Everyone has issues — although many of us are either totally unaware of them, don’t want to admit them for whatever reason, are afraid to admit them for fear of dredging up the past, or think that repressing or suppressing them is the Christian thing-to-do and that by doing this they will somehow just magically resolve themselves.
The truth is:
- admitting the issue is the first step of recovery.
- dealing with the issue head-on is the only way to obtain victory. Yes it will be painful, but God will help you through it.
- there is nothing Christian about choosing to live in bondage when Christ died to set you free.
- repressing or suppressing the issue will only keep it from being healed and will keep you in bondage. It WILL rear its ugly head from time-to-time and cause you continual pain until you deal with it.
- the problems that you are currently experiencing in life may be rooted in unresolved issues from your past. Unless these root issues are dealt with appropriately, you may never live in the freedom that is yours because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
The following principles of recovery work for ANY hurt, hangup, or habit that you may experience. Some issues include: fear, anxiety, depression, pride, unforgiveness, anger in general, anger towards God, self-hatred, co-dependency, pornography, lust, drug or alcohol addiction, or ________ (fill in the blank).
They are best worked in a (small) group setting such as Celebrate Recovery, Recovery for Life, or Alcoholics Victorious.
The Biblical Twelve Steps
Starting with a Decision
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
“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 I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)
2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)
3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Searching for Defects
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
Stepping into Discovery
7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
Sticking with Discipleship
10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16)
12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
[This unique version of The Biblical Twelve Steps is from Dr. Paul Hardy’s excellent ministry entitled Recovery for Life.]