Recovery and Faith Require Action
The righteous shall live by his faith. Micah 2:4
I heard it again the other day. A fellow struggler, wanting to quit using, asked me to pray for divine assistance. I asked what his plan of action was. To pray. And to ask you to pray. I encouraged him to pray, but in his prayer, to request not only help in quitting, but to ask what God wanted him to do. I got a blank stare. What do you mean? I’m praying aren’t I? That’s what I’m doing.
This is where I still struggle sometimes with faith. Because I’m lazy at heart, I want faith to simply be a thought in my head and a prayer on my lips. When I struggle with a behavior, it’s easier to just ask God to remove the struggle than it is to actually do the daily work of killing that behavior. So, I pray for a healthy appetite, while eating junk food, refusing to change a thing. Then, I have the audacity to wonder why my prayer is ineffective. Why don’t you answer God? – mumbled through a mouthful of chips.
In today’s passage, Habakkuk insists that faith is not just a thought or prayer, but a way of life. The righteous, are those who follow God with their living. Faith is not simply an intellectual acknowledgement of God and asking him to do stuff for us. Faith is believing in him, keeping our eyes on him, and then making our feet follow. Faith is belief that leads to behavioral change.
Prayer is a necessary part of the Christian life. When prayer becomes our excuse for disobedience and inaction though, we are doing faith wrong. When God asks that we something to abandon our destructive behavior, and we refuse, no amount of prayer is going undo our destructive appetite. God doesn’t help us to be more disobedient.
Recovery and faith require action. If we want to quit drugs, we likely need treatment and meetings. If we want to be healthy and change our eating, we must shop differently and change our way of life. God doesn’t say that faith will be easy, but he does promise that we’ll find righteousness, life and recovery when we follow him.