Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
I have mistakenly thought this passage meant that I was delivered from my addiction when I came to Christ. I paid a painful price for my error in my relapse. As an addict, it is disastrous to accept the belief that I no longer struggle.
Though some are miraculously delivered from a defect, miracles, by definition are not the normal experience. The normal experience, is that we can all identify with defects which we wish were gone but are not. Everyone has some struggle.
Jesus insisted that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38). Paul taught that we are to continually put to death and put off the old self (Col. 3:5-9). Why would they tell us to crucify the old self if we were already delivered from it? What does today’s passage mean?
What it means, is that in my spirit life, that part of me that will last an eternity, I am forgiven and delivered. This passage does not say that the destructive defects of my flesh nature are all magically removed. As long as I dwell in this flesh, I will have some destructive appetite for donuts, sex and drugs. I have a perfect spirit life, but I carry it in this defective vessel.
Deliverance is not a once-for-all experience. It is not some exercise of the mind where I simply convince myself to accept a thing. I experience deliverance only when I follow Christ’s command to daily deny self and follow him. I do not experience deliverance by pursuing me, changing nothing, and then whispering this verse as a mystical phrase.
If I want to live free from my destructive behavior, I must continually do whatever it takes to abandon that behavior to follow Christ. He transforms me as I follow him but I will not be made perfect in this life. As I follow Christ, He daily delivers me from myself.