December is always a special time of year because we anticipate the Savior’s birth, but it’s extra-special for me because it marks the anniversary of the death of someone who was a real sore trial to me: me.
Thirty years ago, I became a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, and died to myself.
I was not raised in a Christian household. The extent of my religious upbringing was dad telling me that God could be a beer can, therefore, I was not accountable to anyone and did whatever I wanted, not aware that I would eventually wreck my life and the lives of others.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
For my first thirty-one years, I did what I thought was right in my own eyes, not heeding the counsel of those who tried to steer me onto a straighter road, not realizing that “in the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls….” (Proverbs 22:5)
I had two stated goals before my death:
#1: Live life on the edge.
#2: Find out the dark side of life.
Both were achieved in short order.
I pursued an acting career, changed my name to Steve Sage, discovered meth, then addiction.
Failed in Hollywood and reduced to selling stereo equipment out of the back of my car, another name change was warranted: Stereo Steve.
High on speed, I stayed up for two to three days at a time, befriending other addicts, gang-bangers and ne’er do-wells. One robbed me at shotgun-point. Another smashed my face against the steering wheel of my Camaro. But, I was free, unchained, and living the good life…until it all came crashing down after I broke into the home of a fellow druggie—in broad daylight—and stole a Video Cassette Recorder.
“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” (Proverbs 26:12)
Jesus got a hold of me in a Mojave Desert hotel room, when panicked, depressed and suicidal, I reached into a bedside table, pulled out a Gideon’s Bible and accidentally opened to Jeremiah 17, where God spoke directly to my heart:
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’”
On December 2, 1990, I gave in, bowed down, and looked up.
“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me,” Isaiah wrote. “I was found by those who did not seek me.”
In church, after hearing a gospel message from the pastor, I understood that Jesus saves sinners, confessed Him as my Lord and Savior, then all my sins were washed away. God declared me righteous because of my belief in His Son Jesus and his death on the cross.
The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Steve Sage was dead; Stereo Steve, too. In fact, the old Steve Sanchez perished as well.
The Babe in the manger we celebrate every 12th month of the year is God in human form who came down to save all those who would put their trust in Him for forgiveness of sins. He gave me the greatest gift ever: eternal life and new life in Him.
Have you accepted his free gift of forgiveness? Do you understand that Baby King Jesus came to earth to save you and change you forever?
And I promise to forever tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere.