Ben’s StoryWhen I was about fourteen, I started smoking pot and drinking. It started out as very occasional use to experiment with and be accepted by my peers. Then, it turned into a habit that hooked me. I started drinking more when I was twenty-one and using some coke. At first I said I would never buy the stuff and only let people give it to me. As with the marijuana, the coke use started slowly, but over a few years it grew into a full blown habit. It messed up my life really badly. I lived the street life when I knew I didn’t have to be living like that.
When I was going to college in Florida, I left my apartment to go live in a gang house where there were shootings, and I slept on the floor with roaches crawling all over me. In the worst of my addiction, I was at the mercy of drug dealers to drive them around for my next fix. I still continued to believe Satan’s lie that sin was better than God’s goodness.
Coke opened the door for crack. Even during my coke use, I thought I would never use crack because it’s “seriously dirty.” I left the door ajar for Satan though, and crack crept in. There was a girl in my apartment complex who wanted to use crack at my place, and I was hesitant at first. I then let her. After being down on coke one day, she said I should use her crack, and I did. I got hooked on that too. As marijuana did a few years earlier, it caused me to have to leave college. I knew I needed to leave the situation in Florida so I moved back to New York and got clean for a while. Though, I didn’t truly want to leave the life that embraced sin. I went to the bars and rationalized that drinking a few beers was okay, and I got involved with a girl immorally.
I continued to leave the door open for Satan while still “knowing” the Truth of Christ. But I had never committed to living my whole life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. After breaking up with the girl, I used crack again for a while and finally after years of my mom praying for me and wanting me to go to rehab, I submitted to her and went to Transformation Life Center. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life—seriously. I finally committed to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.
Through TLC, God gave me the opportunity to actually live life again. Before TLC I was paranoid and oppressed by Satan and his demons. When the Bible mentions witchcraft in Galatians 5:19 as one of the obvious acts of the sinful nature, the Greek word used is pharmakea, from which we get our word pharmacy. I looked it up in a Bible dictionary, and it said the meaning of pharmakea was the magic arts and the use of drugs. Using drugs (even and especially marijuana), brings you into a realm of satanic influence.
Galatians 5:20 also mentions drunkenness as being sin. I needed to realize that because I have struggled with addiction, I can’t rationalize as I did before. I was wrong to think that drinking a beer or two would be okay, and that it wouldn’t lead me into the temptation to get drunk. Sometimes even though I didn’t feel drunk, I was.
What I failed to do before TLC is focus on the goodness of the Lord and on His presence. In Hebrews 12 the writer tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus Christ the author and perfector of our faith.” I grew up in a Christian home and knew the Lord before TLC, but never fully surrendered my life to Him. The Creator who wrote my genetic code is more than worthy of my obedience.
The Lord has delivered me from addiction and so much more—from Satan’s bondage and from the bondage of sin and death. Today I am free in Christ as I live in repentance and have true peace and joy. That’s more than a fact. It’s a miracle. God convicted me. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46 ESV)
I have been out of TLC for a while now, and the Lord continues to work in my life in a mighty way. I need to keep my focus on God and reject sin and temptation. God awaits us with open arms. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In Romans 6 Paul tells us that His grace, though, is not a license for us to sin.
God’s goodness is truly so much better than anything else. Our minds can’t always fathom that, but we can know that it is true. God instructs us to live a life that is built on the rock following Him, not on the sand living for our lusts and evil desires. He instructs us to repent in Mark 1:15. This means to humble ourselves before the Lord, and turn from sin to live for Him.
I’ve gotten involved with my church, Bible studies, and Campus Crusade for Christ. It’s been a lot of fun, and it is necessary to be rooted in Christ with brothers and sisters in the Lord (Hebrews 10:25). I also continue to go to TLC every Thursday night and it’s an awesome experience that truly helps my walk with the Lord.
It takes discipline and a focus on God to live for Him. It’s the life He wants for everybody, and it’s the only right way. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 1:3 says of Jesus, “All things were made through Him. Without Him nothing was made.” It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that I can live for God. I’m so thankful for the powerful, cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and that He has brought me out of darkness into His Way—the Truth.
(You can visit Tranformation Life Center on-line)