The Cost of the New Life
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? Luke 9:24-25
Every time I picked up a bottle of pills, I promised myself it was the last time. I swore I’d stop tomorrow, and I meant it . . . at the time. As the next day dawned though, because I hadn’t really changed anything, my addictive behavior continued when the hunger returned. Gradually, I began to realize that I couldn’t just stop on my own. Part of me began to understand that I needed help and that this probably meant treatment. Another part of me though, knew that was impossible. I can’t go to treatment. I have a job that needs me. My family needs me. I can’t just pick up and go. I’ve got important stuff to do.
I often hear this now from others who desperately need to get help. I can’t possibly go to treatment. What they’re really saying – and what I said – is that they’re not really willing to do what it takes to change. I usually tell those in this position what I learned from my experience. If you use your job and family as the excuse not to get help, that excuse will take care of itself. If you continue to use, those things will eventually go away, and you’ll have no more excuses left. If you truly love your family and want to keep your job, you will do whatever it takes to find recovery.
This is the cost of the new life – letting go of the old one – and it’s not easy. In today’s passage, Jesus laid out the reality of this deal that he offers each of us. If you want the new life, give up the old one. You can’t keep it anyway. In trying to save yourself, you’ll lose everything. It’s only in surrendering yourself that you can truly find the life for which you were made (my paraphrase).
Though we find the cost to be too high, Jesus explained that his proposition is actually quite a bargain. In surrendering the misery of our way, we’re giving up what we were going to lose anyway. It’s only in following Christ, that we will find authentic life, faith and recovery.