Three Days Sober
Every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. Acts 5:42
I once approached sobriety like I still approach dieting. With my eating, I resolve that I’m going to start doing it right, but then after a few days, I give in to one thing I shouldn’t, and the whole plan falls apart. I know I need to permanently change my eating, and overall, I’m working on that. It’s just that every once in a while, I indulge a little, which turns into days and weeks of failure.
I did this for years in my addiction. I knew I needed to quit. So, when the last pill ran out, I’d swear off pills. Then, after a few days of withdrawal, I’d begin to feel better. In feeling better, I’d actually think, I’ve done so well. I should celebrate – by using again, just once. Just once would turn into days and weeks until the pattern repeated itself for years.
I do this in my faith as well, even in recovery. In theory, I want to live every day following God. So, when I feel that he’s compelled me to share my story with a struggling addict, I usually do it. Once I’ve given of my time and effort, I feel that I’ve done my good deed for the week. Ok God. I did what you wanted. Glad that’s over. Now it’s me-time. I’m going to do what I want for a while. I don’t say this consciously, but it’s how I act. Once I’ve obeyed God in some little thing, I feel like I deserve some time off.
Today’s passage reveals what truly following Christ looks like. In the story, the apostles had been arrested, threatened, beaten, and released with the command to stop spreading the gospel. Their response was to relentlessly continue spreading Jesus’ message of repentance and transformation. No matter what happened, they would not stop obeying Christ.
Their consistency reveals the flaw in my thinking. I think I should do something right only when God drops an addict in front of me. The apostles lived every day, searching for opportunities to follow Christ. Here’s the lesson: If I want to eat healthy, if I want to stay sober, and if I want to follow Christ, it isn’t something I do once in a while. It’s something I must choose to do – every day.