Bumper Sticker Faith and Recovery
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
As addicts, new to recovery, we tend to oversimplify things, clinging to passages that we find comforting or helpful, while ignoring the ones we find inconvenient or difficult. We hang on to the idea that we are new creations and we overlook the command to continually crucify the old nature. We may want recovery, but we want it to be simple and easy. We like bumper sticker slogans.
I’ve always done this with Micah 6:8, which I know as a catchy song from my childhood and which makes a good plaque on the wall. In the passage, Micah tells his people what God wants from them. Honestly, I don’t want a thousand sacrifices for your sins. I just want you to act justly, love kindness, and to humbly follow me. Whenever I’ve read the passage, I’ve appreciated its basic message. Just do this. It’s simple.
The Christian life is after all, not that complicated in concept. Stop following yourself and follow me (Luke 9:23 – paraphrase). The Christian life – and recovery – however, are profoundly difficult in execution. When I naively embrace the simplicity and ease of Micah’s message, I expose my own spiritual immaturity.
All I have to do is act justly. When the first opportunity to do so though, involves some cost to me, I abandon justice. All I have to do is to love kindness. When however, someone offends me, that command goes right out the window. I can walk humbly with God. When the first temptation comes to follow my will, instead of God’s though, I follow me.
Though simple in concept, Micah’s basic command requires a radical change in our thinking and behavior. If we want authentic faith, recovery and transformation, we don’t just attach a bumper sticker to our car. If we want to live the Christian life, we must daily do the hard work of abandoning ourselves to follow God. Faith may be a simple concept, but it will take us the rest of our lives to work at getting it right.