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The Marriage Puzzle

The Puzzle of Addictions

Erwin W. Lutzer | November 8, 2009

Selected highlights from this sermon

Addiction is a false promise. It promises a sense of exhilaration anytime you want it. But in reality, you’re falling deeper into the darkness of shame, self-deception (I can quit whenever I want), and fear of what would happen if you gave up the addiction. It doesn’t take long before an addict begins to rationalize it all.

When brought to the light, you’ll see who you really are. God will show you a path and His light will help you to reach the destination of dwelling with the Son in His light.

Through open communication, healthy, honest relationships, humility, and repentance before God, you can finally come out of the darkness—you can’t do it alone.

Today’s topic is the topic of addictions. Addictions are tearing our families apart. Let me list just a few. First of all, at the top of the list I put alcoholism. Think of the destruction that has happened because of alcoholism—the family beatings, the family secrets and the family poverty. I was in Coors Stadium a couple of years ago. Somebody took us to a baseball game there. It was in Denver, I believe. It was a gorgeous stadium. In fact, we ate and we could watch the game as we ate, and it dawned on me later that this whole thing was built basically on the backs of alcoholics. Oh, I know there are some people who drink, and they are not alcoholics, but it’s the alcoholics who are selling their homes and pushing their families into poverty to get that drink.

I list also gambling. “Oh,” you say, “it’s not an addiction.” Oh yes, it is. We don’t have time for the stories. I must hurry on.

Drugs! A cocaine addict in New York chained himself to a radiator because he said to himself, “I can’t get another fix,” and yet he was able somehow to get that radiator loose with his free hand, and eventually took the thing and carried it out on the street for more drugs, and then he said, “Cocaine has a voice. When it calls me, I must go.” Think about that.

And then I suppose the one we are most conscious of is sexual addictions of various kinds, compulsions too many to list, but I do want to speak about pornography and the internet, just in passing. I told you many years ago that when we got onto the internet in our home (AOL—I always remember it—America On Line), the day we hooked up that night, God gave me a demonic dream. It was horrible. I’ve only had three in my lifetime, and one was that evening. It was a dream in black and white that I can still describe today. Three evil spirits had me up against a corner in the house and I was totally paralyzed, and they were destroying me. Can you imagine how I felt when I woke up? I was thankful to God that was only a dream. I interpreted it as a gift from God. What God was saying was, “You now have something in your home that demons can use to destroy you,” and whenever I’ve been tempted to go to the other side of the website and type in some of those other words where sexual material would come up, I think of that dream and that warning from God, and I thank God for that warning.

If you are a parent today and you have children in your home and you don’t have filters on your computer because you trust them, could I ask you a question? Tell me later which planet do you live on? Which one, or are you just orbiting somewhere close to Pluto? What do you mean, you trust your children? I have met children who were trusted by their parents who are hooked on pornography. Its power is great and when young people discover it as they do now at about the age of eleven and twelve, it is a horrendous burden that continues to dog them unless they are intercepted. So, what you need to do is, before you eat (You don’t need to eat. You could survive without eating.) go to The Moody Church website and there we have a link that will help you to identify various software programs that can help your computer have a filter. It’s more important that you do that than eating.

But I do need to give you a parenthesis. If you find your children into pornography, don’t shame them. There isn’t a child in the world who said, “You know, my parents found out and they shamed me, and therefore my appetite for pornography no longer exists.” Are you kidding me? Shame becomes the fuel of this addiction, even though it will become more secret, of course, to avoid the shame. What you do is you talk to them, and you confess your own struggles with purity. Haven’t we all had them? And so in humility you say, “Look, I want to help you through this because this is a quagmire. This is dangerous stuff that is going to dog you for the rest of your life, so let’s work together as a family. Let’s talk about these things.” Open communication is one of the best ways to prevent addictions and it’s one of the best ways to come out of it. Parents, please don’t be so judgmental. Don’t you have enough of your own sins to make you humble and broken? I hope you do.

