I Don’t Want to Go Back to Treatment
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Acts 19:13
Why would I go back to treatment? I’ve heard it all before. I’m not going to learn anything new.
I hear this excuse often from those who’ve relapsed. They’ve been to treatment before but then they returned to their drug use. They remember how not fun treatment was and they don’t want to go back. I’ve been there. I did outpatient treatment twice. When I relapsed yet again, tearing my life apart, I needed radical change, but I didn’t want to go back to treatment. I used the same argument. I already know it all. They can’t teach me anything new.
I wasn’t completely wrong. I don’t know that I gained any one magical piece of information my third time around. What that treatment did for me though, was to get me away from the drug so I could actually apply my knowledge. Knowing all that recovery stuff wasn’t enough. I needed to live it. Knowledge couldn’t save me or make me sober. I had to actually act out what I knew to be true.
Today’s passage illustrates this difference between knowing about something and experiencing it. In the story, Paul healed the sick and cast out evil spirits. Some of those who witnessed Paul’s healing power wanted it. They learned that he invoked the name of Jesus, and so they too, tried to cast out demons in Jesus’ name. They knew of Jesus and his power, but they didn’t actually know Jesus. They didn’t have a personal relationship with him and they hadn’t experienced repentance, grace, or transformation for themselves. So, when they tried to exorcise a demon, the one possessed turned on them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded (Acts 19:16).
Unfortunately, a lot of us find ourselves here. We call ourselves Christians. We believe that God exists. Yet our belief seems to have no power in our lives. We have knowledge of God, yet we’ve not truly experienced his transforming power. Why? It’s because we have yet to live out what we claim to believe. If we truly believe in Christ, then daily, we must do what it takes to abandon our own way to pursue a relationship with him, living out his commands.