Spirituality involves things like peace, love, righteousness, forgiveness. Integrity, our relationships and our values and worship. And aligning these things in our lives with God’s Word.
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
IF I AM, I WILL TAKE STEPS TO RECTIFY IT.
When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke–like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them. When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough–it was now quite late in the day–they interrupted: “We are a long way out in the country, and it’s very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper.” Jesus said, “You do it. Fix supper for them.” They replied, “Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?” But he was quite serious. “How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory.” That didn’t take long. “Five,” they said, “plus two fish.” Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred–they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples, in turn, gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at supper. Mark 6:34-44
Step Ten is about taking regular inventory of where we are at in this stage of our spiritual development. What we currently have that is useful for helping ourselves and others and what the Holy Spirit can add to what we currently have as we put our trust in Him.
I love this scripture and how Jesus, even though He knew what the disciples had, and what He was going to do with it. Says “take inventory” It is important in the recovery process that we continually take inventory, not just in our own character and behaviours but also in how much we have moved forward from the last time we took inventory. ‘What weaknesses did I display yesterday that I have changed today?’ Recovery is about daily progress, not daily perfection.
We have all sinned and fall short of God’s perfect plan for our lives. We can’t succeed in recovery and in life in our own strength. That is why we all need Jesus and we all need recovery.
In His strength, we will always have more than we need to do the things He is calling us to do.
IN ORDER TO CHANGE I WILL INVESTIGATE WITH GODS HELP MY SINFUL HABITS, ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS.
In the process of continued Spiritual growth we must continually review where we currently stand in the process. After praying, reading and listening to the Holy Spirit on Step Four this week five things became evident to me.
Our in inventories need to be
- WRITTEN DOWN back in the 1990’s I learned a lesson from The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitations Centre’s in the USA. It was“People take in more and understand more when they write it down” As a rule people going through the ARC’s were encouraged to take notes in every meeting. And to help them do that the ARC’s produced a handout for every meeting with spaces for note taking. It is the same with ‘Step Four’ Not only does writing our inventory down make us take in more but it also helps us in the process of getting to know ourselves.
- SPECIFIC when we are sick and go to the doctor they don’t treat us without examining us. Our inventories need to describe in detail our issues so we can decide on the right treatment plan the right course to changing our sinful habits, attitudes and behaviours.
- FOCUS ON OUR WRONG HABITS, ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS in the recovery process of healing we need to focus on (what separates us from God) (what drives my addictive, compulsive habits, attitudes and behaviours) (what personality traits exist in me that God would not approve of)
- BALANCED in establishing balance in our lives we need to consider in step Four ‘what defects exist in me that have led to my wrong perspectives in life? We need to focus on our character strengths and ways we can grow and develop them.
- INDIVIDUAL God in His wisdom created us all in His image as individuals. Regardless of what we may have heard about recovery the only right way to get it I am aware of is through personal relationship with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and walking the road He has paved for us all.
It is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation. Romans 10:10
CHANGE BEGINS IN THE RECOVERY PROCESS WHEN WE KNOW WHO WE ARE AND CHOOSE TO CHANGE WITH GODS HELP AND SUPPORT
For the next three years, Bill Wilson pursued his recovery through the Oxford Group, which emphasized the following:
1. Complete deflation (of false pride)
2. Dependence on and guidance from God
3. Moral inventory
4. Confession Restitution
5. Continued work with other suffering persons
This week at ‘Celebrate Recovery’ we looked at ‘Step Four’ and what it means to take a ‘MORAL INVENTORY’
John 2:9 says “Suppose someone claims to be in the light but hates his brother or sister. Then he is still in the darkness.”
Not everyone you meet on the journey of recovery is on the right path. In the Bible hatred and love as moral qualities are not primary emotions. They are attitudes expressed by our actions. In recovery knowing who’s on the right path is expressed in how they live, not what they say.
Recovery means more than just knowing the process. It means putting the process into daily living.
Proverbs 21:2 We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.
None of us set out to do the wrong thing. Generally, we believe we are doing what is right for us. But God sees the motives of our hearts. Often we make choices in areas of life where the right actions are difficult to discern. In our lives, we would do well to learn to take inventory of our motives by asking the question “Would God be pleased with what I am thinking or about to do?” It doesn’t please God when we are living just for our own selfish ambitions.
Bible Reading: Matthew 4:18-20
Focus Verse: Matthew 4:19
These men already knew Jesus. He had talked to Peter and Andrew previously (John 1:35-42) and had been preaching in the area. When Jesus called them, they knew what kind of man He was and were willing to follow Him.
