This is Easter for junkies.
And we are all junkies.
Our drugs of choice: pride, vanity, self-absorption, lust, greed, laziness, sexual addiction and impurity, insecurity, addiction to others’ approval and attention, manipulation, murder, comparison, worry, hatred, jealousy, bitterness, lying, selfishness, desire for success and popularity, emotional numbness. And on, and on.
We mix and match, compulsively injecting unholy cocktails with dirty needles into our capillaries.
With each dose, we get higher. Our hearts get harder. And no matter how much we try to get clean by ourselves–to change the sick condition of our hearts on the most fundamental level–we cannot. It’s impossible. And we hate ourselves because deep down, we know somehow that this isn’t how it should be. That this is wrong. That once upon a time it wasn’t always like this–but then, somewhere along the line, we took our first hit. And we were done.
We tell ourselves that this one’s the last one, blame our enablers, spiral into shame, pretend we are on the straight and narrow, secretly try support groups or self-help books or religion or other rules for thinking or behaving that never actually change anything but only increase our awareness of how voracious our appetites actually are. The craving is too strong. We are fundamentally and physically addicted, unable to stop, to “be a good person,” to “do better.” But worse than that are the small, cold voices in the back of our minds that say, even if we could stop…would we? Would we even want to get clean? We shake and shiver because we know that there is something in us that secretly craves self-destruction.
No matter our particular cravings, all of us are addicted to something, and we all deserve our collective sentence: eternal separation from God. Sounds harsh, maybe. But consider: the enormous magnitude of this sentence makes sense because of the enormous magnitude of Whom we have committed the crime against–God. He who embodies justice cannot ignore the crimes of His children and still be just. He who is perfectly holy cannot be in the presence of anything but perfect holiness. Even the tiniest drop of poison infects the whole batch. And so we are separated, condemned to the Dealer who beckons in the darkness to get us to buy.
And every single one of us has gone astray.
Even on our death beds, we rebel against the perfect law of the perfect God, who looks in deep despair upon our underground transactions, our wide, dull eyes and twitching hands that communicated hatred and disdain for Him with every quick interchange. Of course, He could force us to choose Him, to come clean–but He won’t, because that’s not real love. That’s not real life. That’s a vegetative state. That’s removing choice.
Still, what Father wants to watch His children choose the pathetic excuse for life that is lived by the needle or the spoon or the high over every good thing and every opportunity He gave them in Himself? What Father wants to watch them become more addicted and helpless to quit with every gasping inhale? And how can He pave a place where unflinching justice and abundant love intersect, a road for us to Him, a road to home?
Something must be done.
God became man when He came down as Christ–the only one who denied every offer the Dealer ever made Him. Unlike us, Jesus refused to live large off the profits of poison. He tended to the worst of us in our tremors, our twisted visions, our stupor and addictions. In the temple, He called out the dealers, the buyers, us liars who claimed to be clean and sober enough to have earned a spot with the Father, but whose veins were full of falsehood.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life. He turned tables. He claimed to be King. He held up the mirror to our wasted faces. He gained followers. He, the only way to the Father. But we hated Him because He kept clean.
Behind closed temple doors, a deal was made, silver and secret.
He was betrayed.
And thus, the cross.
Willingly He went to spill his blood out for the strung-out, our Father exhausting on Him the wrath we rightfully should have known. Nailed to the Son’s beaten and beloved hands were every one of our addictions, our afflictions, the diseases and cheap thrills that would have killed us in the end. That day the price was paid, His justice satisfied, holiness upheld. Jesus was buried, sealed in stone. The Son’s work was finished.
Except, His Father’s wasn’t.
Three days later, the stone was rolled, and nothing found. The empty tomb and His reappearance to His followers were no hallucinations, but heart-shaking doses of reality.
The first Easter.
Somewhere out there in the mean streets, the Dealer screamed in agony because his profession was officially declared by Christ a dying breed, because one day, the veins of every addict who claimed the power of the blood of Christ would run clean.
Jesus came back to life. He conquered the fatal diagnosis we had all been dealt and offered all of us our only chance at life: trusting Him alone to make transfusions of His blood for ours. Clean for dirty. Life for death. Freedom for slavery. We could do nothing to earn this chance at life. It was His grace alone–the gift freely given that we could never deserve.
No striving. No self-help. No behavior modification.
There was nothing left for us to do because Jesus accomplished absolutely everything at His crucifixion.
And for those of us who believed and trusted in Him, for those of us who let Him wash us out and fill us up with His Spirit and make us clean, like me? We no longer are slaves to substance, to futile strivings, to defeat. We can rise up out of our death beds because, through His Son, God has given us new hearts and new flesh that burst and beat with life. And we are sent by him to the darkest and seediest of street corners to tend to and share with those who still choose the trips over the transfusion, until the hour He returns to us.
So we work, and we wait, and to be honest, sometimes we relapse. We indulge the ghosts of former vices. But the difference now is that the poison that once would have gotten us addicted has lost its potency. Because of His blood, our old highs have no power over us. We can choose victory.
We are alive. We are awake. We are no longer junkies.
I am no longer a junkie.
My name is Erin.
And this Easter, I am two and-a-half years clean.
Thanks for reading! Please comment with any feedback or questions, and also watch these videos because they’re awesome.
Happy Easter. Christ is risen.
Erin Elizabeth xoxo