The Levites have no portion among you, for the priesthood of the Lord is their heritage. Joshua 18:7
Most of us who have lived in addiction have known the desperate desire for freedom. Why then, were we not willing to do whatever it took to find it? This is the nature of addiction: an unhealthy attachment to a thing that we know we need to give up . . . but we can’t.
Most of us know this struggle. Though we want something – weight loss, patience, humility, self-control – we remain unwilling to give up that which holds us back. We want one thing, but as long as we cling to another, we will not get there.
For me, this is the lesson of today’s passage. In it, the 12 tribes of Israel divided up the promised land. Eleven of the tribes were allotted specific territories but the Levites were left out. They were assigned to be priests, inheriting the privilege of a special relationship with God.
In giving them nothing else, God severed the Levites unhealthy attachment to earthly riches, leaving them free to find their joy, purpose and meaning in Him alone. Jesus later reinforced this truth when He insisted that it is the poor who are blessed (Luke 6:20).
I am occasionally asked why I am so obsessed with my destructive flesh nature. My obsession rises from the knowledge that the one thing standing in the way of being who I am supposed to be in Christ, is me. It is my own unhealthy attachments that prevent me from following God as I should.
Daily, Christ commanded, we are to deny self so that we may follow Him (Luke 9:23). It is only in doing this that we can live free of our unhealthy attachments so that we may find life and joy in Christ. We must continually identify and abandon those things which hold us back. If we are not doing this, we are not, by Christ’s definition, living as disciples.
We will not follow Christ perfectly in this life, but we do not need to live enslaved to our own unhealthy attachments. If we will continually deny ourselves to follow Him, we can know the joy, purpose and meaning that He intends for us.