Sitting at the head of the table gave me a good look at the participants in the weekly step-study. Each of these men were once little boys like your little boys, children like you were children. These little boys grew into men and through self-abuse landed here, in the safe haven called the "Hope House."
They were just wanting acceptance among their peers throughout adolescence into their teens. To get that attention required performance of the behavior and attitudes displayed by their "buds." The things that were wrong, and they knew were wrong, they did. Addictions entered stealing any resemblance of living a normal, work-a-day life, with it's rewards.
"The thief's purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." John 10:10 NLT
The thing is; the thief, (satan), doesn't walk into a life and suddenly rip it to shreds and walk away sneering, "hah, got another one!" Rather, it is subtle slithering into a person's life, slowly pointing out how that individual can have all of the kingdoms to rule. He tempts us all like he did with Jesus. He offers everything, wealth, fame, and being noticed by performing simple tasks to please him. Each little task is a step into darkness and self-delusion, in the attempt to rule over life's kingdoms.
Crime, addictions, greed, pride, all of these become ingrained in our view of self. When the unraveling comes, we see that we are stuck, wedded the cries of our flesh. The thief's payment is isolation from the desired attention, incarceration, rejection, and most often, addiction to substances that rule our life. Wanting to rule, becoming ruled.
These little boys are sitting in a place of light and opportunity. A chance to get their life together, mercy from God, displayed by the angels of "Hope House." Some change, some embrace the opportunity. As I teach this step-study from "Celebrate Recovery", I see, even for the brief moment, the light come on in their eyes. Will they abandon their need for man's attention, follow Christ the giver of real life?
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing grandchildren together at my grandson Ethan's birthday party. My gratitude to God cannot be expressed with words no matter how I try. I don't deserve that. How can I convince my children's children that the thief will show up to steal from them too?
I can tell them that Christ showed up for them to have real life, and live out this truth before their eyes. Their parents can too. You can too. Take the life He offers, reject ruling over the kingdoms in your life. He alone can make you wary of the futility of being accepted by peers, the thrill and joy being accepted in the beloved of God.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.