by guest blogger Bev Dowdy
He could have hung on to the past.
Years of fighting in the South Pacific while still a teenager left him with nightmares and drove him to drink. Though he served with honor, guilt and shame settled into his heart and mind after having been present in such carnage. Years of excessive drinking had caused his young family to be fraught with anxiety and lacking in financial stability. Over time he found the strength in his LORD to leave the bottle behind and make a new life.
But he could have hung on to the past.
The shame and the guilt could have kept him from the joy and peace of his new life. My father, Herb Choate, found power by embracing God’s word.
He came to believe in the power of the word and God’s knowledge of his inner life—both evil and the good. He read. He studied. He believed:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account, Jesus the Great High Priest. Hebrews 4: 12-13
Yet even with this knowledge, he could have hung on to his past.
He found that the next few verses of Hebrews 4 shined light on a new vision for his life after the crisis of war and the mess he had made in his marriage. The light shone on Jesus himself.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4: 14 -15
This Jesus understood him. He came to believe Jesus was not going to stop with just helping him live as a civilian and a dry drunk. He embraced a confidence and a joy in his life because he came to believe the next verse wholeheartedly-
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
He prayed, “Lord, thank you for empathizing with our weaknesses and for allowing us to approach your throne of grace with confidence.”
My dad, Herb, let go of the past, and trusted that through the priesthood of Jesus, he was no longer clothed in shame and guilt. He came to walk in faith, clothed in Christ, able to enter into the presence of God with confidence. He was able to ask for help when he needed it--unashamed and forgiven.
Jesus lets us shed the clothing colored by the shame and guilt of our battles. He empathizes with our weaknesses, forgives our wrongdoing, and then does more. He dresses us as a priest, a royal child, and ushers us to into the throne room of the Father as a confident sibling, able to ask for help to live life to the full.
Today let us all leave shame and guilt behind and enter into the throne room of God with confidence. Let us ask for God’s help for our every need!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.