Faith and Recovery
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all . . . 1 Timothy 2:5-6
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that to find authentic recovery, the addicted must turn their lives over to God. One of the critiques that my church would have of AA is that this God is defined as a higher power of our own understanding. Even the nebulous deity of AA is too much for some though. Often, I’ll meet those in treatment who really want to be sober, but they just don’t see why they must become religious fanatics too. So, they do everything prescribed in treatment except embrace faith in God.
Some of them do turn their lives around without ever finding any connection with God. Does that mean that God isn’t necessary to find recovery? That depends on your definition of recovery. I’d say it’s no surprise that some will find significant transformation without faith. I can follow a map without believing in the maker of the map. If I follow the directions on a map, even though I don’t believe that the mapmaker exists, I can still get somewhere. So it is with AA. If someone follows most of the steps, but fails to believe in God, he will still likely find significant change, simply by following most of the directions prescribed by God.
Is that authentic recovery though? The quandary for the one who finds sobriety but refuses to accept faith in God, is that he never comes to know God, which is the point of it all. I realize that the one who doesn’t believe in God likely doesn’t believe in the Bible either, but Paul would say that the purpose of our entire lives is to know God, living in an intimate relationship with him. Sobriety may lead to a better life here on Earth, but one can abandon certain self-destructive pursuits, living an improved life, and still miss the purpose of life.
In today’s passage, Paul said there is one God and one bridge to him – Christ Jesus. I admit, my independent nature doesn’t always like this. I want there to be many ways to get there. I want everyone to be able to find their own way. I must also admit though, that when I tried to find my own way to recovery, I didn’t do well. I found sobriety for a while, but I didn’t truly recover.
We may not always like the way God works, but, if we truly desire to experience the life for which he made us, we must accept that he’s God, and that there’s only one way to find him.