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon. He told him, “We have found the Messiah.” Messiah means Christ. And he brought Simon to Jesus. John 1:41-42
We all know people who don’t know Jesus. We all know people who do not understand the recovery process. We all have a responsibility to God, to ourselves and to them to introduce them to a personal relationship with Him. The One who can heal every sickness, take away every pain and lead us all into a life far better than any of us can expect for ourselves.
A few years ago at Belgrave South Baptists Church Pastor Tim Dyer began the series called ‘The Greatest Message Ever’ He read from the passage The Sermon on the Mount. As I listened today and read along I was reminded of the significance of the ‘Beatitudes’ in the recovery process and in our lives in general and would encourage everyone this week to take time to read these wonderful words of Jesus and to take inventory on how we are measuring up against them.
In order to help me change, I will investigate and record with God’s help – my sinful habits and attitudes.
STEP TWO I believe God exists, that He cares about me and
He can help me to regain control of my life.
As we enter this season of CHRISTmas remembering 1 Timothy 1:15 whis says “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” We need to understand what Jesus has come to save us from.
Over my 30+ years in the recovery process I have had the pleasure of being involved in many different recovery fellowships and I love them all. ‘When people share their experience, strength and hope, openly and honestly with each others lives get changed.’ I especially love the acrostic teachings of ‘Celebrate Recovery‘
Looking at the quote above I heard from Jack Graham on ACCTV led me back to ‘Celebrate Recovery’ Lesson 7: Moral and our need to take inventory on the significant events – good and bad – in our lives. If ‘Sin is Moral Insanity’ and Jesus came to ‘Save Sinners’ then we need to examine our lives morally.
Moral according to the dictionary means “the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.”
‘Celebrate Recovery’ Lesson 7 says we need to honestly look at our conduct good – bad and indifferent and in the process of recovery look at how to put right our conduct with God’s help.
Job 33:33 “Listen to me. Keep silence and I will teach you wisdom!”
Taking moral inventory requires time getting alone with God and with yourself and taking an honest look at your conduct, behaviour, attitudes and actions.
Job 7:11 “Let me express my anguish. Let me be free to speak out of the bitterness of my soul.”
Moral inventory requires looking at our feelings. resentments, fears, self-pity and dishonesty openly and honestly and becoming willing to do what we need to do with God’s help deal with our guilt and get intouch with our true feelings.
Psalms 31:23-24 “Love the Lord, all of you who are his people; for the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but harshly punishes all who haughtily reject him. So cheer up! Take courage if you are depending on the Lord.”
Moral inventory requires putting our faith in Jesus to give us the strength to face the truth about our character and not get discouraged with what we discover as we are on a journey of ‘Character Change’
Proverbs 20:27 The Lord gave us mind and conscience; we cannot hide from ourselves.
Moral inventory requires stepping out of ‘DENIAL’ listening to our consience and accepting reponsibility for our bad conduct truthfully.
Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them.
Completing ‘Moral Inventory’ is an important part of the recovery process. As we go through the process we need to remember step two “I believe God exists, that He cares about me and He can help me to regain control of my life.” We are not in this on our own we have a God who cares about us and will help us in the process of regaining control of our lives.
Galatians 4:9 Now you know God. Even better, God knows you. So why are you turning back to those weak and worthless beliefs? Do you want to be slaves to them all over again?
Change in our lives is not always easy. In fact, most of the time it’s hard. And it doesn’t usually happen quickly. That’s why recovery is a process. There will be times in the process when you will feel like throwing in the towel. Days when you think it is all too hard. I want to encourage you today to keep going, you are doing well.
If you are feeling like that right now take time today to stop and look back. Take inventory on where you came from, where you are now and how you got here, to this point.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the Bible tells us we are new creations and we no longer need to live the way we used to. Take time today to thank God for that.
- Did you take the inventory?
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.
Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. Romans 13:11
Luke 11:36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.
The only way to work out what in your life is stopping you from following God is to take inventory, Step Four says “In order to help me change, I will investigate and record with God’s help – my sinful habits and attitudes.”
The first time I took an honest inventory of my life, my habits and attitudes were whilst staying in the William Both Men’s Hostel in Adelaide. I had decided before I ever got to recovery if I really wanted to change my life I needed to know and to understand me. I still have a copy of that inventory. The language is colorful. Some of the things I wrote were untrue but I believed them at the time based on how I was feeling back then.
- When was the last time you took an honest look at yourself?