Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christian 12 Step Program

The Christian’s 12-Steps….A Journey of Peace

In John 14:27, Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
When you think about it, peace is the most sought after thing in the world. Peace of mind. Everyday people work and struggle to find it, never knowing that the key is letting go and letting God have control of their lives. Even as Christians, we sometimes flounder and flutter about trying to “achieve” peace….forgetting that its the gift Jesus left us with. As we work through the Christian’s 12-steps we learn to let the peace of Christ take over our lives.
In the Christian’s 12-step program, we identify our "higher power" as Jesus Christ. In order to truly be freed from our destructive behavior patterns, we must know Christ as our Savior and Lord, trusting completely in Him and allowing Him to direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). You don't have to be a Christian to attend our program, but it is difficult (if not impossible) to trust someone (Jesus Christ) with whom you do not have a personal relationship.
The biggest misconception about the Christian’s 12-step program is that it is designed especially for people who are alcoholics or drug addicts. While drug addicts and alcoholics benefit tremendously from the program, it is NOT only or specifically for them. The program is designed for ANYONE who is seeking the peace of Christ.
Our program addresses any/all excessive, addictive, compulsive, behavior patterns. These are bad habits that are out of control causing inappropriate behavior. These habits may involve alcohol, drugs, gambling, lying, sexual misconduct or other behaviors that make our lives less than what God would have them be (John 10:10b).

In Steps 1, 2, & 3, we make peace with God
We come to terms with our powerlessness, resolve the fact that only God can do what we can’t do for ourselves, and resolve to let Him do it.
STEP 1 - I admit that I have no power to control my addictive or compulsive behavior, nor that of others... that my life has become unmanageable, destructive to myself and others, and hindering God's will for my life.

Hitting Bottom forces us to admit our powerlessness over our addictive behavior. The three major “bottoms” we hit are: Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual
Marital Problems
Physical health
Financial crisis
Mental Breakdown
Loss of Career
Death of a loved one

The addiction cycle cannot be broken unless an individual yield his will to the will of God. Jesus said “The Spirit is indeed willing, BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK” All humans have flesh and we all have areas of weakness. Don’t feel like you are in this alone.

STEP 2 - I came to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, in His boundless grace and love for me, wants to restore me to sanity...and with His infinite power is able to do so.

We come to realize that in our state of utter helplessness THERE IS someone greater than I that can help me deal with my addiction.
In admitting my weakness I am actually growing strong, not in myself but in the Lord. Paul states that “His strength is MADE PERFECT in my weakness” This means Christ becomes strong in us.
We renounce the tendency to “play God” and try and fix things, if we could fix it, it would be fixed!
We must renounce placing humans in the place of God. For example if your spouse left you because of your addiction, it isn’t the end of the world. You must seek God, only God can help you. In doing this you will ultimately help your estranged family.

STEP 3 - I make the decision to turn my will and my life over to God's care through Jesus Christ, who died for allow the Lord Jesus to live through me.
· Christ stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, but we must make up our minds to open the door.
· We must seek the Word to help renew our minds (Romans 12:1,2)
· Prayer help break our stubborn wills. As we consistently depend on Him on a daily basis, we grow in trust of Him and His guidance. (Proverb 3:5,6)

In Steps 4, 5, 6, &7 we make peace with ourselves
In taking an inventory, we look at ourselves, who we are, what we are, how we are. It is uncomfortable but in the end we are freed of the guilt and shame and assured of who we are in Christ.
STEP 4 - Knowing my infinite worth in Christ, I now make a list without fear of condemnation, of all areas of my life which are displeasing to God, as well as my God given strengths and abilities which I have not yet fully used, as revealed to me by the Holy Spirit.
· Ask God to search your heart and not only ask for forgiveness for the things you have done, but also forgive others that may have hurt you.
· Some addictive behavior is caused by bitterness against someone that may have hurt you as a child. (Abuse, Molestation, or maybe you were the child of an alcoholic or drug abuser)
· Passive Abuse also can damage a child; maybe the parents worked a lot and never spent time with you. Workaholic parents often breed emotionally damaged children that are prime candidates for substance or sexual dysfunction.

