A friend spoke to me earlier this week about sobriety. He said, “What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”
I now know that he was quoting from the Big Blue Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, but those words spoke volumes to me about the difference between duty and grace.
The duty of “maintaining our spiritual condition” is at the heart of programs like AA — and I’m beginning to understand how hard and serious that work is in every life.
The gift, the grace of a daily reprieve, is what sobriety represents.
I have often thought of my struggles to maintain a regular discipline of prayer — or any discipline of any kind, for that matter. Like Paul, “I do not understand my own actions. I do not do what I want, but the very thing I hate” (1 Cor. 7:15).
My friend has me thinking differently today.
What if the daily prayer, the day without drinking, the day without shopping (or whatever else it may be), is not a burdensome duty to fail at yet again — but is actually the gift of rest for a moment?
The work is hard enough without making grace and rest a duty, too.
“Come unto me, all who travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you,” says our Lord (Matt. 11:28).
Come to a sober and right mind as you maintain your spiritual condition.
Come to a daily reprieve.