Deuteronomy 28:9God will form you as a people holy to Him, just as He promised you, if you keep the commandments of God, your God, and live the way He has shown you.
This should excite us! We should relish this! God has pronounced His desire for us to be His people. The longing on His part fully announced within the Bible. The can be no mistake the impact and implications of ‘God’s care for us.’ It should warm our hearts! 1 Peter 2:10Once you were less than nothing; now you are God’s own. Once you knew very little of God’s kindness; now your very lives have been changed by it.
Nothing but strong words have been written to impress on us the consequences of adventure into forbidden territory, disobedient and defiant attitudes toward God. Our sins are our tragedy!
Many of us are familiar with the heartbreak of broken relationships. Sadness which many of us share in mutual understanding. Separation from God one of the most alarming. The breakthrough for new opportunity coming to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. “It’s a new and living way walk ye in it.”
‘The Way’ back for us, an invitation to step into privileged relationship with God though personal acceptance of Jesus as our ‘One True Higher Power’
What The Bible Says
A man who loves pleasure becomes poor; wine and luxury are not the way to riches! I said to myself, “Come now, be merry; enjoy yourself to the full.” But I found that this, too, was futile. For it is silly to be laughing all the time; what good does it do? God gives those who please him wisdom, knowledge, and joy.
Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place. word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything–or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best–the sun to warm and the rain to nourish–to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.”Matthew 5:43-45
Welcome to Step Eight, which says “WE MADE A LIST OF ALL PERSONS WE HAVE HARMED AND BECAME WILLING TO MAKE AMENDS TO THEM ALL”
Now that we have worked on our of this step is to identify those we have hurt. This is a preparation step for making amends and restitution. We have established a relationship with God. We have taken time to get to know ourselves and have commenced the process of change. It is now time to start working on repairing our relationships with others. Part of this process is identifying the people hurt by our sinful habits and attitudes. I know many of us have been hurt by others and they need to go on our lists too. But the purpose of this step is to identify the hurt people we have left and let down.
*NOTE We are doing this for our ‘Spiritual Growth’, not theirs. “This is what God does. He gives his best–the sun to warm and the rain to nourish–to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.” So should we.
Are you prepared to honestly make a list of people you have harmed and how you have hurt them?
Prayer: Lord, open my heart and my mind as I search them to identify the people I have hurt in the past.
Recovery is a fresh start to a new life where God is in charge and we are not. Our sinful habits and attitudes are taken away through simply trusting every day.
A song that comes to mind right now as I write these words says:
Simply trusting every day. Trusting through a stormy way, Even when my faith is small, Trusting Jesus, that is all.
For me, that is what recovery is all about – TRUSTING JESUS. He has all the power. He has all the understanding and wisdom and He is my Higher Power, Trusting Him every day in my life requires all the courage I can muster. It requires I put my complete confidence in Him and it requires my patience to wait on Him when He says “Not Yet!”
Do you trust Jesus and are you willing to wait on Him?
Prayer: God help me to simply trust even when my faith is small
STEP SEVEN THROUGH ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GOD’S SUPREME POWER,
I HUMBLY ASK HIM TO HELP ME CHANGE MY SINFUL HABITS AND ATTITUDES.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon”
Humility comes when you recognize that you need God and then watch Him meet your needs.
Deuteronomy 8:2You must remember the entire trip that the Lord your God has led you through…….. He was testing you. He wanted to make you humble. He wanted to know what is in your heart. He wanted to know if you would obey his commands.
A humble approach is called for in Step seven. God does not want to scare us with His supreme power, but He does want us to submit to His leadership.
As we humble ourselves before God as His children in need, He lifts us up by filling our innermost needs.
Step seven is the humble confession that we cannot change our sinful habits and attitudes on our own. Instead, we must humbly ask Him to help us and be open to changes outside of our comfort zone. And be prepared to work with Him by going to ’any lengths’ in our search for a better way of living life ‘One Day at a Time’
Matthew 7:17-20A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
The Word of God often likens people to trees. People trying to constantly live under the guidance and instruction of ‘Gods Word’ are said to be Psalms 1:3‘like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.’ A lovely picture for people walking daily in the recovery process, planted and sustained by God. Producing lives that reflect something of what Jesus spoke about in the ‘Sermon on the Mount.”
Many of us, if totally honest have to admit we have little to show for the years of our mere existence. “nothing but leaves” is one of the ways the Bible explains it. Our ability to produce fruit that benefits others just wishful thinking. Because we have no life-source within.
Before we can aspire to God’s expectations of us changes are required. Placing ourselves at the disposal of God a necessity. In John 15:4 Jesus says “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.”
Step Four says “In order to help me change, I will investigate and record with God’s help – my sinful habits and attitudes.” When you take an honest look at your sinful habits and attitudes. What do you see? and what do you need to change?
Bible Reading: Matthew 5:43-48 Focus Verse: Matthew 5:46
Loving our enemies doesn’t mean we have to like them and approve of everything they do. It does mean however we have to forgive them and desire the best for them. Resentments lead to relapse if they are left unchecked. In Romans 5:8 it points out the fact that even at our worst God loves us. Through the process of recovery, we need to learn to develop our attitudes and actions to seek and to follow God’s will for our lives so we can learn to accept people for who they are not who we think they should be or would like them to be.
Recovery is about becoming the best you, you can be through God’s guidance and help.
Jesus said, “Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to–to God’s kingdom.”John 3:3
Spiritual rebirth is a necessary part of the recovery process. None of us begin knowing what we need to know to achieve lasting, growing spiritual recovery. True recovery is not achieved by trying harder to live better. True recovery comes from knowing Jesus, being reborn in His image and growing each day ‘a day at a time’ trusting and obeying His guidance in our lives.
Step Six says “After discovering my sinful habits and attitudes and confessing them, I am now willing to let God change me.” I will trust God to change my habits and attitudes and be willing to do what He tells me to do. Even when I don’t understand or it doesn’t make sense. God knows what is best for me. Because He knows me better than I know myself (He created me) And the Bible tells me 2 Corinthians 1:6When I suffer for Jesus, it works out for my healing and salvation. If I am treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to my benefit, spurring me on, face forward, unflinching. My hard times are also your hard times.
Spiritual rebirth begins when selfish ambition ceases.
Proverbs 22:5Thorns and traps lie in the paths of evil people. But those who guard themselves stay far away from them.
A large part of the process of change is the commitment to keep changing. Nothing stays the same, except God. We live in a changing world and as we grow spiritually we have to continually adjust our character, with God’s help according to our spiritual maturity.
Along the way, we will all face temptations. To overcome temptation we need tolearn to stay close to Godand to guard the changes He has made in our habits andATTITUDES.
I can honestly say since I entered recovery I have been offered more alcohol and drugs than I ever was when I was using. Thankfully with God’s help, I have always been able to say no.
Do you have a plan for avoiding the thorns and traps when they present?
Acts 15:36-41 Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let’s see how they’re doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn’t have him; he wasn’t about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations.
Recovery is a process of spiritual growth we never complete. A process we can never quit if we want to fully mature and become the people God is calling us and equpping us to be.
In the process we all need to examine our motives and pay attention to the motives of those who walk with us. Mixing with the wrong company whilst is the process of recovery can lead us back to our old ways of thinking and acting. Relapse is a process that generally occurs over a period of time. Taking daily inventory of our lives, attitudes and actions and taking steps to address what we get wrong each day is an important part of the process.
STEP TEN:Now that I am in the process of change, I will check myself daily to make sure I am not slipping back into my old ways and if I am, I will take steps to rectify it.
There is a song we used to sing in The Salvation Army in the early days of my recovery that said “I’ll not go back, whater it may cost. I’m called to live to love and save the lost.” When we come across people with the wrong motives we are not called to ignore them but to include them by doing all we can to teach them the right way to live and helping them to discover God’s pathway for their lives so they to can lead others to a personal relationship with God.
STEP TWELVE:Having gone through these steps and discovering the importance of individual relationship with God through Jesus, I will try to live according to His principles and to lead others to s personal relationship with Him.
Psalm 26:2Examine me, God, from head to foot, order your battery of tests. Make sure I’m fit inside and out.
Proverbs 21:2 We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.
Proverbs 21:8Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road.
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The Master makes that judgment. So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of–inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God.