What is an addiction? An addiction is a false promise. It promises you this sense of exhilaration that you can have whatever you want. I love the definition given by someone that can’t be improved upon. No way! This is it! An addiction is nothing more than the self-absorption of sin. It’s the self-absorption of sin—the blinding. That’s the word I forgot to mention. It’s the blinding self-absorption of sin. That’s what an addiction is, and what a prison it is. Addictions come along as our friend. They say, “Oh, I’ll be there, and whenever you need some exhilaration, I’ll be there for you, and you can manipulate me, and this god—this idol—is under your control, and you can have it whenever you plan to have it.” It comes as a friend, but it ends up being a tremendous tyrant, and it will control you. And Jesus was so right when He said if you commit sin you become its servant, and now you are taking orders from the voices that call you, and you can’t get out.

What I am going to do in the next 20 minutes, with God’s help, is wander into Satan’s territory and see if we can’t win some victories today. Are you in favor of that? Is there anybody who says, “Pastor Lutzer, let’s see if Jesus can win some victories today”? (applause)

But of course, we can’t do it. I’ve never felt more helpless than I feel today preaching this message. Who in the world is going to be able to go and untie the knots and deal with the shame and the forgiveness and the deliverance? I can’t do it. My sermons can’t do it. Wives, you can’t do it for your husbands. You probably can’t even do it for yourself. God has to come.

Father, I ask in Jesus name, that You’ll make every person listening to this sermon open. We pray that their ears and their hearts would be attuned. I pray that no one will leave because of conviction, and ask, Lord Jesus, that by your Spirit You will do what we wouldn’t even think of being able to do, and that is to come to deliver Your people from their sins. That’s Your work. We trust the Holy Spirit because if the Holy Spirit doesn’t do it, we are helpless. Help every man here to pray. Help every woman here to pray. Help every young person and every adult to call on you and say, “God, help us.” In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

The Bible says in the book of Proverbs (and it is so accurate, isn’t it?) in chapter 5, verse 22 that, “the wicked man is bound by the cords of his sin.” Don’t you like the imagery? And that’s exactly true; he is bound by the cords of his sin. And what are some of those cords? Let me list them for you very quickly.

First of all, there’s the cord of euphoria. You see, what the addict does is he goes into this other world that he can stimulate and that he can generate and he can leave the world of boredom behind and he can go into this exciting world. Just the idea of planning his next fix gives him an increase in heart rate as the sensation begins to pulse through his body. Just the thought of it! And the thing is, he can go from this false world to the real world, and nobody even knows it, so nobody knows what he’s doing on the weekends. And he is able to function; he’s able to hold a job; he’s able to converse, but in the back of his mind all of those other things are going on and he can have it whenever he wants it or plans for it—this sensation, this euphoria.

The second cord that holds him bound is self-worship. Self-worship is known as narcissism. Remember that narcissists are very interesting people. They have concern only for themselves. They have no concern for anybody else. Does the alcoholic father who comes home and beats his kids really have sympathy for those children? No, of course he doesn’t, or he’d stop doing it. What he thinks is they have it coming. He can’t enter into his wife’s pain. He can’t enter into the burdens that other people bear. He is filled with self-worship, and this self-worship causes him tremendous problems, and he’s totally unaware of the damage he’s doing.

The third cord is denial. I’ve told you before that denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. Denial exists in all families, but there’s nowhere where it is found as much as in an alcoholic family—a drug-infested family, a family where there’s immorality or incest going on, and the denial is this: First of all, the person who is doing it shifts the responsibility. He says, “It’s not my fault. It’s somebody else’s fault. It’s my employer’s fault. It’s my wife’s fault. It’s circumstances. It’s God’s fault.” So he fails to take responsibility. He doesn’t own what he’s doing because he’s blind to it. Remember? It’s the blinding self-absorption of sin. What a description. So, you see, he lives in this cocoon and the cocoon isolates him and insulates him from all of the lies that he has so willingly believed. He loves these lies. He tells himself lies and he keeps on believing these lies.

You know, in the New Testament there is the light/darkness motif. Jesus used it. Someday I want to study this even in more detail. You know, Jesus said, “Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” You know that He said that. “Men love darkness because,” He said, “they don’t want to come to the light lest their deeds be exposed.”

Come with me to Mexico more than forty years ago. I had a sister and brother-in-law, who were missionaries there, and so I went to visit them and we stayed in a motel, and this motel had a kitchenette in it with two or three bedrooms. We went out one evening and when we came back and flipped on the light there must have been a hundred roaches with all of their aunts and uncles and kids on that kitchen counter. And they just scattered like that. In two seconds you couldn’t see a roach. They knew exactly where the cracks were. They knew where the holes were, and they ran for cover.

