Magical Faith and Recovery
And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:18
When I first attempted recovery, I learned the tenets of AA, believing them, but not really doing them. I thought they were good concepts, but I believed God was going to deliver me from my addiction. I thought this meant that I could sit back and do nothing. So, I refused to change anything. I refused to meet with others who struggle, and I refused to do any relapse prevention. I, of course, relapsed.
This is often how we approach faith as well. We believe rightly that we are saved by grace through faith. We cannot earn God’s love by our works. He just loves us. Where we go wrong though, is that we believe grace means we don’t have to do anything. When we encounter a life problem, we pray for it to be solved for us, and then we sit back and do nothing. We don’t want to have to change anything. We just want the magical fix.
Can you imagine if the disciples took this approach to faith? If they did, when Jesus called them to follow him, they would have responded: Oh, we believe in you Jesus. We’re just going to do it from here. We don’t want to disrupt our lives or do anything. We’re saved by faith so we’re going to just stay exactly where we are. Have a nice day! We believe in you!
It sounds absurd, but this is what I did to God in my attempted recovery and it’s what most of us do to God in our faith. We want transformation for ourselves and our loved ones, so we pray for the easiest way out. God, give us the miracle. We want magical faith and recovery. Some people get the miracle, but miracles are rare events. Most of us, like the disciples, must leave behind the old life and follow Christ if we want to see radical change.
This is hard though, which is why so few of us do it. Transformation isn’t some magical process in which we just wake up one day and find that all our problems are gone. Transformation comes from living the life of the disciple, daily doing whatever it takes to abandon ourselves to follow Christ. This is authentic faith and recovery.