Looking down at my odometer it dawned on me that's how many miles I had driven in the last week. That's roughly also how many different things I thought about while driving that far. Such as why situations overcome our faith? Or, why the climate this year is so whacky? Or, like why so many folks have recently relapsed?
Not just alcohol and drug relapse, but also a relapse of dysfunctional thinking. Why do we fall back into those behaviors instead of changing the way we think? Is it a spiritual condition or the reflex reaction to panic about our situations? While we talk about the 12 Steps, do we emphasize enough having a personal relationship with the Lord? And, do you have one with him, and if so does that prevent you from any of what I just spoke about?
Bottom line, we make choices that are sometimes influenced by our situations and others, but are always our choices. Instead of pointing a finger at this or that, it needs to be pointing squarely at us.
While in a motel room during that journey, I also saw a video of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the desert, and it was a great enactment of what might have been. What struck me was how they portrayed Jesus being weak and hungry and definitely exhausted. This is where our rubber meets the road, where we are most vulnerable. What did he do? Quoted the words of his Father and used those words to overcome his weakness.
Before we ever fail, do we ever quote those words at our situation, "Get behind thee Satan because my God is greater than your temptation.” Alcohol, drugs, bad relationships, money...all just symptoms of a relapse, not the cause. The cause is within us and usually stems from unresolved issues that make us want to bail out. In that video, Jesus looked ready to bail because of what he had to face from a human perspective, how truly needy he was at that moment, but at the last minute he called upon his Father's strength, not his own.
Not sure how many miles Jesus walked during those 40 days, but he spent 15,640 minutes in a physically weakened condition. My 2000 miles pale in comparison, but it gives me a glimpse of how difficult it is to keep our lives between the lines when the lines become blurry. The only thing separating us from another bad decision is the strength of our Father to clear up the picture, to correct our vision.
This all came together for me when I read a devotional I also picked up during those 200 miles..."Challenge yourself to see what comes your way as your way to become"...in other words, after overcoming temptations of the devil that came his way, Jesus became a redeemer. What can we become if we do the same?
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.