Stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:36
In my addiction, I continually hoped and prayed for the day when my appetite for the pill would just magically evaporate. I knew what I was doing was horrible, but I couldn’t stop. This discord caused me to live in constant conflict with myself. I hated what I was doing, but I couldn’t walk away. I knew there was help out there, but that was way too much work and sacrifice, so, I engaged in wishful thinking, hoping that one day I’d wake up and – POOF – it would just be gone.
I had some cause to cling to my irrational plan. I knew the passages. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I’d heard the claims of those Christians who insisted that when one comes to Christ, his addiction just miraculously disappears. You’re a child of God. You’re no longer an addict.
As Christians, we’re prone to wishful thinking. Because we have God on our side, we erroneously think that the laws of the universe – which God authored – don’t apply to us. We embrace the idea that when we come to Christ, all of our addictive, destructive appetites are magically gone, because we really want to believe it’s true.
Jesus dismissed our wishful thinking in today’s passage, where he commanded us to watch ourselves, stay awake, and pray, that we may escape the distractions and trappings of this life. Jesus offered freedom but asked for repentance in return. He taught us that we must daily deny our old self, because it’s not gone. We’re free to follow him, but we’re also free to go back to the old life. Believing in Jesus doesn’t mean that we don’t have to do the work of following him.
One of the most dangerous things we can tell the addict, is that he doesn’t have to work at recovery because he’s a Christian. Wanting it to be true, the addict will embrace this irrational, unbiblical dream and will destroy himself with it. The truth – which we must give the addict – is that in Christ, we have the freedom to follow a new life. This, however, is something that we must choose to do daily.