By Chuanyang, the United States
At 18, Young and Emulous, How Could I Admit Defeat in Drinking?
In the past decades, it can be said that liquor accompanied me for half of my . However, this abuse now doesn’t torture me anymore, of which I had never dreamed and had not dared to dream. It is God’s words that change my life.
When I was 18, I didn’t have much experience of the world. I, young and emulous, learned to drink during my learning decoration. Owing to being young, I didn’t admit defeat in whatever aspect, especially in drinking. Because I considered my face as more important than anything else, I drank myself close to death and thus got stinking drunk every time. So, after getting home, I was scolded by my parents unavoidably. After marriage, my wife and I always quarreled about my drinking. I remembered one time when I was drunk and my wife was grumbling at me. I flipped the table over in a drunken tantrum, which frightened my wife and child into clinging onto each other and crying. Thus, my family always had no peace because of my drinking. In fact, I knew in my heart that my child and wife both hated me on account of my bad habit. Later, because my family was poor, I began to make my way away from my hometown at the age of 22. Only then did I deeply feel making money for the maintenance of my family was not an easy thing. What’s more, I was away from home alone all year around, for which I felt lonely and missed my family. Accordingly, I always drank with several close colleagues for I felt that only alcohol could make me numb and free of all vexation, and help me kill my spare time. Gradually, to me wine was not only a habit, but even more an addiction.
In my 40s, I came to America alone. I started a decoration company and became a boss. At that time drinking served as an essential important bridge in my business. I took alcohol with my fellow villagers from time to time. At the drinking-table, we exchanged our experience with one another, provided market messages and information concerning workers for one another, so as to better improve our business. At the drinking-table, we flattered mutually, and matched each other drink for drink. Moreover, I loved drinking, so I drank myself to stagger and didn’t return home until I got drunk. The next day, I was always fragile all over after waking, with my brain blank. Even when I drove the car, I felt the car wobbled and felt empty and uneasy in the heart. Indeed, I was frightened after every time of drinking. Even though I regretted after waking every time and also decided not to drink so much next time, I couldn’t control myself on that occasion. On the one hand, I didn’t have the ability to refrain myself from drinking; on the other hand, the relationship with those of my trade was sustained entirely by relying on toasts. Accordingly, how could I not drink? … In such way, I drank year after year. Even if I believed in the and was baptized and many brothers and sisters persuaded me not to drink any longer, I still failed to get rid of it.
In November, 2016, I welcomed the return of the Lord Jesus and followed God’s work in the . At that time, I still drank. During the upcoming Spring Festival, many friends and fellow villagers treated mutually. I always drank till very late and so my brothers and sisters failed to get in touch with me, all asking me with care what happened with me. Only then did they learn of my drinking.
One sister told me, “Brother, you are a believer now. You should live out the likeness of a believer and shouldn’t always go out to drink. Drinking itself does not conform to God’s will and is bad for your health.” I said, “I don’t desire to drink either. But for my business, I have to drink to make friends. I have no other choice.” The sister said, “Recently we have always listened to the preaching about ‘Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important.’ What we do should be inconsistent with what we heard. To keep the relationship with others for your business, you always drink. Isn’t this according to a life philosophy?” What the sister said was right, but I thought further: If I don’t drink with them, how can I remain a part of them in the following days? If I want to do business, I have to obey the game rules: People in this circle usually help each other out, and treat each other to dinner. They dine and wine together to strengthen relationships between them. How could I be friends with them in the future without drinking with them?
When I was considering, the sister sent me a passage of God’s words, “If you don’t have a proper relationship with God, no matter what you do to maintain your relationships with other people, no matter how hard you work or how much energy you exert, it will still belong to a human philosophy of life. You are maintaining your position among people through a human perspective and a human philosophy so that they will praise you. You do not establish proper relationships with people according to the word of God. If you don’t focus on your relationships with people but maintain a proper relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, very naturally, your relationships with all people will become proper. … Are you willing to be considerate toward the will of God? Are you willing to be a person ‘without reason’ before God? Are you willing to completely give your heart to God, and not consider your position among people?” “The criteria for God’s use of people are as follows: Their heart turns to God, they are burdened by the words of God, they have a heart of yearning, and they have the resolve to seek the truth. Only people such as this can gain the work of the and frequently gain enlightenment and illumination. … No matter when or where, his heart is always before God, and no matter how dissolute others are, how much they indulge in lust, indulge in the flesh—his heart never leaves God, and he doesn’t follow the crowd” (“Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important”).
