2019-12-11 Unmanageable? Who, Me?

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

Yesterday, we covered three words of Step 1.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

We. Admitted. Powerless. Now, let’s look at the last word in the sentence – unmanageable. What does it mean to be unmanageable? This is what my dictionary says:

Adj.: difficult or impossible to manage, manipulate, or control.

Now, one can debate whether Step 1 targets the excessive drinking once it starts or whether it is drinking that has made our entire lives unmanageable – even when sober. I say it’s both. If my drinking gets carried away, it affects my life. We alcoholics used to say that if my drinking didn’t affect my job, then everything was OK. Well, that only proved that I was in denial because any time I had a hangover, it was affecting my job. Furthermore, there is so much more to life than work. No, my excessive drinking affected all of my life.

What about other sin? Is it any different? One thing AA points out is that we are pre-occupied with drinking. We think about drinking whether we are actually drinking or not. I’m sure you know people who always seem to bring the conversation around to booze. They may wear beer shirts, have beer signs in their house, and so on. You know what I mean. There is a preoccupation with booze.

Now, does that mean one needs AA, that their life had become unmanageable? Maybe, maybe not. One of the challenges AA poses to answer that is to stop drinking for one year. If you can take it or leave it, then you certainly should be easily able to leave it for a year. Why wouldn’t you be able to do that, if it’s no big deal.

For most who darken the doors of AA, a year’s hiatus is not only impossible, it doesn’t even get serious consideration. That’s why the slogan, “One Day At A Time,” is so powerful. We don’t think in terms of years, but rather one day. Can I manage one day? Probably, although there were times when I had to break the day into shorter segments. That’s why I went to three meetings one day.

Truth be told, our “problem” was unmanageable far longer than that day we went to our first AA meeting. For some of us, it started pre-teen. Who knows? One thing is for sure, it didn’t all of a sudden show up.

Are we willing to look at our secret sin that way? Again, if you think you don’t have a problem with something, then hats off to you. Read Romans 7. Paul is the great Apostle. See how he struggles with whatever sin bothered him.

So, the first step is to admit our sin, that we are powerless over it and that our lives had become unmanageable. Is my gluttony unmanageable? Am I powerless over it? It certainly would seem so. Remember, I’m comparing myself to God’s standard, not what I see as acceptable in the world.

Now, let’s return to the first word – We. It’s no longer just me; it’s “we.” I might know full well my position; but until I expose this private problem with like-minded people, I will likely suffer alone.

This would be a radical shift if the church was to think in these terms. However, it is rare for someone to openly share their secret sin. We certainly don’t get this type of transparency from those who stand at the front of the church facing the audience. Why should we expect it out of those who attend?

Here’s what I’m looking for in my life. First, I want to honor God with my body. Gluttony does not honor it. Second, I want to take the time I spend thinking about food and use it for kingdom purposes. God seems to be taking me on a journey in order to get there. I wish I could snap my fingers, and everything will be better, but that isn’t happening. So, I write with the hope of finding answers through scripture. That is leading me to church, the body of Christ, with people that make disciples.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Father, I look to you to lead me in this, to make disciples, including myself, and to receive mercy and find grace in my time of need. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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