I Need Answers
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
From time to time, we all have existential questions regarding our faith and the meaning of life. Why am I here? Usually, these are just curiosities for which we don’t really expect an answer.
I’ve been there, asking, but not really needing the answer enough to work for it. Then, I’ve had questions that demanded an answer. When I repeatedly returned to the disaster of my addiction, despite begging God to remove it, I questioned God’s concern for me. I began to wonder if he was really even there. This was no simple curiosity. I needed answers. My life literally depended on it.
It was this kind of desperation that forced me to do some serious seeking. In retrospect, this is part of the answer to “Why God allowed me to struggle”. God allowed me to struggle and refused to provide the easy way out, so that I would desperately seek him. When I don’t need God, I often refuse to pursue him.
Throughout the Bible though, this principle is repeated: God created us to exist in an intimate relationship with him and has gone to great lengths to pursue us. Now, he desires that we desperately pursue him.
In today’s passage, Jesus promised that those who seek will find. Ask. Seek. Knock. These are all action verbs. Faith is not a passive process. If we want to know God, if we desire to grow, and if we need recovery, we must seek as desperate men and women.
In treatment for my chemical dependency, I began to earnestly pursue answers. Why am I an addict? Why hasn’t God fixed me? Can God even help?
For the next couple of weeks, this blog will work through the answers that God provided me. These 16 principles provide the framework for much of what I write in this blog. These are not Scott’s 12 steps to recovery. AA’s 12 steps are a useful tool for recovery, but these rather, are principles that help me understand my condition as a Christian who struggles. I’ll include the principles here, and for the next 16 days, we’ll go through them.
- God created us to live in communion with Him, but man’s sin fractured that communion.
- We all struggle with failures in and through our corrupt flesh nature, though it has different manifestations in all of us.
- When we come to believe in Jesus Christ, we are born again into a new, perfect spirit life and restored to communion with God.We now have the perfect Holy Spirit of God living in us, though we carry it in a flawed flesh life.
- Though God may graciously deliver us from some thorns of the flesh, some battles are life-long, requiring the ongoing work of denying self and following Christ.
- We may always feel the gravity of the flesh, but we are not to live enslaved to it. We are meant to know and experience freedom daily in Christ.
- The Christian life (discipleship) is a continual process of abandoning (crucifying) the flesh nature and following Christ. Daily, we are to choose to pursue our spirit life instead of our flesh life.
- Should we fail, there is always grace and forgiveness for those who believe in Christ.
- Though we are forgiven, we are not to use grace as an excuse to continue in our destruction.
- God’s eternal forgiveness does not absolve us from practical, earthly responsibilities and/or consequences.
- As we all labor, we must be continually honest about our battles. It is not helpful to construct a facade of perfection. In fact, such a facade is detrimental to recovery, sabotaging it.
- We should regularly meet together with other believers with the purpose of spurring each other on to the pursuit of God.
- God provides the only adequate replacement for our pursuit of self. This is core to recovery and identity. Though we try to find purpose, joy and fulfillment in self, we find the answer to our deepest needs only in God.
- Transformation (sanctification) is not an automatic process. It is our responsibility to daily do whatever it takes to deny self and follow Christ. The Holy Spirit always does his part. We must do ours.
- God allows the daily battles and honest struggles of recovery to deepen our awareness of our constant need for God.
- Our eternal identity as Christians is in our new life in Christ. Acknowledging our persistent flesh life and its battles does not deny our position in Christ bur rightly identifies the forgiveness and power that alone can be found in Christ as we daily experience life through Him.
- God saves us from ourselves. We must tell others what He has done for us.
Author’s Note: We recently finished the Old Testament and then reviewed AA’s 12 steps. I do plan to restart the New Testament, but first, we’ll go through these principles that have helped me understand the struggles we all have. These are not set in stone. I edit the language often as I grow. Special thanks to Pastor Steve Zwart who has helped in editing them.