Maybe some of you are feeling like that today. You may be listening on the internet or you may be listening by radio, and you say, “This is going to get very difficult for me,” and you’d like to bail out. There’s a big difference though between you and a roach. Let me tell you that you, my friend, are created in God’s image. You are important. You are going to live somewhere forever. You are a human being created in the image of God, and God loves you. Would you let God put His arms around you today and pull you close, and say, “Come to Me. Don’t let your addiction draw you away from Me, but may it be the means by which you are brought to Me.”

Now with that background of light and darkness, let’s go into the characteristics of darkness. Now, we are in 1 John. I could have used many different passages to preach this because the whole storyline of the Bible has to do with sin and redemption, and once we understand that an addiction is the self-absorption of sin, there is hope. If it’s just a sickness we have no guarantee that God always heals sicknesses, but sin—that’s another matter. He’s got a good cure for that. But notice it says in 1 John 1:5-7, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another….”

Now folks, I can’t go any farther than that without making a comment. Are your Bibles open? Do you see the text? Do you remember some grammar? (A kid said to another kid who made a grammatical error, “Where’s your grammar?” He said, “She’s up there with grandpa.”) Do you remember the meaning of the word antecedent? When you have a pronoun doesn’t it refer to the antecedent? Now listen. Let’s read this again. Verse 7 says, “If we walk in the light, as God is in the light (that’s the “he” very clearly)” you’ll notice it says, “we have fellowship with one another.” Most interpreters say, “Oh that means I have fellowship with you, and you have fellowship with me,” but that’s not the antecedent. The antecedent is God. “If we walk in the light (and light here refers to God’s purity and His holiness) as God is in the light (guess what), we have fellowship one with another.” We have fellowship with God and God has fellowship with us. Can it get any better than that?

If you were to die, what would you like to have on your tombstone? Could you imagine a tombstone that says, “He (or she) walked with God”? I think that would be the greatest honor, and it won’t be on mine because I don’t think I am worthy of it, but can you imagine it?

Last evening I was outside praying. There were the stars, and I thought, “Wow! To walk with God!” If I accomplish nothing (if I don’t preach any sermons, if I don’t write any books), but if I can just walk with God and He has fellowship with me and I with Him, that’s the end of it. I mean, there’s nothing more.

Now notice though what the characteristics of darkness are. I’m going to give you some characteristics of darkness that are in verse six and then we are going to go into the characteristics of light, and then I’m going to paint the picture of how you go from darkness to light. Aren’t you glad you joined us today?

First of all, what are the characteristics of walking in darkness? Shame! Some of you were brought up in what could be called a shame-based home where there is alcoholism and drugs and you had to keep the secret for the rest of the family, and you have lived with shame, and that shame dogs you, and that is false shame, by the way. It is shame imposed upon you. Parents have so much power to impose false shame on children. I could give examples, but there are some things that you and I have done that we should be ashamed about. Some shame is good. It should lead us to God, but imagine living your whole life in shame.

Secondly, fear of being discovered and fear of giving up your addiction. I have talked to people who have said, “I am my addiction. The thought of me doing without this bottle is unthinkable.” It is there when you are rich and when you are poor and usually it makes you poor when you are rich, but it is there for you, and so this addiction becomes, you see, the basis of our identity. Some of you are into sexuality in various forms. You say, “The sexuality is who I am. How do you expect me to give that up?” And so you fear what would happen if God were to invade your life.

Let me give you a third characteristic of darkness and that is huge. It is self-deception. In fact, the Bible says here that if we say that we have no sin we make Him a liar. That’s in verse 10, and elsewhere it says we deceive ourselves. In fact, verse 6 says, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness we lie.” Self-deception is huge!

How does an addict live with self-deception? I have a couple of suggestions of self-deception that he lives with. First of all, I can quit whenever I want. I’m in charge. That’s a lie. Of course you are not in charge. The addiction is in charge. You are like Mark Twain who said, “Of course I can give up smoking. I’ve done it a thousand times.” There’s the self-deception that you are in charge when you are not.

Let me give you another characteristic of walking in darkness, and that is consequences. You may say, “I can handle the consequences. I’ll follow the devil today and I’ll deal with God tomorrow and handle the consequences then.” Somebody has said that a man who is committing adultery, who is being unfaithful to his wife, is like somebody who chooses to jump out of the sixtieth floor of a high-rise. After he gets up enough nerve and jumps out of the sixtieth floor he says to himself as he passes the twenty-fifth floor, “Oh, this is great. The exhilaration really is wonderful,” but he’s by the twenty-fifth floor and you know where he’s going—onto the street.

