Recipe for Change
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11
In my addiction, I eventually realized that I needed to change. I hated who I was and I hated what I was doing. I knew it the inevitable consequences, but I just couldn’t stop. I’ve always believed in God and so I turned to him, begging him to remove my self-destructive appetite. If you take away my desire for drugs then I’ll stop using. In response, I felt God telling me to confess, get help, go to treatment, and change my life, but I wasn’t willing to do any of those things. Instead, I changed nothing. So, I eventually tore my life apart.
In that disaster, I finally went to God, telling him I’d do whatever it took to get sober and stay in recovery. That was a lightbulb moment. Finally, I was willing to abandon my destructive lifestyle and pursue God’s plan. I was willing to do something, to change everything. That was the beginning of transformation for me. That was when I found authentic recovery. I’d certainly believed in God previously, but that was when I began to practice a life-changing faith.
In today’s passage, Paul instructed his protégé Timothy on the life of faith. He said that the life of following God was one of actively running away from sin to pursue faith, love, and righteousness. As followers of Christ, he asks us to continually do whatever it takes to abandon our self-destructive desires so that we may seek the new life for which we were made.
Often, we read about Jesus’ miracles in the Bible and mistakenly think that faith means miraculous and instantaneous transformation. We like this solution. We don’t want to do anything to change. We just want God to magically fix us now. Miracles though, by definition, are the exception. For most of us, with most of our life struggles, we must learn to daily do whatever it takes to separate ourselves from those things which would make us miserable.
This is really hard work though. There’s a reason we do those things. We overeat, drink too much, gamble, and lust because we find pleasure in those things. We’re addicted to those things. So how do we stop? How does God change our appetites and addictions? As Paul said, today and every day, we must make the conscious choice to do whatever it takes to separate ourselves from those behaviors. Then, we must seek God and his will. In doing so, we will eventually find that our appetite changes so that we want the new life more than the old one.