Monday, February 19, 2024

Lesson 14 - Ready


Principle 5

Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” (Matthew 5:6)

Step 6

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)


Congratulations! If you are ready for Principle 5, you have already taken some major steps on the road to recovery.

You admitted you had a problem and were powerless over it.

You came to believe that God could and would help you.

You sought Him and turned your life and your will over to His care and direction.

You wrote a spiritual inventory and shared that with God and another person. You’ve been busy! That’s a lot of work—hard work!

The next thing to do is for us and God to go after our character defects.

Tonight’s acrostic will show you how to get READY to allow Him to do that.

Release control

Easy does it

Accept the change

Do replace your character defects

Yield to the growth

Release Control

Help me to do your will, for you are my God. Lead me in good paths, for your Spirit is good” (Psalm 143:10, TLB).

The first letter tonight stands for RELEASE control.

Human nature implants in us the desire to be in control. We want to determine how our recovery will come about. We loath surrendering our thoughtfully laid out plans. We want to say how it will go, and what the results will be.

Coming to the point where we give up our own plans and surrendering feels like throwing it all to the wind. It feels like we may end up in a place we don't want to go at someone elses direction. Giving up control can be hard, but maybe giving up is what we need to do. Give up and allow God to take control.

We may not know Jesus very well. We may not trust Him. We may not have an abiding awareness of His presence around and within us. This is an awareness that is cultivated. This come through practice, and the testimony of others. It is hard to give up control to someone we don't know well, so get to know Him.

Jesus is the wind beneath our wings. He lifts us up when we spread our wings. To release control means to stand still, quit running after our own solutions and plans, and spread our wings. When we spread our wings, we say Lord take me where you will. I give up my own ways and will go your way. You never know where the updrafts will take you, but they will take you up.

Simply put, the R—release control—is “Let go; let God!”

Easy Does It

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it and he will” (Psalm 37:5, TLB).

The E in ready stands for EASY does it.

These principles and steps are not quick fixes! You need to allow time for God to work in your life.

It takes time to come to a place where you realize that what you are doing is not working. It would be better to allow God control instantly, now, and not tomorrow. If you can do that, it will go good for you. But we have habits and hangups that exert a great deal of inertia on us. That's not an excuse, but a reality. Easy does it. Commit to the Lord, learn to trust Him. He will bring healing and recovery.

Keep your wings out. Cultivate an awareness of His presence. Read His Word, talk to Him, talk to others about Him. Keep coming to recovery meetings for we confess our sins to each other for healing.

When Israel depended on the Lord, they were successful:

Isa 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (29) He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (30) Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; (31) but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

This principle goes further than just helping you stop doing wrong. Remember, the sin is the symptom of the character defect, and we are going after that, the defect.

Let me explain. The sin is like a weed in a garden: It will keep reappearing unless it is pulled out by the roots. And the roots are the actual defects of character that cause the particular sin. In many cases, the major sin in our life is abusing alcohol, drugs, or porn, or anger. That was the act, the sin. The defect of character may be a lack of any positive self-image. So, when we work Principle 5, we go after the defect—possibly a lack of a positive self-image—that caused me to act out, and we seek healing.

That takes time, but God will do it. He promised! We should be persistent and stay the course.

Accept the Change

1 Peter 1:13–14 (GNB): “So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant.”

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

The next letter is A: ACCEPT the change.

When we turn to the Lord, things will change. It may start out small, or it could be a major sudden change.

When you see changes in your life begin to occur, it can be scary. Your life is changing and you are not the one in control. This is where faith comes in. Most of us would be aware that a major theme of the Bible is to have faith, but what is faith?

Heb 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

When you start to experience a change in your life, and if it seems scary or threatening to your control, remember to walk in faith. Walking in faith means that you trust God even though you are not in control, to the point where you are confident that only goodness is in your future. Even though you cannot see it, you have assurance about what you can't see coming your way.

Where does this confidence and assurance come from? From testimonies of others, from sharing in open share and 12 step groups, from having a growing relationship with Christ.

So when you see changes happening to a positive end, accept the changes and thank God for them, don't try to take control back.

Do Replace Your Character Defects

Matthew 12:43–45 (GNB): “When an evil spirit goes out of a person, it travels over dry country looking for a place to rest. If it can’t find one, it says to itself, ‘I will go back to my house.’ So it goes back and finds the house empty, … then it goes out and brings along seven other spirits even worse than itself, and they come to live there.”

So when change begins to happen in your life, maybe you are finding the power to resist sin and evil, maybe you are recognizing Jesus's presence in your life more, or maybe you are becoming a “Jesus freak”, what is next?

It is very important that as your life begins to go through change, you replace what you used to do with something new. If you used to go hang out with friends at the bar, start hanging out with healthy friends you have met at CR, at CR and outside CR. Get together for game nights with Christian friends. Volunteer at church, CR or in the community. Do more stuff with the kids. Find ways to spend the same amount of time doing something different than you used to.

If you just stop doing what you were doing, and don't fill the time with something new, there is a good chance of falling back into old habits if you don't find new habits.

I made the choice to do this. When I was recovering from drug use, I made a determination to make different friends. I sought out Christians to be friends with. I forced myself to do this, so that I would be able to change who I was with and what I was doing. I also got plugged into a church and surrounded myself with godly people. If I had not done this, I'm sure I would have made friends with those who would have dragged me back to the sorry state I was in previously.

Yield to the Growth

The person who has been born into God’s family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him; so he can’t keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into him and controls him—he has been born again” (1 John 3:9, TLB).

The last letter in ready is the Y: Yield to the growth.

Inside of each born again person is both God's nature and our sin nature. We get to choose to whom we will give control to.

When John says that we can't keep sinning, he is pointing out that our divine nature, which is God's life in us, cannot sin, and that sin arises from our own sin nature. Our challenge is to grant God's divine nature in us the greater control, and to lessen the control of our sin nature. Paul completes this thought by personifying sin:

Rom 7:15-17 I don't understand what I do. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. (16) I do what I don't want to do. So I agree that the law is good. (17) As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them.

Saying that “we” don't sin but the sin in us does, does not present us with an excuse, but gives us understanding and power to overcome. We recognize that sin is a foreign entity, one that can be grabbed a hold of and thrown out.

Whether we are under the control of God's divine nature inside of us, or our sin nature is completely up to us. We have been given the power and means to be freed from the power of sin.

Rom 6:5-6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- (7) because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

To be crucified with Him and die to sin simply means that we make that choice to set aside our sin nature, and allow God's Holy Spirit within us to bring transformation and renewal, or recovery.

You have the power to choose life, and yield to growth.


The question is, “Are you entirely ready to voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in your life?”

Dear God, thank You for taking me this far in my recovery journey. Now I pray for Your help in making me be entirely ready to change all my shortcomings. Give me the strength to deal with all of my character defects that I have turned over to You. Allow me to accept all the changes that You want to make in me. Help me be the person that You want me to be. In Your Son’s name I pray, Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment