7. Humbly asked Him to forgive us and remove our shortcomings
So now we have completed Step 6, where we made a complete list of all the behaviors that we desire to have removed from our lives. And as we developed this list, we also worked hard to identify the new behaviors that we would replace the old ones with.
But as we worked on this list, the reality began to sink in: “there’s no way I can do this on my own!” Our vulnerability and our hopelessness of our own weaknesses; we not only know, but we keenly feel! And so Satan floods our mind with the thought “it’s impossible! How will I ever do this?”
So this is why we critically need Step 7. In Step 6 we not only developed the plan, we also felt the impossibility of the plan by ourselves. And so it has majorly humbled us to where we need to be, in Step 7. Because we need that deep feeling of humility, to be able to reach the throne of God with our cry for help. And it is important that we reach this humble place, where God will meet with us!
“And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” ~ Isaiah 57:14-15
Step 6 helped us identify the stumbling blocks that need to be removed to prepare the way. And in the scripture, we now see that God will meet with us and help us. Yes, in this humbling place where we know we can’t do this on our own: there he will revive us!
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ~ James 4:6-7
We humble ourselves by asking for his mercy and forgiveness for the things we have done. For it is this forgiveness applied to our hearts, that causes us to have the grace to successfully proceed.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” ~ Ephesians 1:7
Our sins are so great that it is impossible for us to overcome them. Therefore only the love of a Savior, one that was willing to die as a sacrifice for us, is it possible for us to be delivered from the power of sin.
“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” ~ Romans 5:15
Now in seeking for this merciful grace, we don’t ask for selective forgiveness, for only the certain sins that have caused the most trouble for us. Jesus died for all our sins, so that we can be delivered from them all. He did not die so that we can hold on to certain sins that seem more socially acceptable.
Because of the general watered down integrity of nominal modern-day Christianity, most people think that a relationship with God is a half-hearted, self-seeking purpose. Anything called Christian that lives with pure integrity and faithfulness, is often considered fanatical. And so because of the half-hearted integrity of others, our list in Step 4 includes many painful memories of what half-hearted people have done to us. And additionally, through our addiction, we have been half-hearted. And through our half-heartedness we have also hurt others.
So why should we think that a half-hearted relationship with God is going to produce what we need to change? Why would God intervene to help us, just to have us treat him the same way we’ve already treated others? No! It is time to change completely. It is time to seek God with all of our heart!
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11-13
Additionally, it is important that we understand that we must be willing to forgive others: if we are expecting God to forgive us.
Back in Step 4, we created a very sensitive list. This list no doubt included painful things that others had done to us. But a critical part of our ability to be healed of the behaviors that have developed in our lives, is that we must be willing to forgive from the heart, those that have harmed and betrayed us. If we are not willing to forgive, we will not be able to receive complete healing.
Do you remember this scripture that we went over back in Step 6?
“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
This scripture instructs us in how to put away old behaviors, and replace them with new behaviors. And notice that a critical part of our new behavior is “forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
It is impossible to be fully healed and forgiven, if we are not willing ourselves to let go, and forgive! Jesus taught us very plainly that this is so.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” ~ Matthew 18:21-22
He then proceeded to tell a parable about one who was not willing to forgive another. And because of that, he was severely punished for it. And Jesus completed this parable about this unforgiving servant this way:
“Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” ~ Matthew 18:32-35
So it is clear that if we are not willing to forgive what others have done to us, that we will continue to be tormented in our own mind and heart: “…and delivered him to the tormentors…”
In my past, my living was mostly “all about me.” Consequently, most of my relationships have been impacted in some way as I sought what I wanted, and I placed defending myself as more important than what others needed.
So how about now? Am I completely willing to live a new way? A way that is not all about me?
I know I will need help, therefore I am ready to ask and to seek God for all the help I need, and from whomever he would choose to help me through, and through whatever things he would have me go through to get the help I need. I have purposed in my heart, and I am ready and willing for a complete change!
The old person I used to be, needs to die. I need to become a new creature in Christ Jesus through his forgiveness and deliverance!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
So let us be like the publican which laid his sins bare and open before the Lord, and pleaded for mercy and help.
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” ~ Luke 18:13-14