Inspiration – 12 Steps of Recovery and the Bible: Part 3b

Retired Pastor
Pat Duffin,
High Prairie Christian Centre

After unbelief, getting over our rebellion is the most difficult, incremental step in fully embracing Step 3 in the 12 Steps of Recovery. It can take a while if our resistance is strong. We can be stubborn, and the self-life is hard to lay down.

Many addicts never really get past this point. They keep looking for power in empty places like sex, drugs, money, possessions, relationships, therapies, ever changing jobs and living circumstances, geographical cures, and even other addictions, in a futile search to find a remedy for the symptoms rather than a cure for the cause.

In Step 2, you come to the realization that there is a Higher Power who is God, that He is good and kind and beneficent and willing to help you and restore you to sanity, and so much more. When you understand this it becomes much easier to take the risk and turn your will and your life over to someone – a real person – not an idea, not a notion, not a set of doctrines or teachings, not a precept nor a principal nor a religious discipline, not an impersonal force nor an influence, but a real person with a name and a personality.

A careful reading of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous will clearly reveal the name by which the original A.A.’s knew their Higher Power. They never hid that truth. This person is good and wholesome and righteous and just and merciful and gracious and wonderful! Most astonishingly, all He wants is to restore you to an even better state than you ever were. In exchange for your wretched mess, He is willing to provide abundant life beyond anything you can imagine.

Some deal, eh? You get all the benefits. He gets messy you!

The only reason He does this is because He loves you. What He seeks in exchange is relationship. He wants your love and friendship [John 15:15].

There are two very crucial concepts to understand if one is going to take Step 3 of Recovery as it should be. For some of us the truth comes quickly. For others it may take quite some time while we work it through. But, until we grasp these two concepts and accept them as the terms of our recovery, we have not yet completed Step 3. There are yet lessons to learn and work to do.

First, we must realize that the cost of applying the recovery program correctly is that it costs us everything! Think very carefully about what these words say, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God…” [pages 59, 63]

When you turn over your will and your life what’s left? Nothing! The cost is everything you have, everything you are, and everything you ever hope to have or to be. It costs you everything. But, don’t panic! Paradoxically, there is much to gain by losing everything.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” [Matthew 16:24-25ff]

Jesus also said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” [John 10:10]

Abundant life means a super-abundance of life filled with joy and strength for body, mind, and spirit. If you think about it, considering the mess we have made of everything, we aren’t really losing all that much anyway.

The truth is we are no longer our own as it stands. We are already slaves to our addiction. We have lost the power of control. We have lost the power of choice. We are obedient to the addiction that rules and drives us.

There’s no future in trying to keep the status quo. It only means more of the same old same old in a death spiral to the end. Jesus, on the other hand, made a spectacular promise saying, “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” [John 14:1-3]

When Jesus offers us so much in exchange for our misery, what’s the hesitation? The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous encourages us to abandon ourselves utterly to Him. [page 63)

You now stand at the turning point. If you are ready to make that decision, you can do that right now. Nothing hinders you from taking that step.

Chapter 5, How It Works provides an excellent guide in how to take Step 3. Notice the primary action in Step 3 is to make a decision. That’s all! A straightforward decision!

We don’t come to Jesus all “fixed up”. We come to Him all “mixed up” and He does the fixing.

The entire rest of the recovery steps are designed to bring further understanding and help you follow through on that decision so you can live it in a practical way. It is a life-long journey of spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

You will be working all Twelve Steps for the rest of your entire life, reaping the rewards and loving it!

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