- SELF-CENTREDNESS CAN LEAD TO HOPELESSNESS
Psalms 100:3 Know this: God is God, and He made us; we didn’t make Him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. God made us we didn’t make Him, nor did we make ourselves. Many people think they are the creator and center of their recovery. This leads to greed, self-centeredness. And, it also means if you take away their things they will lose hope.
When we realize that God created us and gave us everything we have, including recovery we will become less self-centered and more others-centered.
- SELF-CENTREDNESS IS A SIN THAT REQUIRES REPENTANCE
Matthew 3:1-2 While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptizer,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Repent. God’s kingdom is near.” Repentance means doing an about-face. Turning from the kind of self-centeredness that leads to wrong attitudes and actions. A person who repents stops rejecting and rebelling against God and begins following His way of living as outlined in His Word. The first step of turning to God is “admitting that our life is a mess and we are out of control.”
- SELF-CENTREDNESS IS A CHARACTERISTIC OF OUR SINFUL NATURE
Romans 13:14 Take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires. If you truly believe ‘Jesus Christ is the One True Higher Power’ you must be willing to obey His leading in your life. You must understand your abilities, time and everything else in your life aren’t yours anymore – you are just the caretaker. Ignoring God, squandering and abusing what He has given you is rebellious and will lead to relapse.
Hebrews 12:5-11 Don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
Step 6: After discovering my sinful habits and attitudes and confessing to them, I am now willing to let God change me.
What sinful habits and attitudes did you discover in Step 4?
How are they affecting your character now?
Revelation 3:19 “I correct and train those I love. So be sincere, and turn away from your sins.”
There have been times in my recovery I have got it wrong. Times, where I have traveled in my life in directions I believed, where God guided. Times where God has intervened and shown me I was following my will and my desires instead of His.
Hebrews 12:7 says Put up with hard times. God uses them to train you. He is treating you like children. What children are not trained by their parents?
Learning to listen to God and discern what is His will and what is mine is a process of trial and error. The good news is that even when we get it wrong God still takes care of us.
- Have you ever followed a path believing it was God’s will only to find out it wasn’t?
Deuteronomy 10:12 What do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you.
God never goes back on His word 2 Timothy 2:13 “If we give up on him, he does not give up.”
There are addicts who prefer to go back rather than through to recovery. Others who almost make it but drop out at the last minute. Disappointingly, so many people embrace recovery as the sole source of surviving power only to give it away after a short time. They take a deliberate departure, backtrack, backslide, back off and back down. 2 Kings 19:27 I know when you sit down, when you come and when you go; And, yes, I’ve marked every one of your temper tantrums against me.
Let us not back away from this new way of living we have begun with His help in His strength through His power. Because we have His backup as we move forward daily to become all He is shaping us to be.
The Serenity Prayer is commonly attributed to Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who composed it in the 1940s. According to its website, Alcoholics Anonymous adopted the Serenity Prayer and began including it in AA materials in 1942.
What is so special about this prayer that millions of people use across the world in 12 Step meetings? Let’s break it down and see.
God grant me SERENITY
Galatians 5:22-24 What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good–crucified.
God grant me COURAGE
Matthew 14:22-27 As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain, so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
God grant me WISDOM
1 Corinthians 2:6-9 We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest–what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it– What God has arranged for those who love him.
What else are we asking God to teach us from this prayer?
To live ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Matthew 6:34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
To enjoy ONE MOMENT AT A TIME
Matthew 24:32 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner.”
To accept HARDSHIP AS A PATHWAY TO PEACE
John 16:33 “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
Taking this WORLD AS IT IS
John 12:31 At this moment the world is in crisis.
Trust that GOD WILL MAKE THINGS RIGHT
1 Corinthians 7:35 I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
Why pray this prayer regularly as part of your recovery process?
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
What do we need to do to achieve happiness?
SURRENDER TO GOD’S WILL
(it’s in the prayer)
1 John 4:18 Perfect love drives fear away. Fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love.
Genuine love in our lives confirms our salvation. One of my biggest fears during my addictive years was fear of abandonment. Since high school, I have always been involved in a romantic relationship. Some of them unhealthy. Most of them for the wrong reasons.
I did not cope with being alone! Since I have been in recovery I have had one romantic relationship, with my wife. The difference between my relationship with my wife and the others in my life is acknowledging God’s love and following – His guidance in our lives.
- Do you struggle with fear of abandonment?
Prayer: God help me today to be content in my relationship with You.
I hate the two-faced, but I love your clear-cut revelation. You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me. Get out of my life, evildoers so I can keep my God’s commands. Take my side as you promised; I’ll live then for sure. Don’t disappoint all my grand hopes. Stick with me and I’ll be all right; I’ll give total allegiance to your definitions of life. Expose all who drift away from your sayings; their casual idolatry is lethal. You reject earth’s wicked as so much rubbish; therefore I lovingly embrace everything you say. I shiver in awe before you; your decisions leave me speechless with reverence.
1 John 2:29 You know that God is right and always does what is right. And you know that everyone who does what is right has been born again because of what God has done.
God’s holiness is our standard for living life recovery.
When we turn our lives over to God we can sometimes feel pressure pulling us back to our old ways of living. Recovery requires total commitment to God and His way of living. It means living lives that are guided by God’s standards. Living qualities of lives that are prioritized by what the Bible says.
Our focus needs to be God’s focus. To help us to focus on what God focuses on He gives us a daily relationship with the Holy Spirit. Change requires calling on God often. Listening to Him and following where He leads us.
- How are you allowing God to lead you today?