For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. - Romans 7:18
Before following Christ, Nan Nan loved to play cards. She was a full-time housewife who took her daughter to and from school. She spent idle time playing cards at a place opposite to her house. To kill time and earn money from the pockets of other people, she became addicted to playing cards.
After accepting Jesus, she believed her hobby was not beneficial to herself, her family or God, but after many attempts she failed to stop playing. After abstaining for a few days, she gave into temptation and came back to the card table.
Her husband said, "You, need to first stop eating before you can get rid of your addiction." Indeed, her addiction was as important as her desire for meals.
Later a pastor came to preach in her county church, saying that some people had turned to evil habits and were engaged in playing cards and gambling, all the while knowing they were sinning. While some of them went to worship at church, they played cards at home, greedy for money.
The pastor's word pierced her heart. As a Christian, she immediately felt ashamed. Though the pastor did not mean to criticize her personally, she became unhappy because playing cards and gambling were sins and her actions were not finding favor in the eyes of God.
She determined to quit the habit, vowing not to gamble any more and to live a new Christian life. However, the devil occupied her heart. Giving in to the unceasing coaxing and pestering of her poker buddies, she resumed her hobby.
Soon after she resumed playing cards again, a pastor gave a sermon in her church. Nan asked him earnestly, "Pastor Wang, I want to get rid of the cards, but the addiction is in my heart, what should I do?"
Taking out the Bible, the pastor showed her a verse, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? The Holy Spirit comes from God and dwells in your midst..."
Fearful of God and the future judgement for herself, she was resolved to abstain from playing cards and be a person whom God could take pleasure in. Giving up was easier said than done.
The temptation was great, but she refused to go with her friends who tried many times to drag her back into the games.
Now that she has been successful in giving up playing cards, she has become involved in full-time ministry. Thanks to her outstanding performance, she has been promoted to serve as the chairperson of a committee on her church board, in charge of finance.
- Translated by Karen Luo