STEP 5 - Admitted to God, myself, and another human being the exact nature of my sin and shortcomings...thus acknowledging my personal accountability.
· The Bible tell us to “Confess our faults one to another” in acknowledging our addictions we become our brothers keeper and accountability is established. (James 5:16)
· We need to be specific when we confess so the stronghold can be broken. (Psalms 32, 38, and 51)
· Sharing breaks down the isolation caused by addictions.

STEP 6 -I ask the Holy Spirit to break down any resistance to His work in me, and to make me entirely willing for Him to remove my character defects.
· The Fruit of the Spirit helps shape our character, this fruit is manifested as we interact with others, share with others, and yes even have conflict with others.
· The Holy Spirit helps us live the Christian life, we all need the power of God to not only stay sober, but be effective witnesses for Christ. (Acts 1:8, John 14:26, and John 15:26)

STEP 7 – I humbly ask the Lord Jesus to remove my shortcomings and defects of character, submitting to His will.
· We need to be honest and recognize the shortcoming and ask God to remove them. (Read Psalm 51 and meditate on it)
· Allow the Holy Spirit to purge you and shape you.
· Know your weaknesses and never forget even though you are Born-Again, your flesh is WEAK. The only way to victory is through surrendering to Jesus.
· Romans 12:1,2 is a perfect formula for the benefits of surrender.

In Steps 8 &9 we make peace with others
We list those with whom we have to make amends and start on the path of healing relationships.
STEP 8 - I ask the Holy Spirit to bring to my mind all those people whom I have harmed. I write a list of them and pray for the willingness to make amends to them all.
· Make a sincere effort to right your wrongs, you may not have the means but make the effort. God will help you, you are NOT in this alone. (Psalm 23)
· Seek reconciliation with spouses, children, and parents. Even if they choose not to forgive you, YOU make the effort and walk in forgiveness yourself.
· Even in returning to a local church there may be those that you have to seek a reconnect with. Often addicts abuse the charity of the church and others. Sometime a public apology clears the air and give you a clean slate with others.

STEP 9 - I pray for the Lord to provide the opportunities to make direct amends to all those people I have harmed, and I act on those opportunities...except when to do so would injure them or others... as He guides and strengthens me.
· If reconnecting causes hostility in the other person, take your time but make sincere efforts in trying to regain their trust and making restitution when you are able.
· Sometime you may not be able to make full financial or material restitution but you can regain trust by being consistent and free from bondage.
· Some people you should avoid because of your weakness, if you were a gambler, going to Atlantic City might not be a good idea.

In Steps 10& 11 we maintain the peace
We learn how and then continue to maintain a relationship with Jesus through prayer, meditation and daily reading of God’s Word.
STEP 10 - I continue daily to take personal inventory, giving the Lord Jesus the praise for any growth in me, and promptly admit any failures, confess all sins, and make amends for any wrongdoing to others.
· Be honest with yourself and stay sensitive to the God in you, He will convict you when you are wrong, don’t fight conviction, praise God for it. When you are wrong repent quickly and move on.
· Keep a spiritual inventory of your life, your victories AND your failures.
· Don’t be discouraged when you feel. Remember it is not YOUR strength it is God’s that keeps you (Jude 24)

STEP 11 - seek through prayer and meditation on God's Word to improve my conscious contact with God through Jesus Christ, praying for His will for me and for the power of the Holy Spirit to allow Christ to work in and through my His glory.
Establish a regular time of study and meditation, be consistent!
The more you feed your spirit-man the stronger you become.
Attend group studies as well as your personal studies, we learn from one another as well as on our own.
And in Step 12 we give that peace away……..
STEP 12 - Having been spiritually renewed in Christ and having applied HIS twelve steps in my own life, I carry this message to others in need of it and continue striving to practice these Biblical truths in all my affairs.
· Witness to others! Share your testimony! Be a Blessing! (Acts 1:8)

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