“Brother, God’s words allow us to understand if we do not have a proper relationship with God in believing in God and do not focus on acting in accordance with God’s requirements, no matter how we maintain relationships with other people, it will not last long. You believe that you will displease them, cannot be friends with them and your business will suffer a loss, if your fellow villagers or friends treat you to alcohol but you do not answer them. This viewpoint is a life philosophy from Satan. This is on the foundation of interest and is returning the courtesy, mixed with ‘quid-pro-quo’ relationship. It is the means that Satan uses to entrap us into eating, drinking, enjoying ourselves. Occupied by these things in the heart, we will get ever further apart from God. Actually, God does not restrict our normal human communication but hopes we do not maintain the relationships between people by drinking. God wants us to seek the truth and act according to God’s words in everything. God wants us to establish proper relationships with all people. Regardless of whether they are unbelievers or our brothers and sisters, we cannot get along with them for the sake of our own interest or with our selfish motives of obtaining good from others, otherwise such relationships are out of feigned kindness and hypocrisy. Come to think of it, is the relationship maintained by drinking the true one between friends? Is this relationship reliable? However, if we live out the likeness of a normal person according to God’s words, the unbelievers and our relatives will be convinced. This is also an aspect of testimony. Those who frequently quiet themselves before God and do not engage in debauchery according to their flesh are pleasing to God and are also blessed by God. Besides, in such way, the relationships between friends are much more genuine,” the sister fellowshiped patiently. I pondered while listening: It turns out that I always want to keep the relationship with my friends by drinking, which is a life philosophy of Satan, is not after God’s will and is indulging in flesh. Nevertheless, at the thought of my business of the future, how can I sustain the relationship with them without drinking? If I really give up drinking, then how should I get along with them and how should I deal with my business? I was in a very contradictory state.
I thought I believed in God now, but I didn’t maintain a proper relationship with God and didn’t live out the likeness of a person by practicing the truth, but always took alcohol to satisfy my own preferences and to attain my goals. Doing these things, I was indebted to God. So after thinking over and over, I ultimately decided to quit drinking. Though I understood not much, I still wanted to fulfill the desire of God. Consequently, I came before God and prayed, “O God, I have followed you for a long time, but I didn’t recognize my corruption. Today, the fellowships of the brothers and sisters allow me to realize my maxim to be lived by is that only drinking can get things handled. I didn’t revere You like Job. I feel remorse after recognizing my corruption. O God, in the following days, may You enlighten and guide me, so that I can be like Job with a heart of revering God and shunning evil and depart from drinking. I’m willing to rely on You and look up to You. May You lead and protect me, so that I can stand witness amid Satan’s temptation.”
On Eve of the Spring Festival, a Battle Raged When I Faced Toast at the Drinking-Table
All in a flash, it was the Eve of the Spring Festival. On that day, again, my fellow villager called me and wanted to treat me to alcohol, and at the time, I agreed. After hanging up, I pondered: Should I go or not? It came to my mind that some time ago, my brothers and sisters told me that my drinking was not after God’s will. Then what can I do? I suddenly had an idea: I always took a taxi to attend the feast, but this time I make up my mind to drive there. Right! I will not drink if driving.
At the dinner, other people commenced toasting me as usual. I said: “I won’t drink any more from now on.” My friends were all in an exceeding surprise. I added: “Drinking does harm to our health. Moreover, I’m a believer in God. Drinking is at odds with God’s will. So, never will I take alcohol since now.” At that point, a close fellow villager raised the wine-cup saying: “Come on! Just drink a little, please, for my sake.” Looking at the cup of liquor, I really desired to knock it back in one swallow from his hand. Just then, Book of Job occurred to me. Job not only feared God and shunned evil by himself, but also offered sacrifices for making reconciliation for his children when they were feasting. By contrast, I, as a believer, had made a resolution before God. If I drank, did I still have a God-revering heart? Hence, I said firmly: “No, I won’t drink any—none at all.” He replied: “Are we still friends?” At that moment, there was a fierce battle within me. I thought: Which is more important, making friends or satisfying God? If I choose to satisfy God, will I offend my friends? Will I have no dealings with them in business? On the one side is my friends, and on the other side is God and God’s requirements…. Of course, God is most important. Then I took heart of grace and said: “If we cannot be friends just because of my not drinking, I would rather stop making friends with you. Anyway, on no account will I drink, for God is watching me.” Embarrassed by me, the fellow villager was obviously annoyed. I knew if I drank this cup of liquor, other people would offer one toast after another, then I wouldn’t able to quit alcohol. If so, it meant that I fell into the scheme of Satan. At that point, one of them said: “Lao Liu really has resolved to give it up.” Also, another one said: “A drunkard really won’t drink?” I thought to myself: It is God’s deed. Previously, how many people urged me to get rid of drinking, but I failed to. Now I am able to betray myself consciously, which is the result achieved by God’s words. That day, I was exceedingly delighted because I could finally take a firm stand.