So, you see, addicts rationalize it all. They say, “I can take care of it,” and so what you have is shame, fear, and huge massive self-deception.

Well, if that’s what walking in darkness is, what does walking in light mean? You’ll notice it says, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, and if we deny that part of us that is dark, we can’t have fellowship with Him. We lie and we do not practice the truth, but if we walk in the light as He is in the light, what does that mean? What does it mean to walk in the light? First of all, light reveals to us who we are.

Do you realize that I was born on a farm six miles from a town of 75 people? We as children used to go to town, and going to town was great. The town had a store where we could buy some candy and gum, but it also had a streetlight and you know, as kids, we could move away from the streetlight and there would be this long shadow. In fact, we couldn’t even see the end of the shadow, but as we came closer to the streetlight the shadow became shorter and shorter, and then when we stood right under the streetlight basically there was no shadow. You see, light reveals who we are and that’s because it’s not who I say I am; it’s who God says I am. Light comes, you see, and darkness is what I think of myself, and light is what God thinks of me. He sees me in the light, so as I come to the light with my darkness, the shadows become shorter and suddenly who I am is revealed, and as I stand there I finally acknowledge that God was right about me. But if I deny the shadows and if I don’t admit that there are shadows, then I can’t walk in the light.

You know, light is fascinating. I am just amazed at the light of the sun. I have a number of different suits, all of which are blue, and several of which have stripes. I don’t know how that happened but that’s just the way it is. Sometimes when I dress I take a pair of pants and a suit coat and I look at them and I think, “Yeah, they are a match,” but then I go into the sunlight and I say, “Oy-yoy-yoy! They don’t match.” (laughter) It’s amazing what light does.

In the very same way God’s light shines upon us and suddenly we begin to see what we’re doing. Suddenly we see the consequences. Suddenly we see what we are doing to other people, but mind you, we’ll never see it unless we come to the light. The rationalizations are too deep and too strong, so it reveals who we are and it reveals our path. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” You know, when you are walking along in life in darkness you don’t know where to step next.

By the way, I hope you learn to love the Bible. Are there any Bible lovers out there? (applause) I mean, you take for example there’s a Proverb and there’s also a verse in Psalms (and don’t ask me for the references because I don’t know them right now, but I promise you they are there, and I am paraphrasing now) that say, “The wicked stumble but they don’t know what they are stumbling over.” Of course they don’t, because they are walking in darkness. You know, when you stumble on something in the darkness, you don’t know whether you are stumbling on a stone, a piece of concrete or a piece of gold. You don’t know, and here are people who think that as long as they have lots of money, and lots of sex, and lots of drink, they are supposed to be happy. When they are not happy then they say, “Well, I need some drugs, too, to cover the emptiness that my life creates.” But this has to be the path, so they keep stumbling, stumbling, stumbling and they have no idea why they are stumbling or what they are stumbling after. Light reveals our path.

Now listen. Some of you say, “Pastor Lutzer, if I were to take this sermon really seriously like God wanted me to take it, I’d have to break a sinful relationship I am involved in,” because you are living in an unholy bed. And you say to yourself (like one woman said), “It’s unthinkable for me to give up what I am doing. Ask me to pick up a building and move it to the other side of the street.” Listen, when you come to the light, God begins to show you the path and it is a path, and the light will help you, and the light not only ends up revealing our path, but it also ends up also showing our destination.

You know that the Bible says in the book of Revelation that someday when we are with God we are going to dwell with Him in light. It says, regarding the New Jerusalem, that there is no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it for the Lord God Almighty is the temple of it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, and it says that those who believe in Christ will walk with Him in light.

Live in darkness? Oh! Don’t receive Jesus Christ as Savior? Eternal darkness! Receive Jesus as Savior? Eternal light! Could the contrast be any greater?

So now, how do we make the transition? If we walk in the light, it reveals who we are. It reveals our path. It reveals our destination. How do we make the transition? Here is some practical pastoral help here. 
Number one, we must come to the light when we feel the heat. You see, there are some of you here today who are going to continue to hide, and the reason that you are going to continue to hide is because you still think that your secret—well-guarded that it is—is yours to manage, and if revealed, will hurt you.

