2. We must come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves: Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love, could restore us to sanity.
Can I believe?
Well if you haven’t completed step one, were you become totally honest with yourself and with God about your addiction, then no! You will not be able to believe. Because to receive true faith, you must renounce and stand strong against dishonesty.
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:2
Don’t ever use the Word of God in such a manner for covering up for your addiction. Because if you practice dishonesty in relation to your addiction, you are especially a candidate for deception. It doesn’t matter who you are: either one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or even a person claiming to be a minister that is still addicted to sin in some way. If you try to use the word of God in a way to cover up your addiction, God will eventually give you over to deception completely!
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
We became addicted in the first place because we sought sinful pleasures to cover up the pain and emptiness inside. So in order to receive the truth of the Word of God, we are going to have to quit trying to cover up, and fully turn away from our sinful addictions. This is how we show God that we are being honest with ourselves, and with him.
Seek for a True Minister to Help Us
So if we have properly completed step one, and are being completely honest, we will also seek after counsel and help from a ministry that is completely honest. A ministry that will be faithful in how they handle the Word of God. This kind of ministry that is completely honest, is a rare treasure to find. But this kind of ministry is the only kind that we are to look for, if we are going to get help to overcome addiction.
If you have been an addict for any length of time, you are already too familiar with being led by lying, deceitful people and spirits. This is going to have to change. And you’re going to have to get familiar with faithful people, who will tell you the truth, no matter if you want to hear it or not.
“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:12
What does he mean when he says “know them?” Take time to be around them, and to know how they are living. Not just what they are preaching.
“For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:7
In seeking help to overcome sin or any addictive behavior, we must become vulnerable as we open up our hearts to reveal deep hurts inside. And because there are people who seek vulnerable people, to take advantage of them: we all the more must take time to know who people are, before we open up to them.
They were able to know who the apostle Paul was, by observing his behavior. That was the fruit of his daily living. Bad fruit in a minister’s life, is God’s way of showing you who you should not trust.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.” ~ Matthew 7:15-17
A true minister of God has forsaken sin himself. And he has proved his faithfulness over a number of years of time.
Increasing Your Faith
So if we have fully embraced honesty, then we will also find that everyone of us is given a measure of faith by God. And that we actually are already exercising it in some way every day.
We believe when we are driving or riding in a vehicle, that other passing cars will stay on their side of the road. When we purchase food at the market, we believe that it has not been poisoned. We are able to sleep at night because we believe we have found a safe place to sleep where someone will not kill us. So we must already have faith to do many things that are just part of life.
So there is a measure of faith that God has given to every person. And so God expects us to start directing that faith towards him. We further exercise ourselves in faith in God, so that it will even yet grow stronger.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.” ~ Romans 12:3
What measure of faith do we feel that we have right now? Does it feel very small at this time? Small faith is actually not our problem. It is rather what we allow to get in the way of our faith, that becomes a problem.
When we begin to establish some faith in God, at first it may seem to start out very small. But if we will clear the ground of our heart from the things that keep faith from growing: little faith, like a tiny mustard seed, can grow into big faith!
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and it becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” ~ Matthew 13:31-32
Removing Hindrances to Our Faith in God
So let’s talk about our little faith. What could be hindering it from being able to grow?
- A false belief about ourselves, and who we really are.
- A lie that someone else told us, that we believe about ourselves.
- A false religious belief system that someone convinced us of.
- A way that we were raised and taught, that set a particular inaccurate vision for our life and our future.
- Something that happened to us, or that someone else did to us, that causes us to view ourselves a certain way.
- A fear that we have.
- An incorrect expectation about others that we have. (And that we are blaming them for.)
- A tragic failure in the character of another that we looked up to or trusted. And they betrayed us!
- The constant barrage of faith-killing negativity that is promoted in the media and popular culture.
Mustard: though the smallest of seeds that someone may plant; yet if it has plenty of sunshine, good soil, and moisture, it will quickly grow quite large (as Jesus’s parable implies). But this list of hindrances we already spoke about above, can hinder by:
- Blocking the sunlight of God to shine on your faith, by producing a cloud over your life.
- Filling the soil of your heart/ground with rocks and caustic elements, that keep faith from taking root deep down in your heart.
- Drying out your heart like a desert where there is no water
If one of these false beliefs (or something else) is hindering faith, how do we remove it? (Actually much of this 12 step effort is designed to help us remove faith hindrances, and to help us “increase our faith.”)
Exercise Faith to Increase It
It pleases God for us to exercise faith in him. We put faith in many other things, so he wants us to also put faith in him.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6
We are only able to receive of the Lord, according to what our faith allows:
“And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” ~ Matthew 9:28-29
Exercising faith in God pleases God, because it gives glory to Him. Therefore He is pleased to help us:
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” ~ Romans 4:20-22
Faith Works By Love
It is by faith we are able to even comprehend the depth of his love towards us. And when by faith we allow that love to work, God is able to do exceeding above what we are able to think or ask.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” ~ Ephesians 3:17-20
His love towards us is not according to some righteousness in ourselves. His love is in spite of ourselves.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:6-8
God surely loves us, because he gave his very own Son to save us. Will we be honest with ourselves and God, to let him do for us what he paid so dearly to do?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” ~ John 3:16-21
This is why we must put away sin to be able to have faith grow. We must start walking towards the light. And that is impossible to do if we are walking towards the darkness of sin.
Hardened Hearts Must Be Broken Up and Made Tender
What kind of ground is our faith? Do we have a spiritual ear to hear and understand? Do we have faith for the seed of the Word to take root in our hearts?
“Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” ~ Matthew 13:18-19
Will someone be able to come along with another fleshly addicting “high” to offer you, and then steal away any faith you have left? If our hearts are hardened against faith in God, then it will be easy for whatever little faith we have, to be stolen. Because faith can’t take deep root within a hardened heart.
If we feel broken and hurt, and have little faith or hope, God does not despise you for that. That is exactly what God can work with. He is looking for a broken and contrite heart to be able to sow the faith of his word. Remember the mustard seed?
“Have mercy upon me… …For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” ~ Psalm 51:1-3
A sincerely broken and contrite heart is exactly what God is looking for. That is the kind of heart that God can work with. Notice in this next scripture that the hunger and the desire of faith, is to be able to restore the relationship with God and with his Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is the Comforter. And the broken and contrite heart especially hungers for that comfort.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For you desire not sacrifice; else would I give it : you delight not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” ~ Psalm 51:10-17
Mankind may despise our brokenness. But God loves and cares for the broken and contrite heart. That is why when we are in that type of condition, he will especially speak to us to show us how he loves us.
And even if we lack faith enough, Jesus Christ came to bridge the gap of our faith, so we can still have our need met!
“And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if you can do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” ~ Mark 9:20-24
If the cry of our heart is for more faith, God will have mercy and will help us!
There is nothing that Christ can’t deliver us from completely! Because that is the way he works. He does a complete work. Nominal Christianity will claim that Christ can only do an incomplete work. They will tell you it is impossible to be completely delivered from sin. But Jesus Christ will do a complete work in us, if we will believe him by exercising faith.
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.” ~ Hebrews 7:25