...the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
.. at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them ... when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible.
In my teens
In my teens, I often heard it said, "Nothing good happens after dark."
I know from having been at many clubs after dark, those words rang true.
But darkness doesn't necessarily mean night.
Darkness can exist in broad daylight, in secret.
"It is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret." (Eph 5:12)
Abuse victims often fall into the trap of self-hate.
The stripping away of innocence leaves one feeling an unwanted vulnerability.
That can lead to extreme insecurity.
Insecurity leads to self-hate.
Many deal with self-hate through addictive behaviors.
I fell into this trap.
Because of the abuse I suffered, I tried to find people who liked and affirmed me.
In high school, I struggled to fit in.
In my desire to be accepted, I made bad choices.
One bad choice led to another and to another.
I started going to dance clubs.
Soon I started smoking and drinking.
It wasn't long before those things became my crutch, my go-to when I needed relief.
If stress set in, or abuse happened at home, a cigarette or a drink would help.
But that momentary relief led to addictions which kept me in darkness.
Soon, I began hiding my addictive behaviors.
I didn't want my parents or friends at church to know.
I was one person in the darkness and another in the light.
My sin became a secret.
My grandfather and uncle were both alcoholics.
I don't doubt that my struggle is in my genetics.
Because of my battle with self-hate and addictive behaviors, I have to stay far, far away.
I can't even approach the door of darkness.
I can take NO part in the unfruitful works of darkness.
Instead, as I choose to expose the works of darkness that seek to destroy me,
I find greater freedom!
I can't recall how many times I broke a pack of cigarettes, only to go buy another one.
My marriage brought about a necessary accountability to help me find strength.
I haven't smoked a cigarette in over 17 years.
Until recently, a glass of wine, or 1/2 a beer with pizza was normal in our home.
Steve always knew when I was drinking alcohol.
But if I dared drink alone, in secret ...
because of my battle against the works of darkness ...
even one glass could lead to many, taking me down a road I did not want to go.
So, I choose to expose this battle.
I do not drink, not even one sip.
One sip can lead to one glass, and one glass can lead to one bottle.
Addiction is destructive. Period.
No matter the hardships I face, it is to the cross I must go.
It's in my Father's lap I must find myself.
It is in the exposing of darkness that I can walk in the light.
As I walk in light, my life brings glory to the One who made me.
What is the chief end of man?
Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.