Relapse: How can we stop doing the things we don’t want to do?

 

I’m not a “baseball guy”. I like the sport. But currently I couldn’t name more than half a dozen players. Yet, when I recently read that Angels’ player Josh Hamilton had relapsed with his drug abuse, my heart sank.

I don’t know him. I can’t even fathom what it is like to be him. But I can relate. Because I do know what it is like to relapse.375px-Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_002

I know what it is like to do something you never thought you’d do again. I know what it is like to be overwhelmed with temptation. I know what it is like to have your mind switch into auto-pilot. I know what it is like to do a sinful action in a completely routine-like manner. I know what it is like to say “I’ll never do that again.” And I know what it is like to later do “it” again.

Relapse.

It’s not just a drug addiction thing.

It’s a gossip thing. It’s a cheating thing. It’s a yelling-at-your-kids thing. It’s a lying thing. It’s a lust thing. It’s a being-selfish thing. It’s a not-caring thing. It’s a self-comfort thing. It’s a sin thing.

It’s a thing every person, every Christian, goes through.

What’s the solution?

The answer is found in the book of Romans. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 7:15-25,

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Paul was no stranger to relapse. But he found freedom in Jesus Christ.

Freedom came when he acknowledged he was helpless to change himself. Freedom came when he saw his desperate need for a savior. Freedom came when he looked to Jesus Christ as that Savior.

It is the same for us today.

Freedom from relapse comes when we surrender ourselves to Jesus.

 

I thank God, that Josh Hamilton knows this. He surrendered himself to Jesus once before.

My heartfelt prayer is that by God’s grace he will surrender himself once again.

Pray for our brother Josh. And let us pray for ourselves that we will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40).