The Life of Faith and Recovery
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
During my first couple of attempts at recovery, I did make some effort. I went to outpatient treatment, attended meetings, and worked the 12 steps. I pursued recovery and I stayed sober . . . for a while. Eventually though, I stopped working on those things because I felt I just didn’t need them anymore. I don’t want to have to go to meetings forever. I’m fine now. I can return to my normal life. The problem was that my normal life is what led to my addiction in the first place and so, when I went back to it, I eventually relapsed.
After this last relapse, eight years ago, I finally accepted that I have some life struggles that may persist. Yes, I’m a new creature in Christ, but I retain some self-destructive appetites. I’ll not be made perfect in this life. Just as I will always have a desire for unhealthy food, I will always remember that drugs feel good. If I return to a life of following me, I will eventually find myself crawling back to my pills. If, however, I daily point myself at God, attempting to follow his will instead of my own, I’ll daily be delivered from my self-destructive nature. So, I’ve now accepted that recovery is a daily battle on which I must continue to work.
In today’s passage, Paul instructed Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. Paul said he must take hold of the eternal life to which he was called. Timothy wasn’t a new convert. He was a mature church leader, yet Paul commanded him to continue the daily fight. Paul knew that as long as we live on this Earth, in these bodies, that we will struggle with following self. He taught that daily, we must fight for our faith, actively pointing our lives at God instead of ourselves.
We don’t want it to be this way. We don’t want to have to change our entire lives for the rest of our lives. When we seek weight loss, we want a 30-day diet. Then, we want to go back to normal. Most diets work – when we stick to them. The problem with going back to normal though, is that we go back to our normal eating, gaining back the pounds we lost.
Faith isn’t a 30-day diet and recovery isn’t a short-term endeavor. Faith and recovery are lifestyles which we must continually choose. If we want the new life, we must daily follow Christ to remain in it.