THE NATURAL MAN RECEIVETH NOT

There was a time in my life when I finally realized my way wasn’t working. I had come to the end of my rope. My wife and I had divorced, I was strung out on drugs, and I had no job and no hope.

Way back in my childhood I had been a churchgoer. I even said a prayer once when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I wish I could tell you I was saved and never had any doubts about it after that, but I can’t. In fact I lived my life as though I was in charge; which is exactly why I ended up in such a bad situation. If you were to ask me, “Are you saved?” I would have replied, “Yes, I said a prayer when I was young.” I don’t know if God saved me or not when I said that prayer, but I do know my life eventually became unmanageable.

The day finally arrived when I knew I needed help to get clean and straighten my life out. I started methadone treatment. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it is a medicine given to treat addiction to opiates. Opiates are things like heroin and pain pills. It doesn’t cure your problems, but for me it did give me a clear head which I hadn’t had in quite a while. It allowed me to evaluate my life from a more honest perspective. It was a two year program and I weaned myself off of it six months early.

During the year and half I did the treatment I had to talk to a counselor once a month. They ask you to set short term and long term goals and keep track of your progress. You are also told to attend twelve step programs. I didn’t think AA or NA was for me, so the counselor and I made a deal. She told me I could go to church, and she would count that as a meeting. Of course she didn’t know God was already working on me, and I wanted to start going to church anyway. So that’s what I started doing. For the first time, as an adult, or maybe ever, I actually started going to church because I wanted to.

Since being in “Recovery” I had resumed a passion for reading that I had lost in my days of insanity. I began to read autobiographies and other books. They, for the most part, were good books, but I found nothing in them that really helped me. I owned a Bible, not unlike plenty of other people, but never remembered reading it. I decided I would start reading the Bible one day. Not having much luck understanding it I went to church. I reasoned this way. I want to read the Bible. I can’t understand it. The church is where they teach about the Bible. I know! I’ll go to church. So, that is exactly what I did. I went to the church my wife, or ex wife at this point, belonged. Needless to say she, and plenty of others, were shocked to see me there. I think most thought I was there for her sake, but I wasn’t; it was honestly about seeking knowledge of the Bible. At this point I thought I was saved. Remember I said a prayer when I was younger. Now, I was at church seeking knowledge of the Bible. Be careful what you ask for is all I can say about that.

The Church had revival meetings for a week. There was a preacher from Tennessee there I can’t even remember his name, but I will never forget what took place on Wednesday of that week. My ex and I went to the altar and cried our eyes out. I told God “You have to prove to her I mean business.” I had tried to convince her I was a different man and she wasn’t hearing it. I finally came to realize I couldn’t convince her, so I left it in God’s hands. Oh boy! On the way home that night I had an experience like no other. I was in my car by myself driving, and I felt a sensation go through my body starting in my feet and moving upward through my chest and head. I started to cry and laugh at the same time, but oddly enough there was peace in the midst of it all. It was a peace like I’ve never known. Looking back now it was as if God was saying to me, “I’ve got this- everything is going to be okay.” When I arrived home I was so wound up I felt as if I could run a marathon. I really didn’t know what was happening to me, so I called my ex wife. When she picked up the phone she couldn’t make out what I was talking about; I guess I was talking so fast she couldn’t understand me. I finally went to sleep that night and awoke one hour before my alarm buzzed. I had a Bible on the table in front of me so I started to read it.

Have you ever seen one of those magic eight balls from years ago? I just opened the Bible randomly and that’s where I started. It opened at 1 Corinthians. I read all of 1 Corinthians that morning before work. Remember I couldn’t understand the Bible before, but now it’s making perfect sense to me. I didn’t have to look far either. In the second chapter I discovered the answer to my question. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Right there in black and white I read the reason I couldn’t understand before. I didn’t have the Spirit of God the other day but now I do. Let me see. I couldn’t understand it the other day. This says without the Spirit of God you can’t understand the things of God. I reasoned…. I had been filled with the Spirit and miraculously reborn.

Not long after being born again my ex wife started to see God was doing something in my life. We were remarried and never looked back. Well at least not more than a glance or two. We both love to share the amazing story of how God changed us and put us back together. In fact she takes great delight in telling everyone, “My first husband was a jerk!” She’s right you know.

Written by Louie

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