I had read the chapter many times, the story of the Apostle Paul's conversion in Acts 9. Many points had been made in sermons and meetings about the parallel from his transition from unbelief to belief and how it mirrored addiction recovery. What I had missed though was the significance of verse 26.
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
And the words from Monday nights meeting came back to mind as one spoke of the man receiving his one year chip, "When I saw him I never thought he would make it". He was referring to his cocky know it all attitude, much like Paul's arrogance about his faith in God and his Jewish roots rather than belief in Jesus. Paul was ignorant about who Jesus really was much like we are unaware of what it takes to recover at first.
We are afraid, like the disciples, to be around someone who so quickly changes direction. Time proves whether change takes root, unless of course it involves the Lord. After this man received his one year chip there is still doubt, but not in his mind because he is working in a detox facility to help others, he is giving back in the same arena in which he failed before. His faith leads him to understanding what it takes to succeed.
After a few days, Paul got up and preached, and he did so boldly even though he had doubters. In fact some tried to kill him. But the church grew, it enjoyed a time of peace as well as growth and Paul's incredible influence grew. He told his story until people began to believe in the one who changed his life. He got back in the same arena in which he failed before, this time he got it right.
It is important to note here for those in recovery that at first, your friends, family and known associates may express disbelief in your change, but we must press on boldly, yet humbly led by God's Holy Spirit and eventually others will start to believe that we have made a real change. Don't let the feelings of others stop your faith and confidence in your walk from growing.
Speaking of that time of growth in the church, these are the words in verse 31: Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
We must remember if we speak in faith, if we know we are headed in God's direction, we may be moving our mouth's, but it's Him doing the talking.
That's what makes the difference between Truth Or Dare!
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 email@example.com.