Earlier this week, ESPN.com published an article about former UT Vols quarterback and current NY Jet Erik Ainge. He admitted to extreme substance abuse dating back to when he was 12 years old, when he began a lifestyle that led to addictions to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and painkillers.
He spent 12 years on hard drugs and has only been able to overcome his addictions for the last 8 months, over which time he has moved in with family members and entered recovery programs. However, I don’t want to take this space to talk about his drug addiction. I really want to key in on the headline that got my attention in the first place. The headline was a simple quote from Ainge – “If I didn’t get help, I would have died.”
While there are many sins that don’t put you in danger of physical death, the quote could be applied to all of us in terms of our spirituality. Originally, if we don’t turn to Jesus to save us, we will die.
However, I want to take it one step further. Once we become Christians, it is a command for us to help our fellow Christians and submit ourselves to them to receive their help as well. If we don’t get help with our sins, we will die. The church isn’t a “Do It Yourself” organization. God wants us to be in fellowship with Christ, and if we’re in fellowship with Him, we must be in fellowship with each other. When we have sin in our lives, our pride takes over and tells us to keep it to ourselves. We don’t want other people to know we have flaws. God doesn’t care. He knows what’s best for us, and He wants us to be there for each other. Hebrews 3:12-13 warns us – “Take care brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
God’s solution for keeping each one from falling away is the encouragement we can give one another and help each other through. We know that we are commanded to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). The lesson for us is to never try to “fly solo” in our lives as Christians. God wants us to help one another, but if everyone refused help, nobody would be able to keep that command. Let’s help one another and rely on the help God has given us in the form of the church. We’re in a fight, and if we don’t get help, we’ll die.