The irony of a Christian recovery program is that it exists for men who have been living unmanaged and uncontrolled lives, driven primarily by selfish, destructive choices and addictive behaviors. Within 6 hours of their walking into the Christian Life Center for their 12-14 month long program, they are asked to live unselfishly in Christian community with other men like themselves – 40 to 80 uncontrolled and unmanaged men – treating God and each other according to the biblical commands “Love God” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That is irony – an outcome contrary to what you would expect to happen.
Thinking that a man is going to make those radical changes and choices instantly is a real stretch . . . a tall order. But guess what? That is what Jesus calls us to believe . . . that He is capable of bringing about those kinds of miraculous changes and transformations. Jesus may choose to do it instantly, quickly, or over time. Either way, the change is miraculous.
Do rules and self-discipline bring about those changes? Absolutely not. But beneficial rules and self-discipline create an environment of mutual respect where a self-centered man can begin to see how much he resents having to be subject to the control of others. When a man begins to acknowledge he hates the control of others in his life, but also admits neither can he control himself to do the right thing, that puts him in a great place to learn . . . . humbling. And humbling brings grace.
Freedom is not the absence of constraints. A person will always be controlled by somebody. Freedom is the choice to determine who he will allow to control him. Jesus promises He is a good and benevolent King, and that He will come and live in the inner being of the unmanaged man who is seeking self-control . . . inner governing and constraints. Why not choose to let Jesus bring the internal, self-governing that the unmanaged, uncontrolled man has been looking for?
Sometimes it’s fun and adventurous to be a part of something ironic!
(Contributed by Bret Kroh - Assistant Administrator to our Christian Life Program)