Faith is Hard
I will go to the king . . . and if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16
I hear this not infrequently in Christian circles, regarding drug addiction: It’s simple. Just believe in Christ and your free. What’s odd to me, is that those I hear saying it, still struggle with food, tobacco or pride, just like the rest of us. Though most addicts desperately want to believe that faith means easy sobriety, the truth is, most of us will continue to struggle with something, even after coming to Christ.
Why is this? Isn’t faith easy? I believed, and I still relapsed. Why? My mistake has been in my definition of faith. In this, today’s passage has helped me to understand how difficult faith can be.
In the story, Esther, a Jew taken captive by the Persians, was chosen to be queen. This put her in a position of influence with the king when a plot was hatched to exterminate the Jews. Esther knew that going to the king would risk her own life. Obedience to God’s will required tremendous faith as she had no guarantee that she would survive. I will do this, even if it kills me.
Esther has helped me to see that faith is not just a thought in my head. Faith is believing a thing and then living it out. For years, I lived as if faith was just an acceptance of a reality. I believe. Easy! Now I’m free. The problem, was that my knowledge didn’t translate into change and I continued down my road of destruction.
Christ said that anyone who wants to follow Him must crucify himself daily (Luke 9:23). This is hard, and I am suspicious of anyone who teaches otherwise. Looking back, I can see that following Christ out of my addiction was, in the end, the easier route, but still, confessing, going to treatment and leaving a job, was anything but simple.
Though denying self and following Christ is difficult, it is the only way to find the life for which we were made. Faith isn’t easy, but following self is miserable. The choice is ours.