We Don’t Have to Be Controlled By Our Struggle
Through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Acts 13:38
Most of us can identify with having some self-defeating behavior with which we struggle. Though we don’t want to do it, and though we know it’s harmful, we repeatedly do it anyway. It’s just part of who we are, and though we may quit for a while, we eventually return to it. Whether it’s drugs, gluttony, anger, lust, jealousy, resentment, gossip, or selfishness, we feel doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
I used and abused opiate pain pills for 15 years. During that time, I desperately wanted to be free, but I just kept returning to my addiction. My nature was corrupt, and I was enslaved to it. I became bitter at God for making me this way. Why did you allow me to be born with an appetite for something so destructive? Why won’t you take it away? I became frustrated that God would ask me to follow one path but then give me such an appetite for the opposite way.
Today’s passage provides some insight into my quandary. In the verses immediately prior to today’s, Paul said, For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption (Acts 13:36-37). Since the fall, man has been terminally flawed. We’re corrupt, with corrupt desires, destined to struggle. Sin has twisted us, and our destructive nature will be part of us until we die.
Thankfully, today’s verse insists that because Jesus rose from the dead, we can know freedom from that corruption. We all struggle with something, but in Christ, we don’t have to live enslaved to that thing. We can find freedom through faith.
The mistake I made, was in thinking that faith was a short cut that freed me from doing anything to change. My addiction taught me that Jesus has opened the door to my prison, but if I want to live free, I must daily abandon myself and follow him out of it.
We don’t have to live enslaved, but if we desire freedom, we must daily do whatever it takes to abandon ourselves and follow the one who leads us to freedom.