Joel 2:25 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”
As we age, we grow less confident in the abilities to retain things in our memory as clearly as we believe we ought. I do not know about the scientific studies done or the aging process and the declination of the human body. But, I do have some personal experience to share that may be of some encouragement and some help.
I received Jesus Christ as my Savior at age 31. I had bee drinking alcohol since I was 16. That’s 15 years of abuse to my body, mind, and soul. There is a myth that we kill brain cells every time we drink. It is not true. We do, however, damage the neurons, called dendrites, that link the communication process between our brain cells.
When God sobered me up, I felt I was further behind than most. I lacked much of the people skills, maturity, and character than most of my peers. I learned later about arrested development and was able to begin a healing process once identified.
When I started drinking, my maturity as an adult stopped. When I sobered, I was left to begin again with the maturity level of an 18-year-old. I lacked the skills of personal responsibility in relationships, finances, and work ethic.
As men from my church discipled me, I soon learned that only God could bring ‘up to speed’ if you will. True, I must be a willing participant, but God can only direct a person in motion; He won’t just grant a lump of human flesh the ability to do something he or she lacks the character or will power to do.
I knew I lacked in the area of resisting a strong drink. I had a taste on my tongue for it — one that I had tried to rid myself from unsuccessfully, many times. I could not stop from the beginning again that which turned destructive to everything and everyone around me.
My family insisted that I stop. I tried and failed. But when God saved me, my mentor showed me what God thought about it.
Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
Isaiah 5:11 “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!”
Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
I found that the more I sought God’s will, the more I desired to be clean from the effects or fruit of my past behavior. This verse in Joel was something God showed me to break the destructive thinking that my enemy was trying to keep me in bondage.
We see in the Word of God that locusts represent sin and destruction. God says He can restore the devastation of sin in this life and the next. Reading this in Joel, gave my heart such joy to combat the negativity that which Satan was bombarding my mind.
Not only can we utilize His Word for those who have stubborn habits and addictions, but, those who have suffered the abuse of any kind. Satan takes pleasure in locking those who have suffered abuse in any way by telling them they deserved what happened to them. He pressures the mind to agree that somehow, someway they had brought on this abuse.
Many a victim that has gotten victory will tell you that God had to bring them to the other side and see with new eyes what He sees in them. To believe and accept the truth is a painful yet, profitable exercise.
Abused and abuser alike need the restoration only God can give.
God meant it when He said “all” and “whosoever.”
Today, we will worship with former sex offenders, alcoholics, murderers, adulterers, liars, hypocrites – sinners just like you and me. We should genuinely take up the one thing we do have in common; our fellowship in the Spirit, and leverage what God has given us as a strength in our church.
When we are united, we can be as those in the upper room waiting for Christ to pour out the Holy Spirit. When He came upon them, they shook the world for Christ.
Let us not be hindered by our past and let it stop us from doing what it is God commanded us to do.