Still an Addict
Acts 20:7-9 Paul… prolonged his speech until midnight… And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer… and he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
I see defect everywhere. It is safe to say that I am obsessed with that which causes us destruction and distracts us from God. I am, as it turns out, quite good at seeing defects in those around me (Never mind that this can be quite annoying, I am good at it). I often see defects that others cannot see themselves. This worries me. What if I am blind to my own defects?
I asked my wife after yesterday’s blog if I ever come across as arrogant. I am aware that there are probably few things more irritating than a recovered addict who knows everything. I know I made a mess of life yesterday, but today I have it all figured out…
My wife assured me that my blog was not arrogant, but later, a few other encounters confirmed my suspicions. The truth is, I am often prideful. The longer I live without drugs, the more prideful I am tempted to be. At least when I was using, I was humbled by my terrible behavior. Now that I have am not using, I am proud of that. Look how well I’ve recovered... I still have addictive behavior though. It may be focused in less destructive avenues, but anyone who knows me, knows how maddening it can be to hear about my blog or CrossFit. I have just aimed my addictive personality in more productive directions. I still have my defects.
Paul too, retained his defects. Though he wrote much of the New Testament, spreading the gospel far and wide, he still had his faults. He was short-tempered, stubborn, long-winded and probably more than a little prideful. In the book of Acts, Luke portrayed Paul’s human side. More than once he mentioned Paul’s short temper and in today’s passage, he twice pointed out how long Paul droned on and on. In the story, Paul spoke so long that he lulled a man to sleep, literally killing him with the length of his speech, as Eutychus fell out of a third story window. Paul had the decency to revive the man, but still, Paul had his defects.
Why does God not remove all our defects when we come to him? I have often found the defects of Christians to be confusing. I have known great men and women who retained glaring defects and imperfections. How could such a man (or woman) of God still struggle so obviously? What is wrong with him (or her)? I thought these faults were exceptions, but they prove to be the rule.
The truth is, we are all a bit of a paradox. We have the very spirit of God in us, but we carry it in these defective jars of clay (2 Cor 4:7). God, in his wisdom, allows our defects to remain so that we remain dependent on him. He allows all to continue in some struggle so that no one person becomes god-like in our eyes. No one has it all figured out.
If I were made free of my defect tomorrow, I would become a devil in my pride. I may no longer be using drugs, but I still have my defects and addictions. As long as I remain aware of my defects, I remain aware that I need God as desperately today as I did three years ago.