A friend of mine made a poignant observation recently. We were chatting over lunch about the stronghold of addiction over the lives of people we love; her wise comments revealed a universal truth worth sharing.
When a person is struggling with any kind of addiction, she said, they perceive the distance from where they are to the point of recovery to be a vast one; overwhelmed, they are deceived into thinking they are better off just staying put.
In truth the distance is a tiny one, she continued, as she traced the scored line on top of the clamshell containing her leftovers. It’s as simple as moving from here, she said, pointing to the left side of the line, to here, sliding her finger just to the right of it.
That Single Step Changes Everything
As soon as the person steps over that line she is no longer addicted, but recovering. It doesn’t mean she will be freed immediately from the grip of her disease, but it does mean she is beginning to walk on a new path toward a future defined by wholeness and health; and her stumbles become just that. Addiction is no longer in control. (My intentional focus on this powerful pivot point is not to diminish the essential recovery resources needed to make this journey successfully.)
It seems almost magical and thus unbelievable, but it’s a reality that plays itself out again and again in many of life’s decisions. Standing at the fork in the road it is difficult to see very far down either path, but the decisions we make in those crucial moments can be life-changing.
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
No where is this more profoundly on display than in the decision to follow Jesus. It was not until I lived in Texas that I first encountered people anxious to share their stories of “when they were saved.” They can tell you how old they were and exactly what happened, often with the same fervor as the day they met the love of their lives or first greeted their children.
That singular moment changes lives. Jesus promised us it would when he kicked off his life-saving, life-transforming, abundant-living ministry. He told the crowd gathered at church that Sunday that the promise Isaiah had foretold so many years before was about to fulfilled…by Him:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because He has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4: 18-19
As Jesus told his friend, Simon, (Luke 7:36-50) it is those who recognize the magnitude of their need who are most grateful and passionate about being saved. We all are in great peril, but sometimes those of us raised in the faith lose sight of that reality…we slip into the dangerous mindset of living a lukewarm life. Take a moment to watch a powerful clip on this topic from the movie, War Room , if you’ve not seen it:
Out here in the blogosphere I find myself drawn again and again to those who write candidly of their own need for a savior; their vulnerability about their sins and suffering invites others to find themselves in their stories and follow them along the short, gentle path from darkness into light:
One of my favorite bloggers, Beauty Beyond Bones, is a beautiful young woman whose life was being stolen by an eating disorder. One of her most captivating posts, “The Voice of ED Revealed,” offers a powerful expose of the familiar script of the accuser, who diminishes each of us by exploiting our weaknesses in his quest to steal, kill and destroy lives. Yet her blog is an inspiring tale of the power to overcome through a relationship with Jesus.
Tony Casson is a former prisoner of Oakdale Penitentiary and his own sinful nature. His writing testifies to the redemptive power of Christ to heal us from the worst that is within us. His candid walk with the Lord offers a light to all who have fallen into darkness…and that’s all of us.
Annie B. is a married mother of three whose writing gives voice to those suffering with invisible illnesses. She offers hope through the strength she has found in Christ alone.
And Lenei, whose blog Wrestling with Faith – Dancing with Jesus, shares how she is trusting Jesus to lead her by green pastures and still waters, that she might find repose from the social anxiety and stress seeking to rob her of an abundant life.
You know examples from among your own family and friends. The truth is that all of us face opposition and demons (sometimes of our own making) in this fallen world.
On one side we stand alone, drawing on our limited resources to face the battle each day…only to discover that we are quickly depleted.
And yet just one step across that line a different story awaits us, an eternal one of life and light and abundance. It’s hiding in plain sight, right behind our fear, self-pity and hopelessness. It is a life where we never walk alone, where we rely not on our own understanding, but on the infinite wisdom of the creator of the universe. Waiting right there is someone who loves us infinitely and perfectly, someone who was willing to die simply that we might live:
- Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
- I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
- My cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. (Psalm 23: 5-6)
- Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Jesus is calling us to life. We have only to accept His invitation, take His hand and muster just enough courage to
cross the line from death to life that
He crossed first for us.