Think about something you love, something you’re really passionate about. Can you see the soccer pitch of your favorite team? Do you smell the fresh ingredients of that new recipe you’re trying? Or are you hearing and feeling the rhythm of your beloved guitar?
I think about nothing. The vast nothingness of space.
Outer Space and everything beyond our planet peeks my interest in a way not much else does. I grew up on Star Wars, the Space Shuttle, and the nerd-tech talk of the early 2000s; giving me this infatuation of the unexplored cosmos. I’ve always wanted to fly in space (even though I know I’ll never really be an astronaut) and it’s amazing to think about joining an exclusive club that only a few hundred humans have been a part of in being away from Earth.
A few years ago, a company called Mars One announced their ambitious plan to send humans to colonize Mars. I loved the idea! How cool would it be to be the Christopher Columbus or Lewis & Clark of your generation and travel to Mars to explore and discover?!
Check out this self-summary of their mission from their website:
Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Mars is the only planet we know of that can currently feasibly support human life and will be humankind’s first step to become a multiplanetary species…The Mars One crews will go to Mars not to simply visit, but to live, explore, and create a second home for humanity. The first men and women to go to Mars are going there to stay.
The final and most important objective looms the largest for anyone interested in signing up to explore an uninhabited planet.
THIS IS A ONE WAY TICKET FROM EARTH.
Undeterred, I didn’t care. I would share this project with my friends and family, proudly proclaiming that I would jump at this opportunity in heartbeat if it presented itself.
“But Tex, would’t you miss your friends, your family, your life here on Earth?”
“No! This is the opportunity of a lifetime to explore the universe!” is what I would tell them.
I didn’t care. I would tell my close friends, my parents, my girlfriend, that they didn’t matter as much to me as getting away from the only home I’d ever known as fast as possible.
Because leaving and getting away from what I had known was my actual true desire. I thought running away would mean I could escape my problems with alcohol, my battle-heavy relationship with my parents. I was searching for an escape to my fears, that I wasn’t valued or important, that the weight of my sin was too great.
Because I didn’t know what to do, or how to deal with my insecurities about myself and with the chains of sexual sin and alcoholism that I had put on myself.
Because I was a prisoner to myself and to sin.
I’ll always remember what it was like to live by myself for a year. I’ll remember the yellow peeling paint in the studio apartment that sat above a liquor store in downtown Sacramento. I’ll remember having to decide when I got home from work whether I wanted to pick up fast food before or after I got drunk that night. I’ll remember the nightly 8-10 trips from my dining room table to the fridge to pop the lid off a beer before plunking it next to the discarded cans scattered around my laptop. I’ll remember the countless hours I wasted watching videos and playing video games while I had a constant haze over my eyes.
Since coming to YWAM to seek God, to seek freedom, looking for this liberation from the sin of my past, I’ve been pretty open about my struggle with alcohol. I’ve sought healing for this scar of my past and seen great growth in my self-control of what I consume.
For it says in Ephesians 5:8-14
For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”
Paul tells us that those who are saved by Christ are radically transformed! That believers are not content with leaving a little bit of darkness to hide and cover their sins. And shining this light on my struggle with alcohol, being open and truly vulnerable with my struggle with it, allowed Christ to shine on me and render my alcoholic fight finished.
This freedom is so cool! The only requirement is to be completely honest and expose your weaknesses, your sin, your shame, your things you are hiding in darkness away from the light.
Because you can’t claim to be vulnerable and transparent without actually being 100% vulnerable and transparent.
A good friend of mine was once hesitant to share a word from the Lord for me. At the time I barely knew him and he came with a strong word about true vulnerability. He said I was very open in sharing certain weaknesses and exposing certain sin in my life, but that I guarded a deeper “true-self” from everyone else. That I hid my sin and its darkness by giving away vulnerability easily in other areas of my life.
He was right. It was cherry-picked repentance. I was always able to mask that I was hiding something more by confessing one big sin that seemed to appease others’ desire to see me released from the strong shackles on my life. And it worked; no one would poke or pry for more sin, more shame, more whatever, because I had already confessed and repented from a big dark spot in my life (for me alcohol). Allowing me to hide the rest of my sin and the self-inflicted shame I held tightly so no one else could see it.
And so that’s what led me to this point today. I want to expose my sin and weaknesses completely. I want to fight the good fight of faith as Timothy writes
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus… (1 Tim 6:12)
So here I am, fighting to confess to my fellow brothers and sisters. There is no judgement or shame that we can instill on each other when we confess with our mouths, when we physically bring forth our sin into the light.
I still struggle with sexual sin, masturbation, and pornography.
I still struggle with sexual sin. I still have these chains draped over me because I haven’t fully brought it into the light. I have not openly confessed it. And not just to my heavenly Father, not just to my savior Jesus Christ (because they’ve known); but by confessing to my community of fellow believers, by admitting the extent of my sin and my separation from Christ, I open myself up to freedom. I open myself up to liberation from the self-imposed slavery to this sin. And now I can begin my repentance.
Because Christ brought freedom. It’s yours for the taking. And you don’t even have to leave the planet to find it.
“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.