What Does Circumcision Have to do with Addiction and Faith?
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. Deuteronomy 10:16
I often write of how faith must lead to some apparent change in our lives or it is not truly faith. The temptation for many of us then, is to change some behavior to prove our faith. I don’t drink or smoke, so I must be a pretty good Christian. Just as an alcoholic can sober up without truly finding recovery though, we can clean up our behavior without every really knowing God.
God, speaking through Moses, explained this in today’s passage. God had previously commanded the Israelites to be circumcised as a sign that they were set apart for Him. The temptation for the Israelites must have been then, to use that one act to define their faith. We obeyed that command God. We’re good now, right?
God said He does not simply want us to obey a set of commands though. God loves us, and He longs for us to obey Him because we love Him and desire to follow Him. He wants following Him to be an act of the heart and not just a superficial gesture.
If I saw a physician using a stethoscope, I should not just assume that carrying a stethoscope would make me a physician. While true faith will surely lead to a change in behavior, simply changing a behavior to prove my faith, is akin to picking up the stethoscope and thinking I am a physician.
In my addiction, God certainly wanted me to stop using drugs, but sobering up did not make me find Him. Finding Him did involve abandoning drugs though.
What God asks of us, is not just rule following for the sake of the rules. Rather, He wants us to follow Him because we love Him. Circumcision of the heart then, is cutting away everything in our lives that does not lead us to Him, not because we simply want to follow the rules, but because we long to know and love God.