God's Timing and Transition

  

By Gina Harris

Introduction

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert...and after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace...will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." 1 Peter 5:8, 10

When being released from prison or jail or even a community house, you will endeavor to start a new life in Christ. And that means doing things differently than what you did in the past. There's an old saying, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you keep getting what you get."

This study deals with applying biblical principles regarding God's timing and plan for your life after drugs. Specifically, some God-inspired coaching on the do's and don'ts when being released from an institution or a community house.

Attend Pure Word meetings weekly

There is a Pure Word meeting every Thursday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Calvary Chapel Boise and there are various principle study groups during the week at various places.

Going regularly to a Pure Word meeting helps tremendously with changing your old way of thinking. Our old way of thinking is very dangerous for us because that is what started the sin and fear that held us in bondage. The only thing that is cunning, baffling, and powerful is the devil. And he will have you believe that you have a disease.

"Our meetings consist of continuing steadfastly in God's Word, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer for one another. And the truth of God's Word, the Bible, is the ultimate authority for the existence and activities of Pure Word Ministries." (From the Pure Word preamble.)

It has taken me two full years of attending Pure Word meetings to understand what God wants of me and for Him to renew my mind so that I think about the things that are pleasing to God and what He would have me do. I also have learned to take time to pray everyday, be in God's Word, and study and learn it so that I have no doubts about His will for me. I didn't know much about the Bible before I came to Pure Word. Now I have come to a place where I need it. It's what makes sense to me when the worldly things try to suck me back in. The Word and Pure Word meetings are my safe haven.

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42

Be grateful for where you are right now

God has chosen you for salvation so He has not forgotten about you. Remember, your sober life in Christ is a journey, not a destination. So thank Him each day for where you are now, because in His infinite wisdom, He knows what is best for you. Many times you don't understand what is happening and why. I have discovered that sometimes God says it's none of my business to know right now. All I have to do is stay on the narrow path and He will move in my life when things are right. Once I learned this (and it wasn't easy), most of the anxiety in my life slipped away. How can I worry about things when The Perfect One is in control of my life and knows exactly what He is doing and it will be for my ultimate good? I try not to give "things" the power they once had in my life. I trust Jesus completely. The worst thing you can do is "jump the gun" because you're tired of waiting on God or God isn't doing exactly what you have requested. Our Lord Jesus is not a vending machine that spits out our requests on demand. Again, just be grateful for where you are right now.

"Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Be patient, all in God's time

This ties in with being grateful for where you are right now. I know you want to have your life back to where it was before you became captive in a life of sin. Maybe you lost good jobs, cars, houses, things, etc. God promises to restore the things that the devil has destroyed. But it will be in His time. Principle 3 states, "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care God through Jesus Christ." If you really mean this, then you want what Jesus wants for you and when He wants it for you. You can't go off half-cocked and get in His way when He is preparing things for you. Trust me, if you move too fast and without God's blessing, you're headed for a train wreck and you will most likely be overwhelmed.

You can know God's will for your life by reading the Word and praying for His will daily. God will reveal the things you need to know and do in His time. You will see that the evidence of your surrender is the manifested willingness to go to the Lord. You don't turn to other things this time, you turn to Him. The life of Jesus was a life of attraction rather than promotion. The benefits He showers you with after you surrender will be nothing short of phenomenal. He tells us that His way of life is not a burden to follow or imitate and that you will find rest for our souls. What a Promise!

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon and learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Evidence of our free will is listed in Proverbs 16:1-3 The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. God tells us that we are free to plan our way, but our answers come from Him. It also shows that until we are delivered from self, all our ways are right in our own understanding. The Lord has to weigh our spirit; He has to search us and be allowed to lead and convict us. He is the only one who can make us committed, steadfast, consistent, and sufficient. After this, we operate in the mind of Christ and our minds are renewed and transformed. We are then enabled to perform the will of God in and through our lives.

Jesus tells us that belief in Him affects our conscience and our actions to the point we are able to entrust Him with our very lives. Faith in Him changes our knowledge and understanding of Him. It suddenly helps us see and understand the things that are unseen and helps us to let go of the things we see and value. We have change in the perspective of our reality, values of treasures, and those things we count as important.

