The Path to Freedom
When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Luke 17:14
It’s a common phenomenon for the addict to think he knows best when it comes to finding recovery. Though he’s been told by counselors and others what he needs to do, he doesn’t want to do any of those things. Recovery is hard work, and the addict thinks he knows what he needs better than anyone else, so he sets out on his own path. It doesn’t seem to matter that his way has failed a thousand times. He’s going his way. Refusing to do what needs to be done to recover, he relapses yet again.
In my own drug addiction, I knew I needed to confess, go to treatment, go to meetings, and change my life. Because of the misery it would take to do those things though, I refused. I clung to a fanciful belief that God would just magically transport me out of the prison that I’d built. I failed to do anything except pray for this miraculous transformation and so, I remained in my prison.
Today’s passage reveals my error. In the story, Jesus met ten lepers who begged him for mercy. His reply was not to instantly heal them. Instead, he told them to go and show themselves to the priests, who would verify their transformation. They were not healed until they obeyed and began walking towards the priests. Though they must have had doubts, they set out and found healing only in their obedience.
This is where I found myself. I wanted Christ’s help, but when he told me what I needed to do, I refused. I thought he instantaneously transported me out of my prison, but instead, he opened the door and asked me to follow him to freedom. He did the work, but still, I needed to obey and follow.
When Christ told the ten lepers what they must do, they had a choice. Any step they took, other than obeying Christ, would have left them in their diseased condition. There was only one way that led to healing – Jesus’ way. Like the ten lepers, I have this continual choice. I can follow Christ to freedom, or I can follow my way, which leads inevitably back to the misery of the old life.
If I want to know freedom in Christ, then I must continually follow his path.