Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. Galatians 5:2
The twelve steps of AA teach that we must turn our will over to God if we want our lives and sanity restored. In the disastrous consequences of our addiction, many of us have been willing to do this. We read. We pray. We go to meetings. We change our lives, and we genuinely seek God, following his will. In the misery, we’re motivated to practice faith, relying on God for direction.
As life goes back to normal though, something sinister happens. We gradually stop seeking God’s will as we gradually return to our will. We don’t consciously tell God that we don’t need him anymore, but practically that’s what our actions say. I’m fine on my own. Thanks for your help back there. I’m good now. Soon, we’re back to living our way, which is what led to disaster in the first place. Then, either we relapse into our chemicals, or we replace it with some other addictive, self-destructive behavior.
Unfortunately, it’s our nature to desire self-sufficiency. God created us though to live in faith, relying continually on him. Our natural path – self-sufficiency – is the enemy of faith. Faith means believing in God and following him with our actions. Self-sufficiency is the opposite, believing in and following our way above all.
In today’s passage, Paul chastised the Galatians for this. They had once come to know Christ through faith. Then, however, they returned to the belief that they saved themselves through their behavior. In doing so, they abandoned faith and embraced deadly self-sufficiency. In this condition, Paul said that Christ was useless to them. Though they claimed to be Christians, they weren’t following God, but rather themselves. They would never have admitted it out loud, but their actions said, We just don’t need you God. We’re fine on our own now.
The truth that I must remember, if I want to live in faith and recovery, is that I need God just as much today as I did seven years ago, in the disaster of my addiction. I can’t save myself and when I return to living my way, God becomes useless to me. Self-sufficiency doesn’t diminish God or his power, rather, it simply causes me to turn my back on him.
If I want to continue to see God’s transforming power in my life – and if I don’t want to return to the disaster of my way – then I must daily acknowledge my need for him, following his will above my own.