The bible passage that has become the center of my personal growth in the Lord is in Colossians. The one sentence that stands out the most to me is in verse 23 of chapter 2, “…but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh”. I have struggled with the desires of the flesh most of my life. That is why this verse caught my interest. Studying this verse led me to other passages that eventually helped me understand how to stop living in the flesh and live in the spirit.

I was saved at age five and baptized when I was eight. I grew up in church and heard bible stories about who God is.  I also attended a bible club where I memorized verses every week. But somehow, the application of God’s principles to my life didn’t sink in. Growing up in church, I learned about God, but I never really knew how to discipline myself to His principles.

 I have used that excuse my entire life. I may not have known how to discipline myself to His principles, but I did know about God, and I did believe in Him. I knew enough that when pain entered my world as a teenager, I could have sought the help I needed. Instead, I chose to rebel and run away. I believed in God, but I was mad at him. I’ve spent most of my life blaming God for the bad things that had happened in my life and using them as an excuse to justify my sin.

I lived out my teenage years in rebellion and turned to alcohol. I was always depressed, and I carried that depression into my adult life. I lived on an emotional roller coaster and have suffered many broken relationships as a result. I was sure that the sadness was a direct result of the pain I had endured. I see now that my depression resulted from the guilt I felt because I disobeyed God. But instead of admitting my sin, I kept blaming and kept running.

I finally became tired of running. Crying uncontrollably, I remembered what Jesus did for me on the cross. I admitted through my tears that the only reason I was at this place of brokenness was that I had taken my eyes off the cross. The revelation of my depravity was the reason for the tears. The shame and guilt of forty years of the wrong choices had finally caught up to me. I no longer could excuse or justify my sin away. I was at my bottom, that place of helplessness where the only thing I could do was crawl back and fix my eyes on the cross.

The journey of recovery started with Colossians 2:23. As I studied the Bible, I faced the pain that had sent me running in the first place. I had to face and feel the horror of the moment I had decided to run. I had to admit with shame that I had blamed God instead of turning to Him. I had to confess my sin and turn away from the selfish life I lived.

Today I do not suffer from depression. God has taken my addictions away from me. He teaches me how to love others. I have peace, as God has taken away my anxieties. I am becoming trustworthy as I stop hiding, and I am learning to trust others. I am learning to live free of fear. I don’t try to excuse my actions anymore. I am quick to own up to them and get right back on the path.

But this change did not come easy for me. The change God has made in me has taken a lot of obedience over a lot of years. I am not entirely whole. I still have more to learn and more growing to do. But as long as I keep seeking His direction daily, I am walking the path. I now live my life according to His will and glory, not mine. As I walk in obedience to His word, God is changing me.