Several weeks later, I was hanging out with one of my new friends from church. Over the past several weeks, I had been making many new friends that were of the same belief, and they were encouraging me and helping build up my faith.
One this one particular Sunday evening, my good friend James Korzelius (whose music is really should check out) started telling me about the Holy Spirit. And he walked me through the Bible, specifically the book of Acts, showing me the power of the Holy Spirit as written in God’s word.
This was a whole new thought to me. The church that I grew up in, the churches that I was exposed to, never taught this. But it is in the word. I remember thinking, “Wait a minute. God is real. God is really real. God is supernatural.”
Now I knew that the devil was supernatural. I spent several years dabbling in the occult. I’ve seen demons. I’ve spoken to demons. I knew a few demons by name. I even had an on and off again conversation with one demon for almost a year and a half through automatic writing (though at the time I didn’t know it was a demon.) I’ve seen friends attacked by demons. I can go on and on with this subject. I knew that Satan was supernatural.
And I knew that God was real. He had proved Himself real to me time and again by now. But I never really thought about God being supernatural. So as my friend was showing me the scriptures in the book of Acts, my resounding thought was, “God is real. God is supernatural. I’ve got to get me some of this.”
At the time, my church was having prayer services on Monday nights, which was the next day. So I went to the service, and during the service, I went up to the man who was leading the service, and said, “I need to get baptized in the Holy Spirit.” He laid his hands on me and I was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit. According to others, I went out for almost an hour.
The feeling I felt was amazing. It was better than any alcohol or drug that I had ever had. Looking back, I now know that when I prayed the prayer to ask Jesus into my life, I saw and heard the Holy Spirit coming upon me. And when the associate pastor laid his hands on me to pray for me regarding my suicidal thoughts and depression, I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
What I’ve learned since then is the Holy Spirit is the very power of God working and moving in your life. It all boils down to this question: how much of God do you want? For me, I want all of God that I can get. He healed me. He literally saved my life, for I would be dead without Him. At the very least, I would still be strung out on drugs and still living a life of darkness, depression, and the never-ending, never-escaping feeling of wanting to die. But even when I cursed and despised Him, He still loved me enough to send His Son to die for me. And there is nothing that makes me any different from you. The love that He has for me is the same love that He has for each and every one of you. Jesus dying on the cross and raising from the dead 3 days later is the very thing that we celebrate on Easter Sunday.
For the next month or so, I was at every service the church had to offer. I was in the word daily, praying daily. And I was feeling that it was time to stop smoking. I started smoking when I was twelve, and during the years I was doing drugs, I smoked over a pack a day. So I decided to try and quit and quit cold turkey.
For the next 2 weeks, I was a nervous wreck. I would greet people with, “I’m trying to quit smoking, so don’t piss me off.” It was probably the hardest thing I had done in my life up to that time. But it did not last. After 2 weeks, I was back to smoking a pack a day.
Not long after that, a few weeks or so, I was at work taking a break, smoking my second cigarette of the day. I worked at a grocery story, and I was in the back in the shipping and receiving area. I was sitting down, watching it burn, and I heard this, “Put it out, throw your pack away, and rely on Me for your strength and endurance.”
I’m telling you I heard this audibly, loud enough that I looked up and around to see who said that. There was no one there. So I sat back down and returned to watching the cigarette burn. And again, I heard, “Put it out, throw your pack away, and rely on Me for your strength and endurance.” I heard this just as audibly as before.
Now I’m not the smartest chip on the block, but the second time I heard this, I knew it was God speaking to me. I sat for a moment considering this and then chose to be obedient. I put the cigarette out, and walked over to the trash can, pulling the pack of cigarettes out of my pocket. I held the pack over the trash can and prayed.
“Lord, I know what you are asking me to do, and I’ve already tried this before. It was very hard for me. But I am choosing to be obedient to you. I need you to be my strength and endurance through this time because I know that I cannot do it in and of myself.”
And I threw the pack away.
I stand before you telling you that just as I was instantly delivered from drugs, that morning at work I was instantly delivered from smoking. I had no desire or craving from that moment on.
I’ve shared this story before to someone who was a critic, and their response was that many people quit smoking. But I’m not talking quitting here. People who quit still go through the withdrawals of nicotine craving, like I did when I tried to quit on my own will power. But this wasn’t quitting as in putting one’s willpower over the cravings. This was in one moment having the nicotine craving, and in the next moment, no longer having that craving.
These are the key moments of my transition of rejecting God and not believing in Him to believing in Him, accepting Jesus as Lord, and living for Him. These are the foundations that my life since has been built on. My life has been so amazing since then, exceedingly above and beyond all that I could ask or think of, the greatest life imaginable. I pray that this blesses you and encourages you.