Today’s Scripture: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
The moment I got saved, the wheels immediately started spinning in my brain: “I’m saved and can’t lose it, so I can go live however I want.” Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Was I on my way to Heaven? Absolutely. Was I on my way to going there sooner than later? You have no idea.
Believe it or not, spiritually my life got worse. I partied hard. I knew there had to be at least a few verses in the Bible where God had something to say about the way I was living, and I did not want to change. There’s also a lot of verses about God chastening the ones He loves. I wasn’t even going to church or reading the Bible for myself to know what chastening was, but I knew I was experiencing it.
I continued partying harder and drinking more recklessly. I thought I had my drinking under control and told myself that everything was fine. A period went by where I wasn’t even thinking about God. I was thinking about money and how to make my contracting business better. Now that I wasn’t showing up for work every day with a hangover, I was making some decent business decisions. I thought things were under control.
Until they weren’t. On the way to work one morning, I was involved in a serious car accident. In my selfishness, I wasn’t concerned about the other person involved. I wasn’t concerned for his physical wellbeing or spiritual condition. All I could think about was, “I’m driving on a revoked license. I’m going to prison.”
Afterwards, it haunted me that in that moment, all I could think about was myself. I didn’t take thirty seconds to share the Gospel with the other person. I was too worried about my own problems, and he most likely went into an eternity without God.
God used this moment in my life. I wish I could say that there was a big miraculous change. Slowly, I began to attend the occasional Sunday morning church service. I discovered that the more I went, the less of a temptation alcohol became. It really scared me because I couldn’t even pretend to know what it would be like to not want to drink or die anymore or not be constantly miserable.
Through a lot of prayer and patience on the part of my pastor and church family, I continued to grow in the Lord, and eventually I began to realize that God was calling me to go to Bible College. I moved 600 miles south to the Chicago area and attended Dayspring Bible College & Seminary, where I met my future wife, Erin. Eventually, Dr. James Scudder, Sr., asked me to head up the Addictions Program at Quentin Road Baptist Church.
Today, it is so humbling to look back on my life and see what God has done. I cringe when I see the hurt and damage that alcohol inflicted on my life and the lives of those dear to me. Now, I am blessed to come alongside those who are walking that same path of addiction and extend the love of Christ that was shown to me so many years ago.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Boyce