"That the god of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling , what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:17-18

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up or yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Restoration

Principle 2 states "We came to believe God through Jesus Christ alone can restore us to soundness of mind and newness of life." This principle talks about our coming to believe that we can have a right relationship with God the Father. The question you may ask yourselves is, "Will God really work in my life if I do believe?" The answer is definitely "yes"–He is only waiting for us to give Him the opportunity. This principle also helps us to better understand and believe that Jesus has provided us a way to have this relationship with God and ALL the benefits that result from it.

God also promises to restore everything that the devil took from us fully and completely if only we will turn Him. (Remember, though–in His time.)

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame." Joel 2:25-26

Get a discipler

Disciplers are available through Pure Word only if you make your request known. He/She can help you to learn obedience in Jesus rather than leaning to a desire- and feelings-oriented life. A discipler will help bring about effective personality and behavioral change. The process in which this goal is reached is to confront, comfort, and teach biblical principles. He/She can give you encouragement and equip you to become God dependent for all of life's issues. A discipler will be meet with you one-on-one (of your own gender) to discuss concerns and problems and to help keep you focused when life gets to be overwhelming. Remember, this is a new concept for you: relying on our Lord Jesus in all your affairs (He uses all kinds of people to accomplish His goals). Your old way of self-sufficiency won't work for you anymore. So lean on a fellow Christian for discipling.

"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another is psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 3:16

Change associations

I don't care how good of a friend you had when you were using, you cannot go back to old associations that are still using and drinking. You might think they will respect your sobriety but the devil doesn't, and this would be a wonderful opportunity for him to seduce you into thinking "you can handle the situation." Don't Go There!

"Do not be deceived. Evil company corrupts good habits." 1 Corinthians 15:33

Get Into service/helping others

Now that you're a part of our Lord's army, you have to act like it. Never again can you sit idly by wondering what to do. Our walk with Christ requires that we serve others and place ourselves third on the priority list with Jesus first, others second. Start easily, volunteer at Pure Word (they always need volunteers), help in the nursery, be a greeter/user. Jesus loves the Privates as much as he loves the Generals so you don't have to be an Elder of the Church or a Pastor to accomplish God's purpose for you. The point is be a DOER of God's Word. The more you receive from Him, the more you will desire to give of yourself in His name. God will bless your socks off when you are doing the right thing for the right reasons, especially when you can get outside of yourself and help others (Christians and non-Christians alike) with no expectations of anything in return. Your life will be a glowing example of sobriety as God meant it to be. People will listen to your actions more than your words!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12

Be responsible, practical, and sensible

The Lord expects you to use the brain that He gave you. Don't sit around waiting for this supernatural thing to happen to you before you start doing. Read God's Word and put into action the things that are written in it. That is where you will find God's will for your life. And as you grow in your walk with the Lord, He will reveal more and more to you and you will spend more time with Him each day talking things out with Him. Let Him know you trust Him completely and that you do not always understand why things are happening. Nothing happens without His permission. So buck up when something bad happens, and see what the Lord possibly wants you to learn from this experience.

Below is a list of do's and don'ts that would fall into the theme of our study. The list is not all-inclusive but just pointers that may help you to avoid the conventional pitfalls.

DO get up and go to work everyday. Don't call in sick unless you are sick.

DO work as though the Lord is your boss even if your job is boring and mundane.

DON'T spend more money that you make.

DON'T take things that don't belong to you, no matter how small.

DO exactly what your PO and other authority figures tell you. DON'T fight them. DO be a conformist.

DO be humble. Fall away from the pride and arrogance of your old life.

DO get into service. DO something nice for somebody – somewhere.

DON'T whine, grumble, or complain.

DON'T get burdened with too much on your plate.

DO what you say you're going to do. DO be dependable. DO let your yes be yes and your no be no.

DON'T be in such a hurry all the time. Slow down, take a breath, say a quick prayer, and move on.

DO be honest and forthright in all your affairs.

DO be a witness for Christ. Tell what HE has done in your life!

DON'T pout or sulk when you don't get your way.

DO pray for others all the time.

DO look for and find the joy in your heart that the Lord meant for you to have right now on this earth.

DON'T take yourself so seriously!!!!!!