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.
Category: Step 4
Step Four: In order to help me change, I will investigate and record with god’s help – my sinful habits and attitudes.
Recovery is a process that begins with changes in our attitudes and changes in our behaviours.
We begin today with a question:
What Kind of attitudes does God want us to have?
Firstly, God wants us to have an attitude of LOVE
He sent His Son to die of a cross for our sins because HE LOVES US!
In the ‘Message’ it says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
Are we willing to lay aside selfish ambitions and goals?
Does Divine love dwell in our hearts?
God also wants us to have an attitude that DEPENDS ON HIM
Philippians 4:6 in the Living Bible says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.”
Imagine never worrying about anything! It seems like an impossibility; we all have worries and problems in our lives. But Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers.
Do you want to worry less?
Then pray more! Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.
RESENTMENT displeases God.
In Genesis 4:6-7 God asks Cain “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
How do you react when you know have done something wrong?
Do you move accept and correct the mistake?
Or do you look for excuses and avoid correcting it?
Are you continuing live in DENIAL?
Step four is about doing a thorough investigation of our attitudes and defining what we need to do to bring them into God’s way of living our lives.
Next Step four talks about investigating our sinful habits.
- A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. Or “Something you continually do without thinking.”
As we grow and mature in life, we develop habits. Some good, some bad. As we work through the process of the ‘Twelve Steps’ our aim is to develop good habits and put an end to our old ones.
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP GOOD HABITS?
Through learning God’s will for our lives and putting it into practice in our daily living.
God has a specific plan for each of us. He wants us to follow Him to fulfill His purpose for us. He cares about what we do – when we do it and how we do it.
Philippians 1:6 says “I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished.”
His plan for us is good. Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.”
HOW DO WE DEAL WITH OUR OLD HABITS?
One of the best solutions for dealing with bad habits is to recognize them for what they are and confess them honestly. In Romans 7:15 Pau says “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to—what I hate.”
Remember ‘recovery is a process.’ in which one of the most important ingredients I ‘TIME.’ Breaking a bad habit, you have developed over a long period of time won’t happen overnight.
It is much easier to break bad habits if you replace them with good habits.
Colossians 3:2 encourages us to not “shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”
Step four is about changing our life perspective. Romans 8:28 in the Living Bible says “We know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.”
Taking time to ’Investigate and record with God’s help our sinful habits and attitudes.’ Is the beginning of learning what in our characters we need to change to live the lives God has prepared for us.
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.
Matthew 7:17-20 A 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?
Lamentations 3:40–41 Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living and reorder our lives under God. Let’s lift our hearts and hands at one and the same time, praying to God in heaven.
STEP FOUR: In order to help me change, I will investigate and record with God’s help – my sinful habits and attitudes.
STEP SIX: After discovering my sinful habits and attitudes and confessing them, I am now willing to let God change me.
While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers that unless they adhered to the ancient Jewish custom of circumcision, they could not be saved. Paul and Barnabas argued and discussed this with them at length, and finally the believers sent them to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local men, to talk to the apostles and elders there about this question. After the entire congregation had escorted them out of the city, the delegates went on to Jerusalem, stopping along the way in the cities of Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers, telling them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted. Arriving in Jerusalem, they met with the church leaders—all the apostles and elders were present—and Paul and Barnabas reported on what God had been doing through their ministry. But then some of the men who had been Pharisees before their conversion stood to their feet and declared that all Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow all the Jewish customs and ceremonies. So the apostles and church elders set a further meeting to decide this question. At the meeting, after long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you long ago to preach the Good News to the Gentiles so that they also could believe. God, who knows men’s hearts, confirmed the fact that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he gave him to us. He made no distinction between them and us, for he cleansed their lives through faith, just as he did ours. And now are you going to correct God by burdening the Gentiles with a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear? Don’t you believe that all are saved the same way, by the free gift of the Lord Jesus?” There was no further discussion, and everyone now listened as Barnabas and Paul told about the miracles God had done through them among the Gentiles. When they had finished, James took the floor. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people to bring honor to his name. An this fact of Gentile conversion agrees with what the prophets predicted. For instance, listen to this passage from the prophet Amos: ‘Afterwards’ (says the Lord), ‘I will rdeturn and renew the broken contract with David, so that Gentiles, too, will find the Lord—all those marked with my name.’ That is what the Lord says, who reveals his plans made from the beginning. “And so my judgment is that we should not insist that the Gentiles who turn to God must obey our Jewish laws, except that we should write to them to refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols, from all fornication, and also from eating unbled meat of strangled animals. For these things have been preached against in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” Acts 15:1-21
There is one rule in the process of recovery we all need to obey. That is: ‘Whatever is messing up your life STOP DOING IT!’
