After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. John 6:66
For some reason, at the gym, I often fake a bad attitude. When we do things I don’t love, like burpees or box jumps, I’ll often say, This is stupid. I don’t really mean it. I enjoy the exercise, but those things are hard work. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to, but, because I know it’s good for me, I do it.
Recovery is sometimes like that. It’s takes effort to stay on the narrow path. Almost every addict who has ever gotten sober and then relapsed knows what it’s like to just throw it all away. Forget it. I quit. I’m not going to keep going to meetings and working at recovery. This is too hard.
This is similar to the response of some of Jesus’ disciples in today’s passage. In the story, Christ referred to himself as the bread of life. He taught his followers that if they wanted to know eternal life that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. Using the grotesque metaphor of cannibalism, Jesus insisted that his disciples must pursue and rely on him just as desperately for their spiritual life as they relied on food and water for their physical life. He claimed to be God and thus, the only source of eternal life.
There were those, who, at this point, had enough. They’d listened to him on the mountainside and they’d shared in his miraculous meal, but this was too much. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it (John 6:60)?” They sort-of wanted to follow Jesus, but when it came down to living the Christian life, it was too hard. They just wanted a miraculous handout. They didn’t want to do anything. So, they walked away.
This is like me in my last relapse, when I simply said, Forget it. I’m going my way. The option unfortunately for me, wasn’t easier. It was absolute disaster. It has literally taken me years to recover from that one disastrous decision.
This is the lesson for us. It is sometimes hard to follow God’s path. The only option though, is the misery of following ourselves. Some days, faith and recovery may seem stupid, but as difficult as the narrow path may appear, it’s far better than any alternative.