Faith and Recovery Require Hard Work

Faith and Recovery Require Hard Work

The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:21

I recently hiked in the mountains of the Southwest with my wife and nieces. I love hiking, but it’s not something I’ve done for a while, and I wanted to see how my new knee held up. The good news is that it’s not my knee that’s holding me back. That felt great. I was unfortunately, reminded of my age as I struggled to keep up with my nieces, both in their 20s. As I struggled up the mountain though, I was also reminded of what a great metaphor hiking makes for faith and recovery. Hiking isn’t a sprint, but rather it’s a long, slow endeavor in which I must just keep putting one foot in front of the other. If I want to get to the top, I need to keep moving. Stopping or turning around is always an option, but it doesn’t get me where I want to go. Hiking is strenuous, sometimes painful, but in the end, it’s always worth the reward. Hiking, like faith and recovery, requires hard work.

Several times in my life, I’ve encountered those who mistakenly preach the opposite. They mean well. They really want to help those who struggle with habitual sin and addiction. So, often, they’ll say something like this – If you’re trying repeatedly to change and you’re failing, then you’re trying too hard. Stop striving. Just let go and let God. I know they want to help, but when someone is struggling with a lethal addiction, the last message he (or she) needs is that he doesn’t need to commit to radical change. Do nothing is a deadly suggestion. Recovery requires tremendous work and sacrifice.

According to Christ, so does faith. In today’s passage, Jesus commanded those in the church of Laodicea to passionately commit to good works, finding their joy, purpose, and meaning only in him. They were to abandon themselves and follow him. Only in doing so, would they conquer, earning the privilege of heaven. This word – conquer – conjures up images of a battle in which the Laodiceans needed to actively engage. Obedience to Christ wasn’t a sit-back-and-do-nothing command. Rather, obedience meant hard work and sacrifice.

The reward, of course, is tremendous. I love my life now, compared to the misery of my addiction, but I won’t pretend that I got here by doing nothing. I got here by abandoning my way to follow God’s. Like hiking a mountain, the new life has meant hard work and sacrifice, but also like hiking that mountain, it’s been more than worth it.

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