What Do You Do With The Old Stuff?

IMG_1875 I get this question a lot. Does God not heal the addict completely? Am I doing Him a disservice by bringing up that old stuff all of the time. I got an email today just as I was getting ready to write. Never one to waste effort (translate that..lazy) I decided to kill two birds with one email.

Hey Mike,
In my devotional time today I was thinking about you because I was reading from the Life Recovery Bible. I struggle with the fact that you categorize yourself as an addict and that you still go to 12 step meetings. I guess the questions I have are:
Does this negate the idea that God can bring ultimate healing?
Does it not bring all the negative junk back every time you go to a meeting?

In Christ,
XXXXXXXX

Hello XXXXXX,
First let me say you have better things to think about during your devotions than me. 🙂 But…thanks for thinking.

It’s a good question and I always answer it on two levels. As a Christ-follower and a student of both scripture and theology I say “I am a new creature in Christ Jesus. Old things are passed away and all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) I am not an addict any more. My heart and my identity have been changed.

That does two things. It frees me from the shame of my past and it also allows me to look at my life honestly, filtered through the mercy of God. King David said, “My sin is ever before me.” Then he said, “Create in me a new heart” (Psalm 51) He did not say take my past away but change my heart towards it. So in my mind, the redeemed addict gets almost more benefit and blessing in remembering his sin and recognizing how much God has done for him than in trying to forget it.

Probably should stop there but…..as a recovered addict let me say, the 12 Steps, and the idea of never forgetting how dreadful your “before” life was, has worked for a lot of people for a very long time. And if it works….. I’ll wear a pink tutu and whistle Dixie 24 hours a day if it keeps me sober. So I go to meetings with my head held high. Thanking God that He changed me and I am no longer who I was. But also remembering that I am just one slip away from being back there again. There is tremendous grace in both sides of that equation.

Now, get back to your devotions.

Mike

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