Last week was a wonderful Celebrate Recovery gathering. We had several visitors, all of whom said they would be back. Taco salad for dinner, mmm good stuff, worship was great, the band ushered us into the sweet presence of God. One of the band members shared a recent experience he had on the golf course while trying to qualify for the US Open. His first eight holes were terrible, he wanted to quit. As he thought it through, it became apparent he was trying to steer the ball and control the outcome. He had the idea to just walk up and do what you are supposed to do, relax, don’t quit and stop trying to control the outcome. The last ten holes he played some outstanding golf. The moral of the story is “it’s not how you start, but how you finish.
The same theme rang through the testimony of the evening. An older gentleman, (older than me anyway and that’s becoming more and more unusual these days,) was sexually abused as a child which affected him all his adult life, six marriages, five of which failed. About three years ago he came to CR, went through a 12 Step group and last night on his seventy-first birthday shared his story with our group. Mostly a sad story of many years of struggling with sexual addiction and all its ramifications and collateral damage. The carnage left behind after any sin is immense especially sexual sin. We don’t hear much about those consequences anymore which is unfortunate. It would save us and those around us much pain. The Bible says, “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” 1Cor 6:18 NLT The Message bible puts it this way, ”There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?”
Here’s the good news, the message. God has paid the ultimate price for us. He will not take it back He can’t, it’s already done, a gift from God to us. Not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but so we can live a life of abundance here on this planet. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. The wages of all sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our testimony for the evening had seventy-one years of living, three years filled with life, the last three. It is not how well you start out, but it is how you finish. It’s kind of sad that we see so many people whose lives have been basically a long train wreck, many years of grasping for fulfillment in the wrong places. But it is a glorious joy when we see how God in His incredible mercy and grace somehow takes the tangled mess, cleans it up and makes it new, even when we have sinned against our own bodies. He does this week after week at Celebrate Recovery, His love never stops. God never quits.
No matter what we have done or how long we have done it, let’s finish well.
Jim & Pam