During that time period, when I first rededicated my life, I decided to give up some things for God. This decision was made in preparation to match the time-line of when Jesus fasted in the desert. I figured I could give up at least a few things as well.
Some of the things I gave up were tangible- alcohol and things of that nature- others were less tangible such as attempting to disregard beautiful girls and to discontinue the standard that our culture encourages- to look at girls as objects. I started off well and was strong for a few weeks. In fact, in some regard, I had never been stronger. Then there came a day when I failed myself.
A friend I hadn’t seen in a long time contacted me to hang out with him and his twin brother on their 25th birthday. They planned on going to the Scotish festival at the Queen Mary, and I joined them. Once there, I found myself in line to get alcohol. I told myself that I was only going to buy my friend a drink and I wouldn’t get one myself, but as I stood there in line, I felt myself backsliding. I was an infant in the spirit then, a little sprout I called myself, and I wasn’t then ready to express to each of these people with whom I used to partake in, drinking and carousing, that I had turned a new leaf and about the promise that I made with God in which I decided not to drink. Drinking in itself is another story, but this was my own commitment that I myself made with God. After some definite spiritual growth, my salvation seems a lot easier to explain to others, but at that moment I was caught up, and realized that I was about to fail and did come to fail myself before God. Right before I took that first drink, I prayed quietly to ask God to forgive me for not having enough self-control. I let myself down.
I didn’t drink very much that day, but what was done was done. I did realize a few important things that day, however. That night I got home and prayed to God, thanking him for his love. I could have wallowed in my failure and allowed myself to fall away from fellowship with God once again, but what I took to heart that night is that I am a sinner (period). That is not to say that I should give up my spiritual growth and battle against the flesh (at all), but that times will come when I will be weak, and during those times.. I may fail. I feel that I am now a lot stronger than when I first started, but still, there might be more trying times up ahead. And even still, it’s okay.
One of the many things that makes God so amazing is that he loves us, not for anything that we have ever done, but just because he loves us. And that’s it. We didn’t have to earn his love through piousness or through works. In fact, he loves everyone and longs for a relationship with us in spite of how dirty our decisions in life have made us. We may be ashamed of our past decisions and their affects on us, but the reality is that he still loves us all the same.
Another important thing I realized about that situation was about my identity. I began to consider what sort of identity I had and how strong that was. I realized the issue was that my identity was weak– incredibly weak. I needed to establish to everyone and make a solid commitment to Christ to say, this is who I am, and I’m proud to say so.
That night I renewed the commitment I made to God about not drinking and everything I choose to give up for a while, and started again. I’ve been through a lot of trials since then and have also gained incredible strength- the strength of God’s word which is more powerful than I’ve ever realized.