Philippians 3:13 – Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead
I remember the old days.
I wasn’t very religious. Quite the contrary, I was as carnal as the rest of the world.
I was married to a woman I met in college and we had 2 children. I was at the top of my professional game.
I had a salary well into the 6-figures.
We had just built a home on 6 acres.
We were traveling all around the world, taking cruises, eating in the best restaurants.
I enjoyed life.
I thought life was good.
But it wasn’t.
And I didn’t know that.
Underneath my prideful naivete was a seedy underworld that I didn’t realize existed.
Slowly but surely life started to unwind.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
First, there were physical ailments, first my wife, then myself, then my children.
Next my job started to suffer. By the end of 2008 I was award-winning and on top of the world professionally. But then I started making mistakes. Major ones. Those mistakes led to write-ups and less opportunities for me to grow.
Finally, my wife and I had major issues. Because of the states of both of our hearts, we were unable to get past it.
I was angry!
I hated what everyone did to me.
Little did I know that my own actions had a lot to do with my downfall.
During the divorce, I tried every outlet I could think of that would bring me satisfaction. I tried pouring myself into my work, only to realize that it made me dislike my job more. I started secluding myself from others. I spent a lot of time online. It started with video games and eventually moved into pornography (no, there is not a relationship between the two, it was done out of boredom, anger, and pride).
I was cut off, and I did it to myself.
All because of anger.
I was at my lowest point. I was about to move out and live on my own. My job situation was shaky at best. My income was no longer in the 6-figures and I was looking at $1300/month in child support. I had no clue how to move forward.
All I knew is that I was tired of being angry.
Sick of it, in fact.
When I moved out I spent the first couple weeks in prayer and fasting. I hadn’t fasted in almost ever, unless I was getting blood drawn. And prayer, it was relegated to “bless the fries, bless the meat, ok Lord, let’s eat.”
But this time I was serious about it. I had no furniture. I had no bed. I had no WiFi. No usable computer. No TV.
I had my Bible and some cases of bottled water.
I prayed and fasted for the first time ever. When I was done praying, I would sleep. When I woke up, I would start up again.
This went on for almost 2 weeks.
Many who know me know that story.
But it is the next part of the story that most people don’t know.
My anger was turned into passion.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Not the passion that the world is used to. Not a sexual, carnal passion.
My anger was turned into a passion to get back on track and the only way I knew how to get back on track was by giving everything to God.
The amazing thing is that this change happened almost immediately. Within a few weeks, my anger had turned into passion.
I felt the anger and the bitterness melt away. All that was left was a passion to see my life change for the God who I knew had saved me.
He saved me not just from the pit of hell, but from myself.
I never knew what true freedom felt like, but, at that moment, freedom was real to me. No more living in anger. No more living alone. No more pouring myself into a fantasy world or alcohol or the wrong crowd that was focused on bringing me down instead of raising me up.
So what now?
Having passion is only a good thing if you do something with it. That passion needed to turn into vision and that vision into action.
God was birthing in me a vision for what He wanted my future to look like. That vision wouldn’t come easy, but it was needed to see a future that would be put back together, but this time, the right way.
Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.