Philippians 1:6, "...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
I met a man from Pennsylvania on the streets of Texas today. He was a man who had received Jesus as his Savior, but had made some wrong decisions in his life. He did 5 years in prison as a result of several DWI's. He has been fighting alchohol addiction for quite some time. At the time I talked with him he had been dry for 13 days.
After discussing this with him, I found what I thought might be the problem. He was trying to defeat alchoholism so that he would be accepted by God, not understanding that he was already accepted because he was in Christ.
Paul tells us in Romans chapter 7 about the struggle he had when as a child of God he sought to approach God through obedience to the law. He found that by doing this that he would do what he didn't want to do, and not do what he wanted to do. He found only frustration.
I told the brother in Christ that I was talking to that his approach was all wrong. He was already accepted by God as a result of what Jesus did at the cross. Jesus took all of his sins and nailed them to the cross and paid the penalty in full for all of them. When he asked Jesus to save him from judgment, Jesus credited His righteousness to his account and made him acceptable to a just and righteous God. God then adopted him as His child, sealed him by the Holy Spirit, and gave him a sure hope and future. It was important for him now to discover what God's unfailing love was all about, and learn to walk as a child of God, not trying to become a child of God.
Paul tells us 3 very important truths in Philippians 1:6. First, it is God who began a good work in us. Second, God will complete what He started. Third, what I had overlooked for a long time: it is God who carries on the work.
That's what I encouraged this man with. God had never left him, no matter the mistakes. God would never leave. God was with Him now, carrying on the work.
Pray for him, that he would discover more and more what it means to have God's unfailing love, and as a result find victory over the things he doesn't want in his life anymore.