On Saturday morning I was listening to a program on WMBI and they spoke with a man who has helped more than three thousand couples overcome adultery and pornography, and one of the things he said that I often suspected (but I never heard anyone say it) is this: He said that most people who are delivered are those who were caught. We usually don’t come on our own. I remember a friend of mine who was involved in an adulterous relationship. He is a very close friend—among my top five or six friends in the world, and he told me later, “A year or two ago I wanted to come to you but I couldn’t.” Oh, he would have spared himself so much grief. Of course he was involved in this and there were consequences, but what happened after was far worse. Don’t wait until you are caught. Come to the light. It’s better to do it that way because it’s only going to get worse.

This past week I received a letter from a woman who said that her brother almost died of a drug overdose seven years ago but she said it so woke him up that today not only has he been sober for seven years, but he’s leading people to faith in Jesus Christ. But why does it take almost death before you come to the light? I hope that this message enables you to feel the heat so that you don’t have to end up splattered against the pavement before you wake up.

So, first of all, what we must do is we must come when we feel the heat. Parenthetically (I should have mentioned it earlier), if you are living with an addict, you really ought to go to one of the various groups that will provide help for you. I received a letter from someone who said that Al-Anon (for example) saved her life. There are groups that help you to understand the chaos that you are dealing with. So, anyway, we must come when we feel the heat.

Secondly, we must come and agree with God. You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, get specific.” Well, I think I was pretty specific, but now I’m going to get even more specific. 
Verse 8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves….” You see, what John is saying is that there are those who walk in the light. They are up to date with God and they believe that they are in fellowship with God. God has fellowship with them, and they begin to think, “You know, I’m perfect.” In fact, there are whole denominations that teach that you can be perfect. Could you imagine, ladies, living with a man who believed he was perfect? It’s not a pretty picture. I remember meeting a man like that. His wife wasn’t at all convinced of his perfection.

It says, “If we say that we have no sin (We say, “Oh, I’m so holy because I walk in the light, I have no sin now.”) we deceive ourselves” because even those who walk in the light still have some darkness that’s still there too. Human beings are very interesting.

But now notice it says in verse 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from each individual unrighteousness.” Now, this was written to Christians, but it’s going to apply to those of you who are investigating Christianity, to those of you who are on the fringes. I’m going to apply it to you in just a moment, but first of all, to those of you who are Christians, this is what it means to confess. It means that you agree with God. You agree with God and you say, “What I am doing is sin; it’s displeasing to You, Lord; it is creating darkness between You and me, and this darkness causes me to run.” You know, there are people who do not want to come to church, and the reason they don’t is because this light begins to shine on them and they don’t want to come to the light and it’s very, very uncomfortable.

When you confess your sins you agree that this is sin; you agree that God has a right to take it from your life forever; you agree totally and say, “Lord, whatever You ask me to do, I am going to do it because I am going to fully and totally agree with You on everything.” That’s the way you walk in the light, and those of you who are believers will know (and it’s true of my experience also) that every day we have to come and we have to say, “Lord, today I want to walk in the light.” And when we walk in darkness, as we sometimes do, we have to bring that darkness to the Lord and say, “Lord, here I am, and I am going to claim this verse that you are going to forgive me and cleanse me.” Don’t just stop at forgiveness. You ladies who have had an abortion, if you stop at forgiveness you are going to be haunted even though you are forgiven, because the text says He is faithful and just to forgive. You need to also accept the cleansing. The cleansing means that our consciences become clear in God’s presence, and so we not only are forgiven, but we sense that we are forgiven and we stand in that forgiveness, because the text says that if we agree with God, this is known as repentance.

The man who helped three thousand couples get out of adultery and pornography said that at the end of the day what is really necessary is deep repentance, and I thought, “Amen, that’s what’s necessary.” All of us need to deeply repent, and we need to repent every day and we have to confess that we agree with God if we are going to walk in the light.

