Everyone is recovering from something. It could be from the dark secrets of the past, a painful divorce, death of a loved one or a failed diet. But while making your recovery, you may encounter moments where you can’t seem to forgive yourself. Well, don’t become a prisoner of your past, because God has a twelve-step recovery program that will work for anyone willing to try.
Step 1: We admitted we are powerless over our addiction and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
(Romans 7:18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out.
Admitting that nothing good lives in us and that we are powerless over our sinful nature is admitting complete defeat. We have no control over our sinful nature so we must accept this fact and quit fighting. But in surrendering, we win! When God is working on your spirit, there is a battle going on inside of you. It’s your old nature vs your new nature. Christ has placed his throne in our hearts, so in time, our sins and failures will decrease as he transforms us.
Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
(2 Corinthians 12:9) My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weaknesses. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
It’s said that insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. God has given all of us the freedom of choice and it is insane to think that we are God, by doing what we want to do or thinking we have all the answers. We must believe that we’ll receive our strength and restoration from the power of His Word, power of His Blood, and the power in His Name.
(Luke 9:23) If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me.
We are all selfish by nature and clinging to the selfish and worldly desires, has almost destroyed us. The self-centeredness that inhabits us ensures we are surrounded by our problems. Put those problems on the cross and carry the cross, while following Christ.
Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
(Lamentations 3:40) Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn again in repentance to the Lord.
We can inventory everyone but ourselves. True recovery begins when we can look at ourselves and except our strengths and weakness. Paying attention to our feelings, thoughts, and actions will guide us to who we really are. When you get in touch with who you are on the inside, there will be dirt on your face and your soul will cry.
Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
(James 5:16) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for each other that you may be healed.
Admitting faults puts your spirit at ease. Once that happens, the Devil has lost his power over us. Many people live in denial or have deceived themselves for so long, that they don’t know the truth. Stop the blaming, finding excuses, or plea-bargaining. We must learn how to “tell” on ourselves.
Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
(Isaiah 1:19) “If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat”
God is the only one who can help us change. Religious activities don’t equal a genuine relationship with God. It’s our character that God wants to develop. We all have tried self-improvements on our own, but without success. It’s because we try to improve our defects. They must actually be removed by God and placed on the cross.
(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us, our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
It’s our humility that allows us to receive God’s forgiveness. We all have high expectations of ourselves, but how do you react when you fall short? No one is so good that they don’t need God. And no one is so bad that they are beyond His loving grace. We must not let our pride keep us from God’s help. Satan was full of pride. Jesus said in Luke 18:14, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”.
Step 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
(Luke 6:31) Do to others as you would have them do to you.
We must learn to accept responsibility for our actions. We will always reap what’s sowed. Making amends is more for us than it is for the people we’ve harmed.
Step 9: We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
(Matthew 5:9) God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
The best way to make amends is not by saying “I’m sorry”, but by stopping the actions that caused the hurt.
Step 10: We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
(James 1:23) For if you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance.
We can’t just admit our wrongs, shortcomings, and defects. We must respond with actions by doing something different. One of the most important things of taking a personal inventory is becoming aware of our good as well as our bad. We must see ourselves as a whole.
(Colossians 3:16) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”
When we think about how good God has been to us, we will develop a spirit of gratitude. We must make conscious decisions to think and pray to God, and not just in hard times. God gives us courage to do his will.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
(Mark 16:15) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”
Everything we’ve been through in our lives, gave us first-hand experience on how good God is and to share those experiences with others. When people hear our stories, we offer them hope. Jesus’ purpose in life was to serve others and that’s our purpose also. God blessed us so we can be a blessing to others.
God choose us. God plans on us becoming fulfilled with knowledge of His will and building a loving relationship with him. Then go spread his goodness to others. We all must come to a point in our life that we know that without God, our life is dead.
God’s Spirit dwell within you. Listen to his voice, and you will know what to do in every circumstance. We can surrender now or keep fighting God and surrender later. Recovery and change starts with surrendering to God.