I try to be very cautious when I give my testimony, and to not be too specific because I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. I share just enough for them to know that I overcame through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because I want Christ to be the focus and not my sin. You see part of my issue is that I was an alcoholic. I don’t share how bad of an alcoholic most times because I have noticed that alcoholics tend to brag. Once pride over sin enters into the conversation it is a lost cause, and the sin becomes the conversation. It becomes who was the bigger sinner.
Instead of discussing the deliverance of the cross the conversation deteriorates into who drank the most, or who did the most embarrassing things, and all focus on Christ is lost. Truth be told all sin comes from our selfishness and is fed by pride. Even shameful sins are fed by our lashing out to feel better about ourselves, by punishing those around us. This gives us the center of attention, even if it is in a bad way. Unfortunately we become to think of ourselves as unique in our little world. We believe that we are smarter than everyone else around us. We believe that we don’t need others, they don’t know us, and that they cannot identify with us. This twisted image makes us dependent on the sin.
I can remember, when I was drinking, that at times I was very proud of how much I could drink. Even how cruel I could be to others. I remember sometimes purposely starting fights with my wife, so that I could have an excuse to storm out and go drinking. Afterward I would feel ashamed and then would drink more to drown out the terrible feelings. I couldn’t look at my wife or my children without severe regret for the things I had done. When I looked in the mirror, it was only to ask myself what had happened to the young man I use to be. Where were all those great things I was going to do with my life? Where was the man that swore to protect the ones he loved? I began to realize that the same pride I had in those things had become twisted into my self-image from my hard headedness of holding on to my sin.
Proverbs 9:21 says, “He , that being often reproved hardenteh his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” You see I did not listen to the warnings that others were giving me in the way of life I was living. I chose to hold onto my drinking, and the underlying sin that fed it. I choose to be in rebellion. My pride had me held up for ransom. The Lord has given us plenty of warning over and over again of what this self-pride will do to us. It says, “Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.” (Proverbs 6:15).
There comes a point when everyone around us gives up and leaves us to our own destruction. God warns us that there is a penalty to pay for willful ignorance and pride. He calls it being stiff necked. Being stiff necked and prideful, resisting the truth, and choosing sin over repentance can destroy lives. Only in looking back at a wasted life of destroyed relationships, and tortured looks from loved ones can one see this truth. But there is an alternative. Take a look at the book of Ecclesiastes.
“A stubborn heart shall fare evil at the last; and he that loveth danger shall perish therein. An obstinate heart shall be laden with sorrows; and the wicked man shall heap sin upon sin. In the punishment of the proud there is not remedy; for the plant of wickedness hath taken root in him. The heart of the prudent will understand a parable; and an attentive ear is the desire of a wise man. Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sins. And he that requitech good turns is mindful of that which may come hereafter; and when he falleth, he shall find a stay.” (Ecclesiastes 3:27-31).
This is a comparison and contrast that shows there is an alternative. You can choose to live in your sin and pay the penalty of destruction, sorrow, and death. From this there is no remedy. You cannot get out of it by yourself. You have to accept the truth of your situation. A truly wise man will understand that he cannot continue in this path of self-destruction. Shame only builds more shame. Believe me please, I know. There is another way.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). What is so important about this? Take another look at Ecclesiastes above. It says that a prudent man knows that water puts our fire. Alms and atonement must be made for the sin. You see sin ultimately brings death. “Then when lust has conceived, it bringeth for sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth for death.” (James 1:15). Death will come to those who continue in their sin. Destruction that cannot be remedied will occur as a result of our rejection of this truth. You see you do not have to believe that fire will burn you if you touch it, but it will. Just the same sin will kill you. But we do have hope in Jesus Christ.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6.23). Jesus offers an alternative. In his death he paid the price for our sin. He died to pay the price of death for you. But not only that, Jesus rose again so that we might live eternally with the Father. This is a free gift, a way out of your old life. A way of atonement that has been made on your behalf, by God Himself, in Jesus Christ. “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and on the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17).
You see there is a way of hope. There is a new life. There is a way out of the shame and despair. That way is in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This is more than just a second chance. This is a new birth. Salvation is more than just being saved from hell, or self-destruction. It is a whole new life. It is becoming the child of God you were intended to be from before you were born. The Father has always wanted to hold you in his arms, he wanted you so much that he sent his son Jesus to become a man and pay the price of death for you.
All you have to do is believe that he did, and then confess it. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:9-11). The hardest part is just putting away that foolish pride. Because with pride in the way you are blinded to seeing the truth. Look in the mirror, what happened to you? Tell the truth.