Now, for those of you who have never trusted Christ as Savior, I need to clarify something. You don’t necessarily begin by confessing your sins because there’s no way that you could remember all of your sins. Any one of us could not possibly remember all of our sins. Could you imagine me sitting down and saying, “I want to remember all of my sins”? I mean, I’d have to sit there for at least a year and a half and write them on ten notepapers and then I still wouldn’t have a clue whether I had remembered and listed all of my sins. So what you need to do is to transfer your trust to Jesus. Now, I’ve got some good news for you. Boy, are you in the right place today if you are investigating Christianity, because this is what the Bible says. It says that when Jesus died on the cross His death was a sacrifice for sinners, and, catch this, when we believe in Him as our substitute, having died in our place, and we receive Him as our Savior personally, that we are translated from the domain of darkness into the domain of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). So you see, before you can begin to even walk in the light you have to be translated into the domain of light, the domain of His dear Son, and God alone can translate you from the kingdom of darkness where demons rule and where all the rationalizations take place, to remove you from that kingdom and put you into the kingdom of His beloved Son where you will still have battles as a Christian. There’s no question about it. We’ll have battles. We’ll wrestle with lust and greed and some of these sins until we die, but you are on the winning side, and you know enough about the Christian life to know how to walk in light, to walk in fellowship, to confess your sins when God brings it to your attention, and to be free.

There is something else walking in the light means. It means that we connect with other people. Now notice that the text back in verse 3 says, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also unto you, so that you too may have fellowship with us.” In this context now he’s talking about fellowship with other believers.

One day there was a man in Colorado giving a seminar to help people overcome pornography. I wish I could have attended it but I was giving a seminar simultaneously on a different topic, so I had lunch with him and said, “Tell me what you told them.” I was expecting some brand new great truth that was going to be revolutionary. What he said was, “The best way to overcome is through healthy honest relationships.” You can’t get out of it alone. You need others. You see, that’s why we have the men’s fraternity at Moody Church, and that’s why we have TMC Communities. It’s not as if we do these things because we want to keep people off the streets and find something that they can do. We want you to be able to connect with other believers, and what you must do is take advantage of these opportunities because guess what? You can get in that pit alone but you need others to help you get out of that pit, because you can’t do it alone. And therefore what we encourage you to do greatly is to make sure that you end up in those relationships that are going to be healthy.

Now it is a journey out of addictions. The journey begins by receiving Christ as Savior. It begins by agreeing with God. It begins by confessing to people whom you have wronged. It begins by having your eyes open to the consequences and to giving up this crazy illusion that you are in charge when you are not, and what it means therefore is that through humility and repentance before God, and as necessary before others, you finally come out of the darkness.

I’ve never yet met a person who is in an addiction where God delivered him or her and they said, “You know, I’m delivered from my addiction, but it wasn’t worth the cost. The exposure was just too much,” or “It just hurt too much.” No, no, no! Imagine being free. Imagine walking in the light.

So this God, about whom we know so little, has revealed Himself in His Holy Word so that we can have fellowship with him. And He has fellowship with us because He loves us and He wants to connect with us even more than we want to connect with Him. Could it get any better than that? Could it? I don’t think so.

Finally, what you need to do is to get found. I love the little book Robert Fulghum wrote entitled, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. He said that in October when he was a child he and his friends would play hide and seek under the leaves. He said, “There was always one kid who hid so well that nobody could find him. Eventually the others gave up on him. When he finally showed up they would explain there is a hiding but there is also a finding, and he was not to hide in such a way that he could not be found.” Then Fulghum says, “As I write this the neighborhood game goes on and there is a kid under a pile of leaves in the yard just under my window. He’s been there a long time now and everybody else is found and they are about to give up on him. I considered going out to the pile of leaves and telling them where he was hiding, and I thought even about setting the leaves on fire to drive him out (laughter). Finally, I just yelled, ‘Get out, kid. Get found.’ And it scared him so bad he probably started crying and ran home to tell his mother. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to be helpful.”

Today God led you here. Today God led you to listen to this message by whatever means you are listening to it. Get found. Open up to God. Tell Him you want to walk in the light.

Father, take these words, we ask, and burn them into the souls of all those for whom they were intended, and let us not go until we walk in the light.

Now before I conclude this message and this prayer, I am talking now to you who have heard it. Would you talk to God right now? If you have never received Christ as Savior, open your life to Him and say, “Lord Jesus, today I receive You as Savior.” Would you do that? “I believe that You died for me. I want to be translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.” Tell God that right now. 
You want to be free. For those of you who are believers and you are walking in darkness, come to the light right now. Tell God that.

Father, we need You. Amen.

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