A Trail Coming Upon Me Again, I Ultimately Chose God
The second trail came upon me soon. Within a few days, my neighbor, also a close fellow villager, made an appointment two days in advance to treat me and other several fellow villagers to a feast at 8 p.m. on the weekend. I agreed with him perfunctorily. On that afternoon, the fellow villager repeatedly called me from 5 p.m. In fact, I was at home. But in order to avoid breaking his face, I said: “I still work out of the state. I don’t know when I can get home. Don’t wait for me. You eat first.” The fellow villager said: “How can we do that? We’ll surely wait for you. Drive slow! Watch out when driving.” After hanging up, I felt embarrassed: If I don’t attend the feast and break his face, I will feel sorry about it because he is my fellow villager and neighbor. If I do that, do I not turn back? I turned it over in my mind at home and didn’t know what to do. As a result, they kept waiting for me from 8 p.m., and gave me a call at intervals of a dozen of minutes or so. Facing each call, I didn’t know whether I should answer the phone and what to say after answering it. There was really a fierce battle in my heart.
I sit before the computer, watching a gospel film of God’s house, but my heart had flown to restaurant and my mind was occupied by the scene of them sitting by the drinking-table. They specially waited for me, which meant they thought something of me. If I was present at that moment, they were sure to be pleased; while if I didn’t show up in the end, they would definitely see my doing as unsatisfactory. With these thoughts in mind, I somewhat swayed: Go! In any case, my brothers and sisters won’t know this. Just then I suddenly realized that God searches people’s hearts. I could cheat my brothers and sisters but was unable to cheat God. God was watching me, and I couldn’t go. Apparently, my fellow villager bought me drinks, but actually, it was a battle of the spiritual world and Satan’s temptation that came to me. I prayed to God for keeping my heart to quiet down. Like that, it was not until half past nine in the evening that my fellow villagers decided not to wait for me. I was finally relieved but had a feeling of loss. I felt I was finished for I had offended all of them. But at that point, God guided me to recall the experience of Job. Job revered God and shunned evil, unafraid of offending people. Even to his children, he didn’t abandon human principles. I considered: My practicing in in this way is significant.
Afterward, many fellow villagers frequently bought me drinks. I thought of the words of “Sermons and Fellowships on Entry Into Life”: “The clever see the danger and hide themselves,” so I declined with different excuses. Sometimes I had a desire to drink, but at such times, I would remember God’s words my brothers and sisters fellowshiped about with me before and then I could sense my fault. Accordingly, I prayed to God in haste, asking Him to give me faith so that I could depart from Satan’s temptation and stand witness for God. At meetings, I opened my hearts to my brothers and sisters in communication. They helped me tirelessly and communicated the truth with me in order that I could understand God’s will. Bit by bit, I overcame those temptation completely. Gradually, I tasted God’s words: “If you don’t focus on your relationships with people but maintain a proper relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, very naturally, your relationships with all people will become proper.” Though I stayed away from drinking-table and didn’t rely on drinking to maintain the relationship with others to get market information but conducted myself based on God’s will, yet I didn’t lose my business and my associates, and my relationship with them was not influenced in the slightest. And they still cooperated with me and introduced business to me as before. I clearly knew all of those were God’s deeds. I practiced just a few of God’s requirements but God blessed me and was gracious to me. I thanked God!
With I reading more of God’s words and frequently contacting my brothers and sisters, and with we helping one another in pursuit of the truth, I feel more delighted and my life becomes abundant. I come to know that drinking can only temporarily expel the emptiness and loneliness in the bottom of my heart. Only by coming before God, accepting God’s guidance, understanding God’s will from the words God has expressed and conducting ourselves according to the truth, can we thoroughly throw off our corruption and free ourselves from the emptiness of the soul because only God can save us. Thank God! All the glory be to Almighty God!
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