No One Wants to Be Weak
Now to him who is able to strengthen you . . . to bring about the obedience of faith. Romans 16:25-25
I believe I’ve previously written that we enjoy superhero movies at our house. In watching those movies, we’ve often discussed our favorites and of course, which superpower we’d want if we could pick. One wants to be able to fly while another wants super strength. No one ever wants to be weak though. No one dreams of being the normal, feeble person who requires saving. If we’re going to dream, we’re going to dream of being powerful, not powerless.
The first step of AA, however, asks that the alcoholic or addict admit that he’s powerless and that his life has become unmanageable. He needs saving. On his own, he can do nothing because his addiction has taken control of his life. Steps two and three go on to explain that our only hope is God, and that if we desire to abandon the insanity that has become our lives, we must surrender to him.
No one enjoys doing this though. No one inherently desires to be weak. Instead, we insist we can handle it. Many an addict has floundered, failing repeatedly for years, believing that he can do it on his own. Insisting on self-reliance, he remains in his addiction.
Even if the alcoholic manages to stop drinking, without God, he’s still lost, because he cannot save himself. On our own, we’re powerless to become who we were made to be. Step one of AA isn’t just for the alcoholic or addict. It’s for all of us who’ve realized we’re hopeless on our own. We cannot save ourselves from ourselves.
Self-sufficiency is the enemy of faith. To truly find faith, we must learn to rely, not on ourselves, but on God. This is why God allowed Paul’s thorn in his flesh to remain and it’s why God allows us all to struggle with something – so that we may learn to live in dependence on him. As long as we meet (or think we meet) all of our own needs, we don’t really need God. We might believe in him, but we cannot truly live by faith until we realize we’re powerless on our own and that we desperately need him.
It’s often only when we come to the end of ourselves, that we learn to obey God, because we realize how hopeless we are on our own. It is then, in our desperate obedience, that God is truly able to transform us.