3. We make a decision to start trusting the care of a loving Savior for the directions in our lives.
If we completed step 1 (being completely honest with ourselves and with God about our addiction) then we can go on to step two: faith and hope.
And then as part of step two, we began to remove the things that we know are hindering our ability to have faith and hope in God. It is critical that we are establishing faith and hope in God, because in step three it will be impossible to trust a loving Savior for direction, if we don’t have faith in him.
In starting step 3, we begin to recognize that no human being has the ability to “fix me”. I need what only God’s love and care can do!
So for a totally new direction – do we trust God enough to let him show us the way?
Letting the Lord set the direction for our life seems extreme to most. Yet it is very common that unreasonable and extreme things are done, by those who are holding onto their own will, and directing their own life.
Directing Our Own Life Gets Us Into Trouble
Before the great flood, the scripture informs us of what man’s choices led him to. Mankind’s only desire became evil continually. And their addiction to sin was beyond control, and could never be satisfied.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” ~ Genesis 6:5-6
You know you have become severely addicted, when your only thought becomes how to get your next dose of what you are addicted to. And that is what happened to mankind before the flood. And that is also happening today.
When people continually ignore God’s direction for their life and they choose their own sinful way, then God allows them to become addicted to that same sinful choice.
“But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” ~ Psalm 81:11-12
Then with their sinful addiction, comes continual trouble, to the point that it overwhelms them.
“But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” ~ Isaiah 57:20-21
The lesson that I should be learning here is that: it is not in man to be able to properly control his life and destiny. Everyone needs God’s direction in their life!
“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” ~ Jeremiah 10:23
Now Let Us Allow God to Direct Our Lives
So if in the previous step, we have established enough faith to be able to trust God. Then now let us start allowing God to lead us, according to his understanding, and not ours.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-8
One of the first ways that we learn to let God direct our lives, is by letting him direct us away from the wrong path. Away from addictive substances. And away from sinful things.
Do you realize that God’s plan for you was planned a long time ago? In fact, he chartered a plan for both you and me, before the world ever was! And he has been calling you to this plan for some time now.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” ~ 2 Timothy 1:9-10
God desires nothing but the best for us. That is why he gave his best for you and me: Jesus Christ! His Holy Spirit speaks to our heart, drawing us to seek him with all 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
He cares a lot about us. But he can’t do anything for us, unless we are willing to let him. He wants us to depend upon him to help us, because he wants to prove himself faithful to our heart needs. Will we let him? It takes humility to trust him.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” ~ 1 Peter 5:6-8
Even though we may have already rejected a multitude of past opportunities for the Lord to help us, he still has help for us. He is still reaching out to us. But we have to let him.
“Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.” ~ Psalm 25:4-12
Many of us have had those who would judge us. They put us down so much, that sometimes we ourselves began to believe what they told us. It causes our hearts to sink into grief and emptiness.
“They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.” ~ Psalm 69:12-16
But God wants us to be able to trust completely in him. He wants us to really know him for who he really is. Because if we can fully trust him, he promises to keep us from relapsing!
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:12
We Start Establishing New Relationships With People We Can Trust
Jesus knew that many would suffer betrayal in this life. That’s why we must look to him and understand that he wants us connected to a true family. People you can depend upon. People who are like God himself. When fully trusting God, we also learn more about who else we can trust in this life.
“And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” ~ Mark 3:33-35
Relationships that truly matter, require commitment to one another. And that is impossible unless there is trust. Trust in God is often inspired when we find people whom we sense we can really trust. And that trust becomes established, as we sense that people have a commitment to us!
Many of us have found ourselves addicted to some kind of sin, because we have experienced betrayal from someone we thought was committed to us. And so distrusting committed relationships, we sought for some substance or sinful distraction to soothe that hurt, because we found a void of meaningful commitment in our life.
For this commitment to be filled again, we often must find someone who we sense cares about us, because we sense the sincerity of their personal commitment to us. A commitment that is not just transitory. But a commitment that is for life! Because that is the type of commitment that God makes, and so he expects his gospel workers to be like him in how they commit to others.
If an individual seeking help, does not sense any personal commitment from a true gospel laborer, then they will not likely stay through the difficulty of the remaining steps of establishing themselves in a new Christian life. And they certainly will not be able to complete a Christian based step program for overcoming addictions. Because they must sense that someone is going to be there to support them through this humbling experience. And if they don’t sense that commitment in someone else, it will be more difficult for their faith to take hold of receiving help from God, and establishing a trust commitment to God.
Note: Every successful movement of the Holy Spirit throughout history, has been worked through people who were committed to following the Holy Ghost, and were committed for life to the ones they were sent to help.
