The Ultimate Failure of the Addicted
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10
A couple of days ago, I attended the funeral of a friend who died of a drug overdose. He believed in and he followed Christ, leading many others to faith and recovery. Yet he himself still had his struggles. He still had his failures and frankly, his last relapse killed him. We all have struggles, but for the addicted, failure is life-threatening. Addiction is horrifying, wrecking relationships and destroying lives. Working with the addicted, I want to help. I want all of us to succeed and when someone overdoses and dies, it hurts. It’s the final failure for the addict and there’s no fixing it. Sitting there at the funeral, I had the thought that an overdose death represents the ultimate failure of the addicted.
But that’s not quite right. Sitting in church, I had to at least try and look at it from God’s point of view. Taking a step back and examining it from an eternal perspective, I could see that in a hundred years, everyone sitting in that sanctuary will be dead. Our time here on Earth is but a blip. I don’t mean to trivialize the manner in which he died, but in a hundred years, we’ll have all passed through that final door, stepping into the afterlife. The worst failure in anyone’s life, is to not be prepared for what comes next. Eternity is a long time.
In today’s passage, Christ commended those in the church in Philadelphia for their enduring faith in him. He told them that a day of trial and judgement was coming but because of their faith, they would be spared. We’ll all die one day. We’ll all meet God. We’ll all face judgement for the actions our lives – unless we know Christ, in which case we get a free pass into God’s presence. The ultimate failure in anyone’s life then, isn’t their personal struggle. The ultimate failure is to reject the opportunity to know God in this life, finding ourselves completely unprepared to stand before him in the next.
Yes, Adam was a Christian who had an addiction. He was a child of God, but he still lived in this awful flesh with a self-destructive nature. The truth is that we all have struggles. We all have sin with which we wrestle and it absolutely is a failure to indulge in it. Our job as Christians is to daily kill the old life so that we may follow Christ into the new one. But thankfully, if we know Christ, there is always forgiveness for our failures, which makes the ultimate failure in this life to not know Christ at all.