“For the reality is, only God can take away our Sin, our deeply entrenched addictions, and our lifelong character defects.” J. Keith Miller, A Hunger For Healing
This statement is so obviously true that it hardly bears stating or repeating, and yet how often have I failed to live like this? I readily acknowledge with my mouth that only God can take away my sin, yet in my heart I strive almost daily to earn grace. I go to my recovery meetings every week and publicly confess that only Jesus Christ can take away my addiction, yet I find myself every week feeling as though I need to work a perfect program. I write about my character defects and agree with my mentor that only God can take away my shortcomings, yet daily I find myself trying to be healthier through my own power. I try to work a perfect program because part of me still thinks that I have something to do with my success in my program. It is true that I have to do my part before God will do His part; He’s not going to heal my addiction if I don’t do anything myself. However, based on the way I behave it sometimes seems I think I can heal myself, or that I will only ask God to heal my addiction as a last resort if I cannot fix myself first.
But as J. Keith Miller points out above, only God can take away my Sin, heal my addictions, and remove my defects of character. Yes, I have to ‘do my part’, but my part seems to be more about an attitude adjustment and not healing sin. When it comes to healing sin, my best effort is as useful as my worst effort: It is meaningless. My effort doesn’t enter into the equation when it comes to my addiction or my character defects. God only works in our lives when we have reached the end of ourselves and our own best efforts. As long as I think I can heal myself and my defects, He won’t get in my way…and I won’t be healed.
If I could heal my own addiction or remove my own shortcomings, wouldn’t I have done it by now? How many years did I try to stop using pornography on my own? How many years have I known that I am an angry, impatient person? How many years did I try to fix myself through religion, self-help, or just ‘trying harder’? If I could fix myself, I would…but I can’t. The sooner I truly accept this fact and fully fall into God’s healing power and trust Him completely, the sooner He can get to work healing me.