The Delusional Recovery
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
When I first attempted to address my addiction years ago, I felt I’d found recovery. I recognized that I had a problem and I stopped abusing pain medications. Once that happened, I looked at recovery as a historical event and I considered my addiction problem to be over. I’d found recovery on a specific date and I was ready to move on with life. I didn’t need relapse prevention because I’d already recovered. I didn’t need to go to meetings or continue working towards anything because I’d already arrived. My sobriety didn’t last long. In believing that my recovery was a once-for-all occurrence of the past, I was deluded, simply working on my next relapse.
Paul said something very similar about salvation in today’s passage. In it, he admonished the Corinthians to stand in the gospel by which you are being saved. He didn’t point to salvation as a past experience, but rather referred to it in the present tense. Salvation is an ongoing process, one in which you must continually participate (my paraphrase). Paul insisted that the Corinthians must hold fast to the word, living in it, or they’d find that they were deluded about their faith.
Many of us have found ourselves in this place. Yes, we believe in God and we can point back to a time when we found salvation. But to us, it’s just a past event that happened on a specific date. Paul said though, that salvation is an ongoing process in which we must participate. If we don’t, we’ll eventually find that we’re delusional and that our faith wasn’t real to begin with.
To find authentic recovery, I had to accept that it was something that I must continue to work on daily. Recovery and salvation aren’t just past, singular experiences that I look back to fondly. Recovery and salvation are ongoing processes in which I must participate. I’m not saying that if I ever fail at anything, that I’ll lose my salvation or prove that it wasn’t real. We all experience failure and there’s always forgiveness in Christ. I’m simply saying what Paul said – that if we truly believe and if we’re truly saved, then it must be part of our daily lives. If it isn’t, we may be delusional about our faith.