I Believe in Sobriety but I Still Drink
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15
It’s absurd, but I’ve met alcoholics, who while obviously intoxicated, attempted to tell me of the benefits of recovery. I believe they thought they believed in sobriety, but they certainly weren’t living it, which made their behavior obviously hypocritical. Believing a thing to be true and having faith in that thing, are two very different experiences. One is just a thought in my head. The other is a way of life that radically changes my behavior. I can memorize the twelve steps and read AA’s big book, but if I never stop using, that knowledge is useless.
This is, of course, quite similar to my faith experience. I’ve always believed in God. I’ve had the right knowledge of Christ as long as I can remember. The depth – or lack of depth – to which that belief has penetrated my daily behavior, however, has exposed my hypocrisy. Like the alcoholic, expounding on the benefits of sobriety, I’ve lived following me, while proclaiming my “faith” in God.
In today’s passage – continuing in the parable of the sower and the seed – Jesus said that when the word of God falls on good soil, it grows, producing fruit. That fruit is the evidence of the seed’s germination and growth. If there is no fruit, the process that was supposed to occur hasn’t actually happened.
This is where many of us have found ourselves. We believe in the word of God, but it has yet to take root in our lives, growing into a way of life. We claim faith, but there’s no fruit. We say we believe, but our lives haven’t changed. This is a problem. Faith in a thing means that we believe it to be so true, that we live accordingly. When we sing of following God on Sunday, that’s not faith. Faith is following him with our behavior Monday through Saturday.
I’d like to say I now live by faith every day. Honestly though, I still struggle with following me. Fortunately, there is always mercy and forgiveness for my failures. Daily though, for the rest of my life, it is my Christian duty and privilege to continue to work at abandoning my way to follow God’s. This is faith, and it’s how God transforms us.