If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods . . . and direct your heart to the Lord . . .I Samuel 7:3
When I first encountered recovery, my commitment was less than stellar. I sort-of wanted sobriety, but I still wanted to be able to indulge here and there. I got what I put into recovery – very little. My occasional indulgence and lackluster commitment led me straight back to active addiction in little time.
Most of us are like this. Though we are burdened by some struggle and though we would like to be free from its destructive consequences, we really are not willing to do what it takes to get there. So, we do little and we pray, asking that God would magically take away our appetite for drugs, food, anger, lust, resentment, money, status or affirmation.
We want God, but we don’t want to get too crazy and above all, we don’t want to disrupt our lives. We wish to maintain dignity and we do not want anyone to know. We desire God’s miraculous intervention to come without any cost to us.
Samuel, God’s prophet in today’s passage, addressed this sort-of faith. In the passage, the Israelites had again wandered and suffered painful consequences. Samuel told them there was but one way out. Put away your foreign gods and follow God with everything that you are. Half-measures are of no use. You do not sort-of follow God.
If I want change and if I want God, then I must be willing to do whatever it takes to get there. God draws near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8). If I want to leave behind the old mess and follow Christ, I cannot over-commit to this and I cannot take it too seriously.
Those of us who have struggled know this. We have given our half-baked efforts and found they are of no use. If we want freedom from ourselves and if we want God, He is there, but we cannot cling to the old life while trying to find the new one.