Surrender and Freedom
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:7-8
The addict likes to think that he’s in control, following his own will, and living the life that he truly wants. The addict fears honest faith and recovery because the addict hates the idea of surrendering his will to God.
I get that. I believe in God, but I still struggle with surrender. Deep down, I fear that if I completely surrender my way and follow God’s, that he’ll turn me into something I don’t want to be or make me do crazy things that I don’t want to do. In my addiction particularly, I clung to my drugs and couldn’t imagine living sober, so I feared following God into recovery.
The ridiculous thing is, in my addiction, I wasn’t even in control anymore. At first, I used because I enjoyed it, but then the drug took over and soon the drug was making all of my decisions. The drug didn’t care about my family, job, friends, or faith. The drug only cared about itself and was willing to sacrifice anything in its pathologic desire to have its way. I thought I was following my will, but in doing so, I became enslaved to the disastrous will of the pill.
In today’s passage, Paul addressed our desire to follow our way, teaching that we don’t live and die only for ourselves. God made us. We exist, live, and breath, only because he made it so. We belong to him and our rightful posture is to realize that we live and die for, in, and to him. When we live for ourselves, we exist in a twisted reality that leads eventually, to the misery of being enslaved to our own self-destructive nature.
Paradoxically, the one thing I feared – surrendering to God – was the one thing that could set me free. I don’t do it perfectly now. Again, I still struggle with this, but daily, I make a genuine effort to live, not for myself, but for God and others. In doing so, I’ve found freedom from myself.
Of course, not everyone can accept this. Not everyone believes they must surrender to God. Paul’s teaching today is simply too much for them. It’s only those of us who’ve realized the disaster of living for ourselves who are willing to surrender our will to live as God made us to live – in and for him