4. We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
To get to this “fearless” self search, we must be broken of our own self-protectionists fears. Courage is being afraid, but deciding anyway to continue to still move forward, right through the fear feeling. And as you continue in this step, and the next, you will not be alone.
“Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.” ~ Ezra 10:4
In this step, there is a 3 column personal worksheet that each person works on themselves:
- I’m resentful at (person, thing, etc.):
- The Cause (what happened):
- Affects my (attitude, thinking, things I do or can’t do, etc.):
Although this list is personal, and not to be shared, except with someone we can fully trust. Never the less, this list is designed to not let deep underlying issues stay hidden. It is time to bring things we have hidden for years, to the surface before God. That is why it takes courage!
Here is the worksheet: Addiction Recovery – Step 4 – Courage – Worksheet
Nothing but honesty and thoughtfulness is used in making up this list. Consider it carefully. It may even cause grief and anguish to a degree as you fill it out. But pray, and God will certainly help you, because he has determined to help you overcome it all.
“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” ~ Psalm 77:1-6
What we see here is an exercise that is actually emotionally painful. Potentially overwhelmingly so! It could be so troubling that a person may find it difficult to find the words to fully express it. In the scripture above, the person yet knew in his heart, that he needed to express it. He needed to do it first: alone with God. Because he knew that he needed God’s help to do it.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.” ~ Psalm 61:1-5
This can be so painful that many will not face it. They push the thoughts aside. That is why, if we have not really successfully completed the two steps prior (Faith & Hope, and Trust-Love Dedication), then we will find we don’t have the necessary courage to do this “Courage” step. We must have the courage that only God can give us to complete this. And we must trust, that as we continue this way, that God will surely help us. We must stay with God in this all the way!
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” ~ John 15:1-2
We need this purging! It is his design. And if we will allow him to do this, our lives will change to bring forth good fruit. But we must stay with him through the rest of life’s journey.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” ~ John 15:5-7
When we work through this grief, pain, and sorrow completely, it will allow for a complete healing to begin taking place.
“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” ~ Hebrews 12:12-13
No sincere person wants to see another suffer. But it is only by working through this sorrow, that we get to healing. Then we are able to overcome the power that Satan has had against us. He will no longer be able to successfully leverage this pain to overcome us anymore.
“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” ~ 2 Corinthians 7:9-11
When we carefully work to identify it all, then we have the opportunity to start working through it all. And eventually when we have worked through it all, we are then truly set free!
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” ~ Psalm 139:23-24
We don’t want temporary relief of any substance. We want everlasting relief!
This thorough moral inventory is necessary, so that there are no surprises to us as to what it will take to be successful. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us this same advice.
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” ~ Luke 14:28-33
We must be able to move beyond the pain of our past. So by identifying it and dealing with it, we will be enabled to leave it behind us, and forsake it.
Identifying it is the step that must first happen. Because our objective is to get to the place where we can truly forgive and let it go.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:31-32