What’s Holding You Back?
See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? Acts 8:36
This week marks my sixth year of sobriety. Looking back at the profound misery and darkness of my addiction, it’s hard to understand why I didn’t choose recovery earlier. It’s not that I didn’t want to clean up or that I didn’t try. I spent several years trying to get sober. What held me back? Why did I fail, relapsing so many times? What did I finally get right?
In reading today’s passage, I reflected on the answer to those questions. In the story, God told Philip to get up and go to a specific place. Philip immediately obeyed and met an Ethiopian court official who was seeking God. Philip told him about Jesus and while traveling along the road, they came across a body of water. The Ethiopian asked, What prevents me from being baptized? The answer, was that there was nothing in the world important enough to prevent him from doing what was right, and so, he did.
This is the point I eventually came to in my addiction. For years, I wanted sobriety, but I wanted to do it my way, which meant I did absolutely nothing and simply waited for God to remove my destructive appetites. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, I finally went to God asking, What must I do to obey? This was the beginning of change – going to God, asking what I needed to do, and then doing it, no matter how hard it was.
Obedience – doing what we know to be right. It’s what Philip did when God told him to go and it’s what the Ethiopian did when he felt God calling him to baptism. If we want our lives to be different, it’s exactly what we need to do.
This isn’t just about my addiction of six years ago. This is a continual choice and process. What am I stuck in today? What’s keeping me from change? What must I do to find continual transformation, daily embracing the life for which God created me?
If you want things to be different, you absolutely should pray. You can even ask God to change the things you cannot change. Don’t stop there though. If you want things to be different, daily go to God, asking him what it is that he desires of you. What’s keeping me back? What do you want me to do? Then, do it, no matter how hard it is.