The Secret Shortcut to Recovery
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Spend enough time around any Christian recovery program, and you will eventually run into someone who’s experienced a radical, miraculous deliverance from a specific addiction. That’s not been my experience, but I cannot discount those who’ve had the miracle. Once, they couldn’t stop drinking but then they turned to Christ, and were suddenly free from the alcohol. If you’re struggling with addiction, you can and should pray for this.
It would be a mistake however, to extrapolate from such an experience that the one who turns to Christ must do nothing to change. It’s tempting to think this way, however. It would be a lot easier if I could have the life God wanted for me without any personal sacrifice.
I desperately wanted it to be that way, but that’s not how I found recovery. I had to learn to daily abandon my way to follow Christ’s. In doing so, I’ve found that God daily delivers me from my self-destructive appetite for drugs. This was hard work though, which is part of the normal Christian life. Even those I’ve met who’ve experienced a miraculous, instant recovery from addiction would say they still have other areas of life in which they struggle. The life of a disciple still means – even for them – daily abandoning our way to follow Christ. We all still wrestle with something.
Still, we’re tempted at times to sell an easy faith or recovery to the one struggling. You’re suffering from anxiety? Just give it up to God. Presto! It’s that easy! Because we’re saved by faith, not works, we prefer to believe that being a Christian means we don’t have to do anything. So, we sit back, change nothing, and wonder why nothing changes.
In today’s passage, Paul chastised the Corinthian church for claiming faith, while clinging to their old life. They thought that being a Christian meant simply saying the magic words, while still following themselves. Paul corrected their error though, insisting that in becoming Christians, they surrendered their right to follow their own way. Salvation may be free, but it paradoxically costs the Christian his entire old life.
If we want forgiveness and salvation, we accept Christ’s sacrificial death. We’ve now been bought for a price. We’re no longer our own. This is hard for us to accept, but for those of us who’ve known the disaster of following the old life, the new life is more than a fair trade.