Does God Heal My Defects or Must I Work at This?
Luke 5:11 …They left everything and followed him.
Yesterday, I asked the question, Does God heal me or do I need to go to treatment? I was referring to drug addiction, but I trust the application to our other defects is obvious. If I struggle with anxiety or pride, does God miraculously remove those defects, or do they remain? Am I responsible to seek treatment? Or, is it faithless to get help with my defects?
I want the quick fix. I prayed many times for God to just heal me from my addiction as He healed the lepers. He did not. Did God fail me? No, it was not that God was unwilling, it was that I was unwilling. I just wanted a magical fix for my life problems. I was not willing to obey, confess or change anything.
Most of us can identify with this. Whether it is anger, lust, greed, or an appetite for donuts, we have all prayed for God to remove our defects once-for-all. Thus, we have come to know the disappointment of not being healed.
Jesus did heal many instantly, but we are repeatedly told in the New Testament that the answer to the flesh is to abandon self and follow God. We are to walk by the Spirit (sow the seeds of the spirit) and we are to crucify the works of the flesh (abandon self). The reality is, our defects are inherent to our flesh and will remain until death. God often allows us to remain in our need so we constantly need him. As long as we live in this flesh, we will have appetites of the flesh. Donuts are always going to taste good.
So, what good does God do for me? He frees me from slavery to myself. He gives me the only adequate replacement for pursuing satisfaction in me. I am delivered from my defects daily if I keep my eyes on him instead of self. It is only in God that I find the answer to my deepest life needs. While I pursue him, I find pleasure, joy and life the right way. He frees me from pursuing instant gratification in my destructive desires. This is how God heals me.
So, back to my original question: Do I need AA, the 12-steps or even treatment? I cannot tell you if you need treatment for your addiction or counseling for your anger. I can tell you that you bear the responsibility to do whatever it takes to abandon self and follow Christ. He works his transformation when you show your faith in obedience.
For me, that meant going to treatment. He did not change me until I took radical steps to abandon self. Treatment and the 12-steps were a tool that God used to teach me how to abandon self and follow him. I understand that the nebulous idea of a higher power offends some, but I always knew who my higher power was. The truth is, the 12-steps are radically biblical principles, which promote our need for God.
We should never tell anyone who is working at abandoning self (to follow Christ) that they are working too hard at it. We should not insist that faith means sitting back and doing nothing. Just as the disciples left all to follow Christ, we too, are to abandon the old and follow him.
So, my original question is loaded. God does heal us but He may use treatment to do so. He frees us from slavery to self but may or may not remove the defect. If you and I want miraculous healing, we should pray for it. Then, we need to do whatever it takes to leave behind the old and follow Christ. If we do that, we will know freedom. Our defects may or may not go, but we will know freedom if we abandon self and follow Christ.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.