A Case of the F-Its
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 John 5:18
I’ll occasionally meet those who’ve been sober for several years, only to relapse. This worries me a little. I’ve been sober for more than eight years, and frankly, relapse seems impossible. So, I always ask, What happened? Usually, they were doing fine and then some horrific life stressor happened. Divorce. Death. Loss. In despair, they were tempted to return to the old comforts. At this point, they had a choice to make. They could wisely cling to the new life of recovery, or they could impulsively throw it all away, going back to the old life. Throwing it all away, in recovery circles, is known as developing a case of the F-its. I apologize for the vulgarity (sorry mom), but this is how the addicted refer to tossing it all away in that one moment of hopelessness.
The reason that this story scares me is that these folks were doing fine in their recovery until something terrible and unexpected happened. Bad things happen to us all. My life is quite stable now, but my day is coming. I will eventually experience loss and death in my life. Trials are unavoidable. When my time comes, what will my response be? Will I cling to my faith and recovery, or will I throw it all away in one moment of despair. My wife doesn’t like it when I speak of the possibility of relapse but preparing for it gives me hope that I’ll respond rightly when my time comes.
In today’s passage, John explained that when we become children of God, we abandon the old life for the new one. In the new life, God protects us from the evil one. This cannot mean that bad things never happen to Christians. Most of Christ’s disciples died violent deaths. What it does mean, is that no matter what happens, nothing can rob us of our faith, recovery, or relationship with God.
It’s notable that the promise of today’s passage applies to those who do not keep on sinning. God’s protection applies to those who’ve been born of him and who’re living the new life. So, I daily make a genuine attempt to point my life at God, seeking the new life found in faith and recovery. I daily pray for God to protect me and my family from evil. I know that we’ll face trials and temptations. Daily though, I pray that I continually pursue the new life, experiencing God’s protection from failure in the day of my own trial.