February 04, 2011

The Search for Recovery

Romans 6:8-14

Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11


Recovery groups are based on the idea that there’s only one secret to finding freedom from an addiction—surrender. Addicts who come looking for a little help quickly discover that they don’t fit in. The famous “12 Steps” are really nothing more than a means of reaching surrender and staying there, allowing denial to crumble so that God can begin to bring order to our chaos.

The same is true for recovering from our sin addiction. People sometimes turn to Christianity to become a better person, hoping for a little help in curbing their sinful tendencies. But the gospel of Christ has little to offer someone like that. It describes salvation in terms of death—dying to our old selves in order to let God bring us to resurrection life through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

You can’t “sort of” surrender in a recovery group, and you can’t “sort of” surrender your sin addiction to Christ. Christ cannot change us till we’re ready to give him complete permission to make whatever changes he knows we will need. In fact, partial surrender to Christ results in a lifetime of frustration as we’re forced to hide the sins we can’t control. It makes us hypocrites—“closet sinners.”

Have you reached the point of surrendering your sin addiction to God?

Lord, so often we try to think we can conquer our sin on our own. Please lead us into the wonder of complete surrender to you. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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