Welcome to the Greene Street Letters. It has become my venue for sharing what is going on at Vineyard Recovery Church. Don't let the word Church scare you. The Greene Street Letters is a daily posting to simply say that there is more to life than what you see. More to life than "stuff". My simple take of 60+ years of following Jesus. Some days were good days...some days I managed to get off in the ditch. He is worthy of the pursuit, so that is what I do........I pursue Jesus in everything I do. Not the Jesus of the church. Not the Jesus of the denomination. Nothing wrong with those things, but Jesus is so much more. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you return from time to time to stop and ponder your own relationship with Jesus. God on you....mb
Monday, June 13, 2016
The Better Way
But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
There is a path (A way of living) before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
In the beginning, it seemed like I spent a lot of time trying to convince folks that there was a better way to live than their old way of addiction. I would teach....I would explain....I would almost beg them to change. But nothing ever happened. Why? Well, it became very evident that I was trying to take God's place. I remember when it all changed for me.
It was while I was on staff at Rapha.
We had a group of in-house clients that wanted nothing to do with recovery, not to mention God. Their time in treatment was merely a vacation until they could get back out on the streets. I would teach a class, and everyone would sit there with this deer-in-the-headlight kind of stare. They refused to do their homework. They didn't participate in any discussion at all. This rocked on for 4 weeks, and I was at the end of my rope.
I remember being home cutting grass, and having a really one sided conversation with God. In other words, I was doing all the talking and God was listening. I was giving Him up the country because of these men and their lack of interest in getting themselves straight. Then in the heat of the moment, along with feeling like I was a "big-boy", I uttered those fateful words.....Kind of drawing a line in the sand in front of God.....
"You know what, Father? If You aren't going to let me make a difference in the lives of these men, I'm not going back out there." I then proceeded to state my case as to why I felt that way. I had said "Yes" to the call to go to Rapha. I had given my life to that program, to teach and counsel and be there for anyone who needed me. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty spiritual at this point. But then God spoke.
Unlike me, God didn't dilly dally around. He got straight to the point.
"I didn't call you to make a difference".....I heard those words, not audibly, but in my spirit..."I didn't call you to make a difference! I called you to be obedient. I'll make the difference!" There it was. The very thing that changed me. I no longer had to feel like I had to drag everyone to safety. I had to make sure I was in God's will, doing what He asked of me. Teach, pray, counsel, be there for people...that was my call. God was he one who touched and healed. God was the one who changed hearts. God was the one who saved those who were drowning in sin/addiction.
So that is why I point to a better way, because it's real and it's truth from God. Must be something to this relationship thing with Jesus....lot's of folks out there been delivered because they chose to walk out the narrow, difficult way. Now to some, that would be a turn off.....this whole narrow-difficult thing. But answer me this. Isn't life even more difficult when you are running outside the will of God? I think maybe the answer is yes. With that truth staring me in the face, it only makes sense that Jesus IS the Power greater than me who could restore me to sanity by showing me the better way to live.
There is just something about the human mind and will that is under the influence of the sin/addiction nature. It rejects the narrow way that leads to life. It embraces the wide open, broad super highway that leads to hell. Why is that? Because the mind and heart that is being directed by our sin nature always makes choices that benefit the fleshly appetite. It will always choose to be satisfied now, rather than look to the future and the larger picture of the consequences of our choices. The broad way is alluring and much easier to navigate than the path Jesus has laid out for those who choose Him. The funny part in all of this, is when you do choose Jesus, that narrow path begins to expand and widen as your faith in him grows. Yes, there will be difficult times. Yes, there will even be times you want to go back to your old ways....but believe me that it isn't worth it. As Seth Barber once told me, "The worst day sober, chasing Jesus is better than the best day I ever had when I was high!" As the big book of A.A. so aptly puts it...."In our addiction, we look for the easier softer way." In other words, according to Scripture, we look for the broad way that eventually leads to destruction.
Which road are you on this morning?
God on you....