Step One in the Living Life Recovery Steps says: “I admit that my life is a mess and I am out of control.” Step Two says: “I believe God exists, that He cares about me and He can help me to regain control of my life.” Step Three Says: “I am making a decision to let God help me change and commit to working with Him to do so.”
Acts 15:9-10 says “He made no distinction between them and us, for he cleansed their lives through faith, just as he did ours. And now are you going to correct God by burdening the Gentiles with a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?”
I think it can be like that is certain recovery fellowships we set a lot of rules for people to follow and make the process of recovery too difficult for people to ever achieve anything like lasting, growing recovery. Bill Wilson on realising His life was a mess and out of control had one thought: “Find another alcoholic and talk to them about their life and how they can improve it.” With one rule in mind: “No matter what happens to me I WILL NOT DRINK.” Simple but not always easy. Bill Wilson also realised recovery was about putting our faith in our Creator, believing He could and would help us recover.
What the Bible says about rules
If you obey My decrees and My regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord. Leviticus 18:5
OBEYING GOD WILL BRING YOU PEACE AND MERCY
May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. Galatians 6:16
OBEYING GOD IS A LIFELONG PROCESS OF PROGRESS
We must hold on to the progress we have already made. Philippians 3:16
Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say. For their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too. Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to keep it that way. I especially need your prayers right now so that I can come back to you sooner. And now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he who became the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting agreement between God and you, signed with his blood, produce in you through the power of Christ all that is pleasing to him. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. Brethren, please listen patiently to what I have said in this letter, for it is a short one. I want you to know that Brother Timothy is now out of jail; if he comes here soon, I will come with him to see you. Give my greetings to all your leaders and to the other believers there. The Christians from Italy who are here with me send you their love. God’s grace be with you all. Good-bye. Hebrews 13:17-25
Step Four of the Life Recovery Steps says: “In order to help me change I will investigate and record with God’s help my sinful habits and attitudes.” Step Five says: “On completion of my list of sinful habits I will confess them to God and to someone that I trust.”
In the process of recovery we all need role models and we all need support people. People who are going to lead us, point us in the right direction and walk with us. None of us can recover on our own. Nor can we recover just by says “God knows all about it.” and doing nothing to change. We never ended up in recovery by mistake. It is a God directed process on making the decision to let God help us change and committing to the process (Step 3). And, in the process He has already appointed spiritual leaders to be His leaders in showing us how to live according to His will for our lives. Our part in the process is to listen, learn and apply what we learn to our lives.
What the Bible says about listening, learning and applying what we learn.
YOU WON’T LEARN ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FROM ONE PERSON
Get all the advice you can and be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19:20
GOD WILL REVEAL TRUTHS TO YOU HE WON’T REVEAL TO OTHERS
Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14
AS WE LISTEN, LEARN AND APPLY WHAT WE LEARNED GOD EXPECTS US TO TEACH THE TRUTH TO OTHERS
He sent us to preach the Good News everywhere and to testify that Jesus is ordained of God to be the Judge of all— living and dead. Acts 10:42
1 John 1:5-10 This is the message God has given us to pass on to you: that God is Light and in him is no darkness at all. So if we say we are his friends but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin.If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.
Unless we change our character we cannot successfully acheive recovery. Step Four says “In order to help me change, I will investigate and record with God’s help my sinful habits and attitudes.” We cannot progress in the process unless we are willing to change and seek God’s will for our lives, put all of our efforts into achieving it. As we learn His will and put it into practice the way we relate to others should be evidence of His saving grace in our lives and our dependence on Him.
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?