Empty Promises

Empty Promises

Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” Exodus 24:3

When we first get out of treatment, most of us who’ve been there, had every intention of remaining sober. Inspired by recent painful events, we were motivated to change. We’d worked on our recovery intensely every day for the previous month, and we intended to continue to do so. Eventually though, life just drifted back to normal. Our fervor waned, and though we once promised to do our daily readings and go to weekly meetings, we found ourselves skipping. When life goes back to normal, life goes back to normal. When nothing changes, nothing changes. And so, we relapsed, going back to the old life for lack of purposefully seeking the new one.

I’ve been there. The first two times I went to outpatient treatment, I just knew I was never going back to active addiction. I promised my wife, Never again. Gradually though, as life went back to normal, I returned to my normal behaviors, which simply weren’t healthy. And so, each time, even though I promised my wife I wouldn’t, I relapsed.

Empty promises. That’s what I hear in today’s passage. In it, God appeared to his people in a powerful display of thunder, smoke, and lightening from the mountain. He spoke to Moses, instructing his people how to live and Moses in turn, relayed God’s commands to his people. Awestruck, the Israelites promised to follow and obey God. Skip ahead a few chapters though, and we’ll read how God’s people soon made a golden idol in direct violation of God’s commands. In today’s passage, they had good intentions, but they lacked follow through. Riding the high of God’s presence, they promised they’d be good. When their emotions and their lives returned to normal though, so did their behavior.

Today, I don’t promise my wife that I’ll never fail. I do, however, demonstrate my commitment to transformation by doing something about it. When I got out of treatment, I began getting up early every day to point my life at God. I started going to jail for a Bible study every Sunday morning. I attended my weekly recovery meeting. Eventually, I started writing a daily blog. It takes up a significant portion of my time, but it’s been almost 10 years, and I still do all these things. They’re part of the new life and to stop doing them would be to abandon the new life. Today, I try not to make empty promises. I just daily do what it takes to seek the new life for which God made me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ten + two =