If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes
And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. Ezekiel 11:18-19
I’m occasionally asked by someone who is still struggling with drug cravings if the appetite ever goes away. The truth is, I don’t struggle much with cravings today. I find the thought of using horrifying. I do believe that the pills would still feel good though. I just want faith and sobriety now more than I want the high. How and when did my desires change?
I certainly wanted my appetite to be removed while I was still using. I begged God, Take away my craving God, and I swear, I’ll obey you forever! I wanted him to make me want good while I was enjoying bad.
Today’s passage provides some insight into my error, revealing how God often works. God rescued the Israelites and commanded them to follow him. Instead, they pursued foreign gods to their own destruction as they were conquered by – and exiled to – Babylon. God ordained that in their misery, they would abandon their destructive ways. Then he would restore them to Jerusalem and change their hearts. God did not first deliver them from their misery and wait for them to obey. They needed to repent first.
This is how it worked for me. I needed to commit to real, tangible change in my life to see radical change in my appetites. When I changed nothing, nothing changed. When I obeyed, God moved. This growth took time and I have no doubt that if I returned to pursuing all-things-me, the destructive cravings would reappear.
We are rightly taught that we are new creations in Christ. The temptation though, is to think that there is now nothing left for us to do. God changed me, so I don’t need to work on anything. If I’m still struggling with some addiction, God must want it that way.
God doesn’t desire that we live enslaved though. He sent Christ to free us. We however, must do our part. We must do whatever it takes, no matter how painful or drastic, to follow him. Then, over time, he radically changes our hearts, so that we want him more than we want to pursue our toxic appetites.