Jesus recognized this critical need for gospel workers to be committed to those seeking help from God.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” ~ Matthew 9:35-36
Jesus regularly attended the church services of his day, which took place in the synagogue. Like we commonly have today in church. In the synagogues they would sing, and they would pray, and they would have lessons taught them by teachers. And Jesus himself taught in these places. But this scripture above plainly shows us, that Jesus knew that it was not enough. There was the need for individual attention to the people, similar to the individual attention that a shepherd would give to the individual sheep.
And so Jesus had a burden on his heart that he asked his disciples to pray about.
“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” ~ Matthew 9:37-38
Next, in Matthew chapter 10, Jesus would send his apostles to do this work. He did not send them to the gentiles. He specifically sent them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And so he was sending them to a people who had a synagogue, like a church, in almost every town and city. But he specifically did not send them to the synagogues.
When he sent them, he specifically sent them to the people individually, in their homes. Because he wanted them to individually work with them, and not to work with them as a group of people like a congregation. It is critical that we recognize this as the answer to his burden and his prayer!
If we want people to be able to make the humbling decisions necessary for changing their life, their habits, and who they hang around with, etc. Then we as gospel workers must be willing to commit to them individually, to help them, for life!
True Christianity is about life-long commitments. First in our commitment to Almighty God to be faithful to him. And then in our commitment to one another, to be faithful to one another. And if we are going to win any soul to Christ, there are going to have to be people who are committed to individuals.
“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” ~ Psalm 68:5-6
If we are going to help souls, the boundary of our family is going to have to expand. And so to do this, we are going to have to have strong boundaries of responsibility. Because at the same time, we must maintain the safety of our family.
True fellowship is critical to the success of individual people seeking to get out of sin and any addiction. This takes mature and established Christians who understand the role and responsibility of being a shepherd to another person. We are not just talking about a pastor of a congregation. We are talking about individual laborers who know how to take in a new one under their spiritual care. Even though they may not be the pastor of a congregation. Because as a congregation grows, it is impossible for one person to give all the individual care that is necessary. It takes a congregation of shepherds to enable the increase of sheep within the fold.
Additionally, this assignment of responsibility towards the individual sheep, is the Lord’s assignment, and not our personal preference. Consider just one example, directly from our Lord, as he hung on the cross.
“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” ~ John 19:26-27
This assignment at the cross did not follow the prescription within the law of Moses. Additionally, Mary had other children who potentially could have taken care of her. Including James, who would later prove to be a very good Christian. Instead Jesus assigned responsibility for her, to John.
Certainly it is more natural that natural families take care of their own. But let us be careful to not use this as an excuse to avoid an assignment from the Lord. Because the Lord knows what’s best. And of course this assignment many times does not necessarily mean someone lives in our home. But what it does mean, is that we love them and care for them, as if they were part of our family.
With Help, Are We Willing to Trust God?
So now, you (the one seeking help) may feel “not love connected” to God. This is the reason for this 12 step program. To help you to have faith that Jesus Christ can make that connection for you. Because without Christ’s love-sacrifice for us, we would never be able to really connect with God. Sacrificial love is the “power” that connects us!
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” ~ John 1:12-13
A new relationship with anyone requires that we have to modify some of our thinking. This is especially true if we are going to start that close relationship with God. We have to make choices about changing our thinking so that we can pay attention to his thinking, and his will for us.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~ Romans 12:2
And sometimes we will not know how to think, nor even how to ask for help. But because God is God, when we feel overwhelmed, we can just cry out for his will to be done: because we know he loves us, and knows what is best for us!
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:26-28
This “letting go” to his will and his thinking, has a powerful way of bringing peace and grace into our lives.
“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” ~ Galatians 1:3-5
We Will Be Tempted to Go Back
But there will be tests of patience, where we will just have to wait for an answer from him, to help us. And it is especially in these times that we need to not give up, and to do everything that we know to stay sober and faithful to his will.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” ~ Hebrews 10:35-39
In the past we have trained our minds to not suffer. But now according to his will and by his grace, suffering can be something positive for us, rather than negative.
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” ~ 1 Peter 4:1-4
Whenever we are suffering and are tempted to go back and relapse, we remember that our current difficulty is temporary, but the will of God will last forever.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” ~ 1 John 2:16-17
In the middle of suffering, Satan will especially tempt us to go back to our sin. Back to temporary relief, which is followed by even stronger addiction. So there must be a choice we make, where our relationship with God is more important. And we continue to avoid sin, to identify with God and his faithful people.
“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” ~ Hebrews 11:25
Trusting God to Direct Us
This love-dedication is only possible if we can trust in the integrity of God to keep his love-promise. We trust and commit to his will because of who he is and his integrity, not because of who we are, nor of what we have done.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” ~ Psalm 37:3-7
If we want to be fully delivered from every addiction, we’re going to need a wisdom that is higher than our own. And the only wisdom that we truly can rely on, is that which comes from letting God direct our lives.
“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” ~ Proverbs 28:26