The Transforming Power of ChristI have a wonderful Christian brother who was what the Bible would label as a drunk–he used both alcohol and drugs to satisfy his desire for something more. What he was then, is not what he is now, and what he is now, is not what he will be. However, the story begins with what he once was–from sinner to a new believer. He came to a place called the Christian Discipleship Center many years ago. As he was learning what it was to be a Christian, the Lord showed him something wonderful. On a weekend trip to Telluride (a very picturesque place in Colorado), the group he was with was taken to a mountain area where they climbed to a waterfall. As he began his climb, he turned around and looked back to see a beauty he had never seen before; he was awestruck. “One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple.” (Psalms 27:4 NASB) He continued his climb and at another resting place, he looked back and saw a different kind of beauty because he was at a different level; again he was awestruck. “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.” (Psalms 50:2 NASB) As he continued to an old abandoned mine area, he looked back and started weeping. For the first time in his life, he saw the beauty of God’s creation–and he was sober. His mind was clear and God’s glory was magnified in his mind and in his life. “Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary… Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy. (Psalms 96:6, 11-12 NASB) When they reached the waterfall, they went behind it and felt the cool, refreshing mist all around them. It reminded him of how God cools and refreshes a person when He becomes Lord of that person’s life. “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19 NASB) You see, God shows us His power and magnificence in the things around us. He wants us to be captivated by His beauty which we get to see only a small part in His creation. It is in that captivation, when we call upon the Lord in faith, that we are changed back to His image. We are then recreated into something that others are left wondering what happened to the person that used to be. No longer are we what we once were, but we are something new in the here and now, and we are moving to glory to be something even better… kind of like looking back over God’s creation at different levels of our spiritual lives and seeing the different kind of beauty He displays at each resting place. With each new level, the Lord gives us new insights and understandings and we get to see the beauty that comes with each. We have an amazing God who delivers us from evil if we will allow Him to do so. The first step is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who, as God in the Flesh, dwelt among His people to show us how to have a life of abundance. He was crucified and left for dead, but three days later, Christ rose from the dead and now sits in Heaven as our High Priest who truly understands what we go through each and every day. He gives us the power, through His Holy Spirit, to overcome the sin nature–like drinking or drugging–and to be free from the bondage that we chose when we did the very thing that we no longer want to do. In that freedom, we have the ability to walk away and live a life of abundance in Christ. We have the security of knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that He is faithful even when we are not. If you have a drinking, drug, gambling, or pornography addiction or any other thing in which you feel an irresistible pull, you are not bound by a disease, you do not have to be stuck in a life of addiction, but you are bound by the choices you make. You can choose to be free from the chains of the addiction by allowing the Lord to come into your life, through faith, and learning how He provides a way of escape from death into life.
As you change, you become a living example of Christ’s redemptive power, and that is only one part of The Transforming Power of Christ: What I once was is not what I am, and what I am is not what I will be.(Submitted by Cord Cochran, Men’s Ministries Director – City Union Mission)