It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63
A few years ago, I was interviewed by a Christian radio station on the topic of addiction recovery. I have always been passionate about this topic and spent several years in lay ministry focused on recovery issues. I will confess that I don’t listen to a lot of Christian radio, however, because I think ministry should meet people where they are. A lot of Christians disagree with that approach too.
In the interview, I said I didn’t believe a recovering addict could truly be transformed without a sincere focus on their spiritual life. The radio person, whose name I can’t remember (I am bad about that), interrupted me in mid sentence to correct me.
“You mean Christian life.”
I have to admit the sudden change of tone caught me off guard. However, 2 Timothy 2:14 instructs us “not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” So, I did not stop to clarify my choice of words. Some people get really touchy over terminology but, as a Christian being interviewed on a Christian talk show, I had not considered a need to clarify the word “spiritual.” As Christians, our relationship to Jesus is our spiritual life.
We cannot make assumptions about the beliefs of others. Addiction, like any other sin lifestyle, is very selfish. It is impossible to preach a Christian “spiritual life” to someone who rejects the idea of any type of faith or “higher power (to use a 12 step term). No one will ever embrace God until you get them to understand that there is a power greater than their own ego.
In Luke 16, Jesus taught that the people of the world were good at dealing with each other and said that Christians should be shrewd as well. We have simply got to be smarter in our approach to the world around us. Make better decisions.
If you put 100 random people in a room together, addicts will find the other addicts in the room. Would Christians find each other as easily? Would we speak to each other if we did?
You see, the people of the world (Jesus’ term) are more clever in dealing with one another. Christians need to learn to thrive in the world around us. The world doesn’t divide into denominations, but the children of the light will argue over everything.
I had not thought about that interview in a long time until a few days ago. On the surface, it is not a big deal but it is indicative of a bigger problem. Christianity is not a brand name, it is a lifestyle. Make better decisions when dealing with one another and stop stumbling over words.