No One Tells Me What to Do
But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. John 2:24-25
Upon hearing the recommendations of a chemical dependency counselor – go to treatment, work the 12 steps, attend meetings – the addict will often argue. The counselor may have years of experience and training, but the addict truly believes that he knows what’s best for himself. Never mind that his resume is filled with one disastrous life choice after another. He honestly believes that he should follow his own instincts over the sound advice of a licensed counselor.
I’m speaking from experience – not as the counselor, but as the one doing the arguing. I was told I had a recurring, persistent problem, but I refused to believe it and so, I relapsed several times. I was told I needed to keep working on recovery, but I disagreed and so, I didn’t stay in recovery. I thought I knew what I needed better than those counselors and so, I didn’t listen. In the end, I paid a miserable price for my arrogance and ignorance.
The problem for most of us, is that we’re hopelessly blinded by our desire to avoid discomfort and to do, not what’s truly best for us, but rather, simply what we want. We should follow our physician’s advice to exercise and lose weight, but we’d rather just sit on the couch, eating. We know we should commit to the radical change necessary to abandon our self-destructive behaviors, but that requires a lot of sacrifice and hard work. We know better and we’ll just do things our way, thank-you very much.
In today’s passage, we’re told that Jesus knows all people and knows exactly what we’re made of. Because we were created by God, he knows everything about us. He knows our flaws and struggles, and he knows exactly what we must do about them.
Our greatest challenge in life, often, is to give up control. Like the addict, it’s simply our nature to insist that we know best, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. We may have failed a thousand times, but still, we cling to the absurd belief that we know the way. If we really want to change, then daily, we must submit ourselves to the only one who truly knows exactly what we need. Transformation requires surrender.