Everyone Has a Struggle and a Story
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. Galatians 5:19
Occasionally, someone who knows my story, tells me that they’re a little jealous of my story. I wish I had an addiction. They don’t truly want to become addicted to drugs, but still, they wish they had some dramatic life transformation to tell others about. With no interesting life struggle, they feel their story is boring.
I get it. I once felt that way. I grew up in a Christian home and was a pretty good guy. Before my drug addiction, I didn’t have an interesting story. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any struggles though. It was that I hadn’t allowed God to touch them. So, it was true that I didn’t have any significant transformation to talk about, but that wasn’t because I didn’t need to change. I’d just not yet allowed change to happen yet.
In today’s passage, Paul explained that we all have some self-destructive desires or tendencies which stand in opposition to a healthy spiritual life, preventing us from becoming who we’re meant to be. In describing what he calls the works of the flesh, Paul listed several toxic behaviors, including some that sound awful, like sorcery and orgies. We may not struggle with those things, but right alongside those transgressions, he lists much more common things like anger, envy, intoxication, lust, and enmity.
We’ve all got some struggle that prevents us from living the spiritual life for which we were made. Some of those struggles are obvious with obvious consequences (drug addiction). Some struggles though, are much more inconspicuous (lust and resentments). In the end though, anything that causes us to follow our way instead of God’s way has the same ultimate consequence – turning us away from God.
Even now, in recovery, though I’m sober, that doesn’t mean my transformation story is complete. Like everyone else, I still have struggles and so, daily, I must continue to admit and address those struggles. The worst struggle may be the one that I refuse to recognize and which keeps me from becoming who I’m supposed to be.
We all have some struggle, and we all have some story. If we allow God to transform us, we can use our story to help others who’ve struggled as we have. If you’ve struggled with it, so has someone else. If you’re willing, God can change you and use your story to change others.