Resurrection and Recovery
It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial. Acts 23:6
I wrote recently of how powerful it is to say to the one still struggling, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. Simply having been there isn’t all it takes though. To truly help, you have to have been there and recovered, or else you’re just commiserating. Two people stuck in addiction are far less likely to be able to help each other, than if one is in recovery, reaching down to help the other out. You need to have found the new life yourself before you can lead someone else to it.
No one lived this truth more than the apostle Paul, who, in today’s passage, was once again on trial for the gospel. Defending himself before the Jewish Council, Paul said that he was on trial for believing in the resurrection from the dead. This was a clever ploy, pitting his accusers against each other, since some of them believed in the resurrection and some didn’t. It was more than just shrewd legal maneuvering though. Later, when speaking to Felix the governor, he repeated his belief in the resurrection and while before the king himself, he told his own story of resurrection and transformation.
For Paul, Christ’s resurrection from the dead was central to his faith and was the source of power that led to his own resurrection. Paul’s transformation from persecutor of Christ to messenger of Christ was the evidence he provided that the gospel was real. Anyone who knew Paul couldn’t deny that his life had been completely changed. As he’d been brought back from the dead so too, could others.
As Christians and as those in recovery, being transformed and telling others of our transformation is our job now. If we truly follow Christ and if we truly have been transformed, then we’re meant to tell others of what God has done for us and what he can do for them.
The problem for many of us, is that though we believe in God, we’ve not really allowed him to change us much. We’re still stuck in the same struggles in which we’ve always been stuck. We want to be different, but transformation is a lot of work. The truth, according to Paul, is that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us. If we truly desire change though, then daily, we must do whatever it takes to abandon our path to follow his. Only in doing so, will we find our own story of resurrection and recovery.