“Suffering, then, is the badge of true discipleship,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Pastors are to be the shepherds of the flock, the lead messengers of the Gospel of Jesus in the church. They set the tone and vibrancy of the congregation, inspiring others to seek first the Kingdom of God, both present and future. The are also the instigators of discipleship, the ushers of growth.
In a culture of secularized Christianity, we have strayed from the hard stuff of life and faith, and accepted a cheap grace. A free grace. This however, is not biblical. For grace is not cheap. It cost an extremely high amount; the price of God’s Son on a cross, suffering, and dying. Grace then, is perhaps the most expensive purchase there is. Yet is is too often freely given, as if it did not cost a thing.
When it comes to the topic of addiction, grace is a central theme to restoration with God and others. If you or someone you know is or has dealt with addiction, you know that this is something you suffer through. It is no easy thing to get over. So grace therefore, as free as it is through Christ and his sacrifice, is not easy; it is not cheap. It is expensive. It is suffering.
As leaders of the church, we lead not only in our words, we lead in our actions, through the suffering of the cross, and with the suffering of those Jesus paid the ultimate price for. Growing through an addiction and coming to a place where God is the only appetite is not an easy journey. It is a long road, paved with multiple failures along the way. However, as we journey the road of suffering, united in fellowship, we overcome sin through grace, costly grace. The way it was and is meant to be.