Growing up in a very poor and dysfunctional family, fighting was a way of life. It’s how we survived. I watched my parents fight with each other over my father’s drug habit. I watched them fight with landlords and other bill collectors. I watched my Dad fight to earn a living by stealing. I watched my mother fight to receive every government handout imaginable. I even watched her fight back the tears when she would beg for money outside our local grocery store to put food in our stomachs.
Us kids would fight amongst ourselves while trying to make sense of it all. I would fight to pretend that I was no different than everyone else in school. I fought to find ways out of poverty. I fought to escape the shame I felt towards my family and my upbringing. Intentionally or not, I was raised to be a fighter.
Then I was introduced to drugs and for a very brief moment, the fight felt easier.
Drugs altered my reality and I began fighting to stay in that drug-induced state of mind. I fought that fight for nearly fifteen years. I fought through addiction, death, jails, prisons, and rehabilitation programs. And finally, when I felt like I had no more fight in me, I lifted up my hands and I surrendered.
I surrendered to the promptings of my heart assuring me that God was real and I discovered He had been waiting for me to surrender to Him my whole life. He revealed to me in a very intimate way that I am God’s poema, His masterpiece, and that He has created me anew in Christ Jesus so that I can do the good things He planned for me long ago.
At first, for someone like me, it was difficult to comprehend. What good things could I possibly do for God? But over the course of the next thirteen years, God would slowly but surely reveal to me that what the devil intended for evil, He would use for good.
He showed me I had been fighting the wrong fight.
For the first thirty years of my life, everything revolved around me. I had a victim mentality. I was good at fighting for what I thought I should fight for. However, according to Ephesians 6:12, as His child, God has equipped me not to fight against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. This truth totally changed my mentality and my outlook on life.
I realized that what I thought I was fighting in the physical and emotional realms, was actually a battle to be won in the spiritual realm.
I am still a fighter. However, God has raised me up to fight the good fight of faith and to take hold of the eternal life to which I was called.
Today I choose to fight for lost souls behind bars. Today I choose to give it my all for those who are struggling with addictions. Today I choose to use my story to point all people to the freedom that comes with being in a relationship with Jesus Christ. There has to be a fight in you to stay the course, walk the narrow road for Jesus, and take people with you.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, I pray you find Jesus. And I pray you stay the course, walk that road, and learn to boldly use the weapons of our warfare, endowed to us as children of the Most High God.