In my much younger days I thought it might actually be possible for me to change folks. Change myself even.
Don’t freak out upon reading these first sentences, please stay with me for a moment!
Like so many new Christians I pretty well thought a genuine prayer and confession of faith in Jesus Christ would begin, seal and end my journey of need.
I mean, I understood nobody would be perfect or sinless after praying such a prayer, but along with God’s forgiveness it seemed miracles were constant, continual and “it’s all in God’s hands so that’s that”.
Like many, I figured there might be some sort of spiritual formula, a fail-safe way of “fixing” this or that part of human sin nature to the extent temptations would fairly disappear. I mean, I knew they wouldn’t but hoped for such a conclusion.
Plenty of people ask me for help and I try to do what I can, but I also have learned there are no absolutely successful ways for anyone to change to the positive unless they are personally ready and committed to change.
Love is not about formulas, it’s about relationships. Relationships with God (THE real, true, perfect One) and people (sometimes phony, on occasion liars, all sinners and capable of deep ignorance) are BOTH messy. Messy re. people because we are. Messy with God due to -us-, not Him!!
So when a bro recently wrote to me asking about an addiction problem I thought it best to respond via Sean Connery’s line in The Untouchables: “What are you prepared to do?”
If one is not prepared to take whatever steps are essential to one’s deliverance, to take the hard choices and walk the often uphill journey to healing, change and spiritual growth, it will never happen. No amount of anything or anyone will “fix” it.
A personal epiphany and surrender to God and His truth (what HE thinks, says and does, His commands as well as His promises) is the beginning of freedom. Until and unless that, recovery, a new life, a truly changed person (in the best sense) isn’t going to happen.
There’s a massive difference between discovery of an alphabet vs. writing a masterpiece novel. The fist step of a marathon isn’t the victorious finish line. We DO have to start somewhere -but you get my point.
This little thing called “free will”, the biblical concept of “Today, choose who you will serve”, the individual and corporate ability to make choices never ends as long as we have breath and walk the earth.
Because it’s difficult, a journey filled with thorns, side-trails, a thousand obstacles, crosses, people who think you’re crazy to even try, or care, or that you REALLY should live in the same sin they do… well you understand it’s a road less traveled and in some senses, for good reason.
There came a day I realized nobody could help me in any real sense until I surrendered to Jesus and truly handed Him the keys, the entirety of my life best I understood what that meant at the time.
That was the beginning of my (thank GOD for GRACE!) sobriety. He has been (Psalms) “my sustainer” and in that He never changes, I am changed in the process of this continuing relational journey.
There are many tools, scripture, prayer, accountability partners, mentors, books, Twelve Step and more help that indeed work- but it’s about moment-by-moment willingness to walk the walk.
One can technically memorize and even know all this… like being married but constantly running after someone other than your spouse.
Being clean and sober isn’t a mystery as much as a walk, a surrender and a “turning our lives over to the care of God”. He truly cares. Do you or I? How much?
That, my friends, is the cross and indeed, prelude to resurrection… in a genuine sobriety.
Things to think about 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn