Treatment Can’t Teach Me Anything New
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:11
It isn’t uncommon for someone struggling with chemicals to reach out to me, asking for help. Not everyone needs treatment, but usually, that is where he must start, so I’ll suggest it. You need time away from the drug and you need radical change. Go to treatment. Often, the one asking for help has already been there and invariably responds – They can’t teach me anything new. I’ve heard it all before.
While it may be true that the one struggling knows all the stuff he would hear in treatment, his life struggles usually aren’t a knowledge problem. They are a doing problem. He knows the truth, yet the truth isn’t manifest in his life. He knows right but he’s living wrong.
I’ve gone to church thousands of times in my life. I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover more than a couple times. Why do I still go? Why do I still read? It’s because I’m still flawed and because though I know the truth, I still need it to daily penetrate deeper into my life.
This is the principle that Paul taught in today’s passage. He said that when we turn to God in our trials, they cause the life of Jesus to be made manifest in us. We have an old life and a new life. Daily, we get to choose which one to pursue. When we pursue the new one, Jesus’ life and light shines in us, becoming more real as we follow him more.
Many of us know the truth without allowing it to be made manifest in us. We know how to eat healthy, yet we eat junk. Ours isn’t a knowledge problem. It’s a doing problem. We long to be different but we’re willing to make only little changes. Sin though, is a growing, spreading, malignant cancer that wants to destroy us. When it comes to our self-destructive behavior, we’re often willing to only make small cosmetic changes, like putting a Band-Aid on that tumor. What we need of course, is radical, violent change, and so God often must use pain to shock us out of our apathy.
Usually, this is the only answer in our struggle – radical obedience. It’s often only in following God that his truth becomes manifest in our behavior. Ours isn’t a knowledge problem. It’s a doing problem. If we truly want change, we must do something about it. Daily, we must ask God what he wants us to do. Then, we must do it.