By Lee LeFebre
Exchanged Life Ministries Colorado
I had been in church and Christian schools all my life. At the age of 27, I had received assurance of salvation through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Yet in spite of all that, I struggled terribly with anxiety, inability to conquer sin, and trying to reconcile psychotherapy and Biblical teaching . . . (p. 28).
To drive home the truth of my condition, and the insufficiency of my efforts, God showed me five things:
1) God promised peace that passes understanding, and I didn’t have it. I had peace with God, but not the peace of God. I had to confess that I couldn’t attain it. If I were to obtain that kind of peace, it would have to be a gift.
2) I couldn’t achieve victory over temptation, and God didn’t expect me to. That, too, would have to be His gift. What a relief it would be to give up that battle.
3) I would not be able to find life’s answers in therapy, nor reconcile humanistic behaviorism and psychotherapy with Scripture.
4) If I had these problems, and if I was an average person, most other people probably were having the same problems; they just weren’t talking about it.
5) Although I had asked God to control my life, I had never lost control. I knew if I lost control, there might be a high price to pay. It might cost me my education, position, salary, home – all I’d worked for, especially if God had a different method of changing people than what I had learned in graduate school! The problem was now clear, but I had no idea what the solution could be.
Alone in my struggle, with no place like Exchanged Life Ministries to turn to for guidance and counsel, I only knew I couldn’t go on living as a hypocrite. I wrestled with whether I could trust God. Was I to just let go of everything and trust Him, with no replacement plan in sight? How could I trust God who, in His sovereignty, I deemed responsible for my plight?
Finally, in spite of my fears but because of the promise of the fruit of the Spirit, I decided to trust Him and Him alone. More than anything, I wanted the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So, without understanding what I was about to do, I bowed my knees, giving up rights to my job, education, salary, position, and esteem of my family and colleagues. I committed my life without reservation into the hands of the Lord. And nothing happened! I was glad to have the struggle over with, but I still had no idea what to expect . . . (pp. 28-29).
Once my decision of surrender and commitment was made, and God transformed my life, I had only one desire: to follow God’s leading, taking steps of faith. I never cease to thank Him for the privilege of knowing Christ as my life, for the transformation He made in my thinking about how counseling should be done, and for the great privilege I have had in sharing Christ as the answer to every relationship, every marriage and every need . . . (p. 30).
LOSING IS WINNING
By Carolyn Best
Exchanged Life Ministries Texas
The Pit of Depression
We moved to Dallas, Texas in 1968 after college so my husband, John, could attend Dallas Theological Seminary. Away from everything and everyone familiar, my depression deepened. By the end of John’s second year of seminary, I was totally bedridden, depressed and in tremendous pain from a back injury. I was angry with God. Although I had dedicated my life to Him for full-time Christian work, I had served Him faithfully year after year, I had lived a good life, yet He was allowing me to be incapacitated and in unbelievable pain. Why? Why? Why? I began to doubt the very existence of God. How could there be a God of love? I had done my best and He was rewarding me with pain I could not bear.
Relief was all I wanted. So I began my drop into taking pill after pill just to relieve the pain. I lived for the hour when I could take another pill. Without me realizing it or even caring I became hooked on pain killers. In this semi-conscious state I lost my desire to live. I wanted out of this horrible joke my life had become. I could not face the solid wall of pain that engrossed me from head to toe. I knew that if something did not happen to help me I was finished. I could not go on like this indefinitely.
Lifted Out of the Pit
I began to honestly face myself with truth. If there really was a God, couldn’t He help me? In brokenness I confessed my sin to God. I saw clearly my spiritual pride. Now I could do nothing for God. I had to take from Him. I needed Him. I could not live without something beyond myself to really change me. I humbled myself, admitted my sin and asked God to transform me.
Jesus met me right there in such a real way that I will never doubt the existence of God again. Right in the midst of my pain I had a peace and joy in my heart. I went from deep depression to peace and joy in a short time. Tears of relief and joy filled my eyes time after time. God had performed a miracle within my heart, but He did not immediately change my circumstances. My intense back pain continued for months . . . (pp. 35-36).
Set Upon the Rock and My Way Established
Let me take you back to 1984. I was once again suffering severe pain, seeking for God to work in my heart to touch me once again with His power and strength. John brought home some books by Charles Solomon, The Handbook to Happiness and The Ins and Out of Rejection. I read completely through those books in just a day or two and I knew immediately that this explained what I had experienced several years ago before. Now I knew how to consistently live with Christ as my life and I knew how to share it with someone else. God has used me both with groups and individuals to help people and I’ve seen God work miracles in other lives. It’s exciting to know I can’t change anyone, I don’t have the power to change people. But I know Christ has changed my life and I’ve seen Him change others . . . (p. 36).
The Strange Odyssey of a Legalistic Preacher who Became a Drunk,
Discovered Grace and was Set Free
By Mike Quarles
Freedom From Addiction
Does God have an answer for addiction? Is there really any hope for the person who seems to be hopelessly enslaved? Is there such a thing as the victorious Christian life? I lived in constant defeat to alcohol. My struggles seemed to be more intense and my defeats seemed to be more disastrous than most, but I really didn’t know many, if any, Christians who seemed to be free and living the victorious Christian life . . .
As I look back now, I see that not only did I not have a clue as to the solution, I didn’t have a clue as to what the problem was . . . The problem is not the bad behavior but the belief behind the behavior that causes us to act that way . . . What that means to the alcoholic and the addict or anyone in bondage is that their problem is not drinking alcohol or doing drugs or whatever, but it is the belief (really misbeliefs or lies) that causes them to act the way they do . . . (p. 62).
A close friend, Charlie Jones, handed me some tapes and said, “Here, listen to these, maybe they’ll help you.” (It was “The Life” series by Bill and Anabel Gillham.)
I was driving along listening to the third tape, which was “Co-crucifixion is Past Tense.” Bill Gillham was teaching on our death with Christ. Romans 6:6,7 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” . . . That’s what I need, but how do I make that true in my life? Then Gillham was saying, “It is not something you do, it is something that has been done; our death was Christ is past tense, the old person that we were ‘was crucified’ and ‘anyone who has died has been freed from sin.’” . . . I know you don’t act dead to sin, you don’t feel dead to sin . . . If that’s the way God sees you, that is the way it is. If that is what God says about you, that is the truth about you.”
It was at that moment that the lights came on and in that moment I knew the truth. I knew I had died with Christ and the old, sin-loving sinner had died and was no more. Oh, I had believed the lie and acted like it for all these years, but that was not who I was. I now knew the truth was that I was dead to sin whether I acted like it, felt like it, looked like it or anyone else believed it – because God said it I was. I also knew the truth that I was free, “… because anyone who has died has been free from sin” (Romans 6:7). Jesus said, “then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). I had believed the lie that I was a hopeless, helpless alcoholic and had lived in bondage all the years that I believed it. But less than 24 hours away from a drunk, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that I, Mike Quarles, was a child of God who was “in Christ,” because I had died with Christ, was dead to sin and had been freed from sin. Free at last, free at last! Praise God I was free at last!!!!! (p. 63)
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