2019-12-12 One Step At A Time.

“And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man,
the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed,
and in his right mind.”
Mark 5:15

We’re ready to move on.

Step 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Folks, let’s not kid ourselves. There are effective treatment plans that don’t include Christ. But, unless one recognizes Jesus for who he really is, God and Savior, how can we truly say we are in our right minds? Only a fool denies God – a blind, ignorant, self-centered fool. And, as we see with the demon-possessed man, Jesus can put even the most depraved mind where God wants it. So, what about your problem? Can Jesus solve it or not? Of course he can.

Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

Now that you acknowledge that Jesus can solve your problems, are you willing to let him? Turning over the reins is difficult. We think we need to keep trying; and if we don’t, everything will fly apart. Well, that’s not quite true. From what I have seen in AA, this is perhaps the most difficult step for alcoholics to make. Unfortunately for those who don’t make it, all progress stops in its tracks. I’ve seen people struggle for years while hung up on this one only to find sudden relief when they do it. There’s a lesson to be learned here for all Christians.

Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

None of these steps are easy. In this one, we take a good look at ourselves. It is really the act of repentance, having God lay out our defects so that we may see them. Fear, pride, sin, resentment, you name it. Nothing should be held back because it will remain a festering wound until God the surgeon works it. Make no mistake, he will work it sooner or later. Far better is it to cooperate than to be forced. One other thing. It is wise to get input from those you love and respect and who will be honest with you. Remember, this step instructs us to search and be fearless. This is not a time for excuses or to blame others. Why is this step so important? Because we often use denial and blame as reasons to sin. Fear is another big reason people go to their “comfort sin.” We want to get rid of all these hang-ups, don’t we?

Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Do you have something in your past that nags you? Everyone does. Have you discovered that talking about it helps? It sure does. But, we are very careful about sharing things for fear of what people will think. Maybe it is something seemingly minor, like stealing something when a teenager. Maybe it is something far worse, like having had an affair. We can stuff these memories until we they don’t seem to bother us anymore. But you know what? Doing that harms us in ways we don’t anticipate. The more we do this, the more we lose our ability to experience our feelings. Important feelings like love and joy. We may lose our peace and patience. We may no longer be kind or good to others. We may no longer be faithful or gentle. We may lose self-control. It’s very, very hard to stuff emotions. It comes at a great cost.

Now, we can confess our sin to God, but there is something about confessing it to ourselves that is important, too. It’s also important to tell someone else, someone you can trust. Someone who doesn’t have a stake in the game. Telling another person is very important because there is tremendous relief when these secrets are shared. For some reason, God intends for it to be this way because he blesses us when we do.

Step 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

These two go hand in hand, although it sometimes takes some work to give some stuff over to God. In fact, I think this is part of my gluttony hang-up. As much as I want to eat in a healthy manner, I still enjoy over-indulging. With alcohol, I had to resign myself to forever be done with booze. I had to be settled on the “Zero-Tolerance” policy. Until I permanently view my sin as my enemy, I will be tempted to welcome that old, familiar face. God is the one who does this for us, but our mind and our heart need to allow him.

We’ll pick up from there tomorrow. This is tough stuff, folks. Most don’t want to undertake it. We’ll find more difficult work ahead.

Father, this is a process, I know. Impress on me what they say in AA. One Step At A Time. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

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