Confessions of a Hungover Saint
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:11
Saturday morning hangovers used to ruin my entire weekend. What started out as a way to relax and have fun on Friday, nine out of ten times, got out of control. It didn’t matter if my Friday evening consisted of meeting up with some friends for dinner at a local restaurant, or drinking at home, I could never figure out how to drink normally. You know? Like two or three beers and be done?
“What is wrong with me?” was a regular Saturday morning statement I said in self-pity as I once again had to lay on the couch all day because of the pain. Sometimes I’d fake it and go do stuff on Saturday, but the physical and mental agony was real. I had even gotten to the point where I gauged my hangovers:
- “I’m not really hungover.”
- “I’m not drinking the rest of the weekend.”
- “I’m never drinking again. I need to get some help.”
This insane cycle continued until I was 32 years old. I’m 37 now, and all along what I should have been asking myself—rather than “What’s wrong with me?”—is “What’s right with me?”
Now this is the question God really wanted me to be answering! The truth was, yes, my alcoholic actions and attitudes were wrong, but I was right in every way. My identity, that is. How can I be so bold to say such a thing?…Because God said it, and God cannot lie. He doesn’t half-way remake us, we become complete from the moment we receive Christ (see Colossians 2:9,10). We receive Christ, by grace, through faith, once (see Ephesians 2:8,9, Hebrews 10:10).
The self-righteous folk who are centered on behavior can’t fathom this. They cannot compute that God would be so brash as to make us holy by birth, rather than by bodily movements and geographic positioning. They, like the Pharisees, without Christ in their reborn spirit, won’t make it into eternity with us who are sanctified in full (see Matthew 7:21-23, 1 Corinthians 6:11,17).
Even though I struggled with this particular sin, alcoholism, I was not sinful. Me. My identity. I did not know this because of the lies of supposed Bible teachers. They had twisted the Scripture to their liking, for their Christian country clubs, without expressing the truth of what Jesus really does to a person’s spirit instantly by faith. Which is recreates them, then makes His home in them (see Romans 6:6-10, John 14:20, Colossians 3:3).
I was taught to shape up or ship out. Fury and resentment flooded my mind because of such. I could never be good enough and they made that clear. They commingled what I did with who I was, while sanctimoniously doing the same for themselves. When I finally found out the truth, that I had been perfectly cleansed forever since I first believed, I was ultra-mad at them (see Hebrews 10:14). But over time, the Spirit taught me to forgive them because forgiveness is a natural thing for a saint–and that is what I am. That is what every Christian is, equally. Even them, if they believed at some point or another.
The same grace they were against–or refused to teach clearly by mixing in behavior repentance in order to achieve and sustain–Christ was teaching me I had to hand out to them. Talk about an explosion in my mind. But, after that atomic bomb went off, peace flooded my thinking. They needed to experience God’s grace from me. So I needed to begin thinking of quasi-grace teachers with the same love that Christ thinks of me with, genuinely. I’m still learning how to do this and Jesus is walking with me, teaching me day by day.
“Matthew, don’t attack. Don’t belittle. Don’t criticize. Show them grace because I love them too.”
“Okay. Help me. Please. Do this through me.”
The truth was, from the moment I first believed in His forgiveness as a young boy, my spirit immediately died in the spiritual realm. It was crucified, buried, and resurrected with Jesus—connected to Him for good—never to be undone by my unholy choices or mindsets! I had inherited as a free gift His own righteousness! (See Romans 5:17, 6:6-10, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17,21).
This new spirit of mine, the spirit I received in the 80’s, was and is holy, blameless, and complete! It is reborn of God, never to go back to not being His child because birth is final! We cannot sin our way out of being born! We cannot turn our back on being born! Neither can we “un-believe” we’ve been born! So, unchangeable holiness is what we have to deal with rather than the fear of no longer being a child of God! (See Colossians 1:22, 2:9,10, John 1:12, 3:6,7, 2 Timothy 2:13).
…Getting drunk all the time would never feel right to me because I was a new creation who was not made to be controlled by a liquid. Truth be told, drinking was something the Spirit of Christ within me didn’t want me to do at all. Sure, some people can have a few and be done, they can drink just as much as Jesus drank, but not me. God revealed this in my spirit, convincing me that I should never drink another drop–and I gotta tell ya, I wish I didn’t wait so long. Life is good, even when it’s tough. Why? Because worrying about alcohol or its effects on me is never something I have to deal with, ever. What a relief!
So today, my friends, know this: If this sounds like something you needed to hear today, don’t wait any longer to begin living out your true self, saint. If you’ve believed Jesus forgave you, He did, once and for all time, and you are now a saint. You are a holy person, spotless and set apart from the world. Yes, you. I’m not referring to you with just a Jesus filter on, but you, yourself, you are good! You are a brand new, heaven-ready, self-controlled coheir with the Son of God! Now live out who you truly are on the inside! Live free, because that’s what you are!
A prayer for you: Dad, I feel so much JOY inside! When I think about what you’ve done, I want to type with exclamation points and all caps in every sentence! You sent your own Son here to die a death He didn’t deserve so that I can live my life in the most abundant way possible! I AM FREEEEEEEEEE! Thank you! Thank you for new life! Thank you for teaching me that I HAD THIS LIFE ALL ALONG FROM WHEN I FIRST BELIEVED! It is YOU! It is YOUR SPIRIT IN ME!…But I must calm down for a moment. I want to pray for those who aren’t enjoying the freedom you’ve given them. I’ve been there, and you know it. The enemy can blind us to who we really are, your kids. He sees our spirit, that it glows like Christ, so he lies to us ABOUT us. Sometimes he even uses Scripture, by taking it out of context. But, once we’ve placed our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we instantly become one with you. You remake us as sinless spirits, then join us. Teach them that, Father. Reveal the truth of what you’ve done to them. You’ve recreated them IN Christ. They are NOT addicted, they are free. Renew their addicted THINKING to this truth. Teach them that self-control IS within them. It’s Jesus. Reveal the omnipotent power that lies within their hearts. Comfort them. Lift them up. Help them to grow in your grace and in confidence. Let them know you’ll never leave them, no matter what they do or where they go. You’re committed. You made this commitment at the Cross, and they’ve inherited the benefits by faith. Help them come to understand they’ve been reborn. Let them know they ARE free, and that they HAVE new life–YOUR life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 1. Check out my other bestselling books here!