I met Michael while working at a Christian drug rehab center in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a coworker of mine, and he has one of those testimonies you’ll never forget. But there was one part of it that has especially stuck with me.
When we look at other people’s lives, it’s usually pretty easy to see root of their problems. Your friend can’t commit even though she keeps meeting potentially great partners, and she just can’t figure out why. You know her dad left her when she was young, so it seems obvious to you that her commitment issue is probably a defense mechanism to protect herself from not getting abandoned again. Why can’t she see this?
Detoxing is a medical term often associated with cleansing the body from impure substances. You can detox from anything ranging from sugar to relationship or from chocolate to crack cocaine. While detoxing from sin is not a topic directly found in the Bible, there are certainly many similarities.
The short and very sufficient answer to “How can I be saved?” is this: Put your faith in Jesus Christ. If you remember nothing else, remember that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
So what does the Bible say about personal responsibility?
Throughout the Bible, the real problem was not the Philistines, Egyptians, Syrians, or Romans. It was not the Red Sea, the lack of water, or the absence of food for the people. Nothing could hinder God’s purpose for his people other than the people themselves.
Life is painful. With every increase of joy and happiness comes a greater and greater likelihood of experiencing loss. The more important something becomes to you, the more it hurts when it’s taken away. And so if you allow your heart to be open to anything good at all, you also are opening your heart to a very real possibility of being wounded deeply.
So what should we do? It feels like life is one big unwinnable catch-22. We want to experience happiness in this life, and yet to open ourselves up to the possibility of happiness is to make ourselves vulnerable to pain. And yet if we stay closed off to the possibility of pleasure in relationships, careers, churches, and in all the other areas which culminate to make a full, rich life, we may go unscathed but we also will go on living a boring, safe life where our need for safety is also steeling our need for joy.