Shaking Our Addiction

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Are you aware of your addiction to being “good” and not “evil?” Did you buy last week’s thesis that, yes, all of Adam’s descendants are addicted to the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and that includes you! 

Ask yourself two questions: 1.) “Do I really want to be ‘good’ (obedient to God’s law)?”, OR, 2.) “Do I want to receive credit with God for being ‘good’ (obedient to God’s law)?” 

There is a huge difference. We were created to “bear His image” (be good as He is good – Genesis 1:26), so we have an innate desire to fulfill our commission, but we have nothing to do with making that happen. God tells us He is in the process of doing that in the lives of His people by His Holy Spirit Who lives within us, and He does not want or need our help! It is His job alone. We can take no credit. It is happening IN us, not BY us—naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously (NSU).

Any attempt at being “good” by obedience (any way but NSU) is actually sin (Romans 14:23). The only way to actually be obedient to His law is the NSU way. You will notice that this is simple, but not easy.

Here’s how: 1.) Look diligently for evidence of the times you are not obedient (Psalm 139:23, 24)—lack of trust, fear, worry, arrogance, insecurity, ambition, self-promotion, etc. Then, rather than trying to change, 2.) Willingly, publicly, even eagerly, embrace those times, and openly repent (1 John 1;7, James 5:16). All the while 3.) Knowing that those sins are “not even taken into account” by God, because of His agape love for you (Isaiah 43:25). Your sins (past, present and future), in terms of your relationship with God, are all rendered meaningless to Him at the cross! 

To encourage establishing these habits is a biblical essential in church gatherings, no matter what else is practiced. This means that transparent, honest, congregational participation, with each member knowing he can bring a contribution to the meeting, is crucial. Ironically, the church could look at Alcoholics Anonymous for a model of how a biblical church functions to achieve this addiction-freeing result (1 John 1:7; James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 14:26). 

Never having attended an AA meeting myself, I am told by those who have, that in order to speak, you must introduce yourself with, “Hi, my name is Robert, and I’m an alcoholic.” Then you may share. AA’s outstanding success is based, not surprisingly, upon our biblical principles of participation and public transparency when the church assembles together. 

Obviously, only when church leadership demonstrates this themselves will the church follow. In  other words, church is “show and tell” not just “tell.” When leadership is an example of “walking in the light,” nothing is more powerful, and it is unforgettable! Have you ever heard a church leader talk about current weakness and failure in his life, not in a defeated, discouraged way, but victoriously? You probably never have, but if you have, you have never forgotten it! 

In this posting, I am simply reminding (informing?) us all (including myself) what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: 

“Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely…He who calls you is faithful, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT” (1 Thessalonians 5:22-24). 

Just as Paul told the Thessalonians, God will do, Himself, what He has called us to do, without our help whatsoever (NSU)! Yes, we got off scot-free at the cross from ever having to be “good!” We are off the hook, completely. Verses like this have always been in the Bible, but our addiction has kept us from “seeing” them.

We are exactly like four-year-old-children who have no responsibility to clothe, feed, house, protect or educate themselves, whatsoever. They do nothing, and they have no worries. Why not? Because DADDY’S GOT IT, He loves me, and I trust Him with my life! I can do nothing else. I can only emulate this little-child model, just as Jesus told me to do: (Matthew 18:2-5; Mark 10:15; Luke 9:47, 48; 18:17). Hallelujah!

Just recently I saw more overwhelming evidence of how this miracle occurs: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).  I have read this verse innumerable times over 60 years and until a month ago I never noticed that the holy, righteous, perfect ”law of God” is not synonymous with “the truth,” that is mentioned in this verse and 23 other times from the mouth of Jesus in the Gospels.

I knew that, improperly used to make one righteous, the law of God brought death. “…We do not tell them that they must obey every law of God or die; but we tell them there is life for them from the Holy Spirit. The old way, trying to be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments, ends in death; in the new way, the Holy Spirit gives them life.  (2 Corinthians 3:6 TLB}.

What is new for me is not that there are two ways to keep the law of God—I try to be obedient which ends in spiritual “death,” and NSU when I am walking by faith and the Holy Spirit does it through me (Galatians 2:20). What is new to me is that the Bible has a phrase to describe keeping the law NSU as a result of walking, ever more consistently, by faith alone: it is THE TRUTH. 

Repentance always leads the way to living by faith (“by the Spirit,” “in the Spirit” etc.). Do I see, as I mentioned above, my lack of trust, fear, worry, arrogance, insecurity, ambition, self-promotion, etc., as the sin it really is? Do I see my lack of believing that God loves me as sin, or do I cling to it as a victim’s excuse for not trusting Him with my life and keeping my addiction alive and functioning?

Jump in the “sin pool” with the rest of us loved, saved, down and dirty, everyday sinners! I promise you, THE WATER’S FINE!

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    1. Robert Andrews says:

      Me too! That’s why Christianity is not an individual sport, like golf. Can’t [lay it alone. It is a team game! We desperately need each other to stay on the wagon.

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