When Does God Move?
Luke 17:14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
In the height of my addiction, I hated what I was doing and I hated who I was. I daily begged God to take my addiction from me and I was angry with him when He did not. Why did He not move? Why did He just sit there allowing me to continue in my destruction? I became bitter at God for his failure.
Today’s passage, tells of ten men with leprosy who asked Jesus for healing. He responded, not by healing them, but by giving them a command that they could obey or disobey. Go and show yourselves to the priests. The narrative is clear. They were not yet healed at this point. They were not healed until they started moving. As they went they were cleansed.
God did not move in them until they moved towards God. Had they refused Jesus’ command, I have no doubt they would have remained in their condition.
This is where I found myself in my addiction. I wanted magical, instant healing with no disruption to the rest of my life. I was unwilling to acknowledge my addiction, tell my wife, go to treatment or change anything. I only wanted my addiction gone. I demanded that God fix me as I continued to wallow in self.
To this demand, God said no. Had he magically changed me and taken my addiction from me, I would not have understood my part in the relationship. The truth is, I desperately need God continually. I need him now as much as I did then. I daily, must remain aware of that need and I must daily seek God. Had He instantly removed my defect with no disruption to my self-centered life, I would never have come to understand this truth.
God loves us and He longs for us to live in a very real relationship with him. He wants us to daily abandon self to follow him. If He just removes every need we have without ever causing us to follow, we will become more and more addicted to self. We will just use God whenever we have some need, making him a genie in the lamp.
If I have a need, I must go to God, asking for his help, but also asking what He wants me to do. I am not saying that God helps those who help themselves. I am saying that God moves in me when I move towards him. I am saying that God often will not work in me until I am willing to obey him. This will mean radical change on my part. It may mean that I confess my destruction, go to treatment, change jobs or change friends. Radical transformation requires radical obedience. If nothing changes, nothing changes.
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.