally, you can call out to Him 24 hours a day 7 days a week, because He wants to help you. In closing, I want to say that I believe that God answers all of our prayers, if we are one of His children. I also believe that His answers are some rendition of yes, no, and wait.
In my case, it was a long wait before He answered my original prayer; however, in His perfect timing He answered my call for help.
Father: I thank you for your love, grace, and mercy and for the privilege of calling you my God and Father. I also thank you for ridding me of the desire for alcohol, years ago. And Father, the next time I have a problem, please give me the sense to come to you first, and not wait until I realize that I cannot solve the problem on my own accord. I say all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, Amen.