Deliverance: Am I Fixed or Not?
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Within Christianity, there are opposing views on the nature of sin, the flesh and addiction. There are those who believe that we are delivered once and for all from our defective nature when we come to Christ. To be a Christian means that you cannot be an addict as, No one who abides in him keeps on sinning (1 John 3:6). Verses like 2 Corinthians 5:17 seem to suggest that we achieve perfection when we become Christians. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
The opposing view sees our defective flesh nature as something which we will wrestle with our entire lives. When we are born again, we are given a new spirit life but we have this treasure in jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). Jesus insisted that The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Likewise, Paul said the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Thus, addiction, like other defects of our flesh, may influence us for life.
So which is it? I know those who claim deliverance from their addiction when they came to Christ. They report absolutely no desire to use again and they have years of sobriety to back up that claim.
I also know some that have claimed deliverance, only to return to addiction. I am one of those. When I first came to know addiction, I read a popular Christian book which taught that I could be delivered from my defect if I would just believe that I had already been delivered. I claimed deliverance and I stuck my head in the proverbial sand, only to return to my addiction as it had, in fact, not gone away.
At that point, I had to ask, Am I even a Christian? Christians do not act like this. If I was in Christ, I would be a new creation. No one who abides in him (God) keeps on sinning… Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil (1 John 3). I was distraught and I needed answers.
Most of us know of this struggle. Most of us can identify with Paul when he says, For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (Romans 7:19). We all have something in us that we hate and wish we would not do but we keep doing it anyway. I think even those who claim deliverance from addiction would acknowledge that they still have other defects.
It is of course my view that sin is a disease of our flesh that will affect us until we die. I believe Jesus taught this and I believe this is why He taught us to pray this way: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Our flesh desires that which is opposed to our spirit life. If we daily feed the flesh life, we will live in it, sowing its destructive seeds. If, however, we follow God daily, we sow the seeds of the spirit life, growing his life in us. Thus, I am delivered daily from my own flesh. I may always live under the influence of my flesh, but I do not have to live enslaved to it.
Thankfully, I rarely struggle with any temptation to use drugs today. Some see that as permanent deliverance. I know however, that if I started sowing the wrong seeds, addiction would rear its ugly head again. That is why I constantly need God. I live in a broken flesh and the only solution for me is to remain dependent on the God who delivers me daily. It is my constant need that keeps me constantly dependent on him. If I were made perfect tomorrow, I would become a devil as I would no longer need God. So, I embrace my need as it drives me to God daily.