Thoughts on Sanctification
|"This is my journey through recovery, showing how my Creator is using the the 12-Step Christian recovery model to give me relief from the behaviors that bring me pain." --Sid|
"... The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do... I can of mine own self do nothing... I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:19,30 )
It's amazing to me that my Lord and Savior -- who healed the sick, raised the dead, and sacrificed His life for me -- would say that He can do nothing without His father. As I ponder the implications of that statement, I am humbled. How could I possibly be so proud as to think I can somehow do more than Jesus? For, without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5 ).
The Psalmist said it well: "I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart." (Ps 38:6,8 )
I'm a "Can-Do" kind of guy. I love my family. I love my work. And I can enjoyably do many things. But, in all my doings, I am painfully aware that I have limitations. My sinful nature is not gone and I can't fix it. Many years of cultivating my sinful nature have strengthened it far beyond what I was born with, and it is still present within me (Romans 7:17-21 ).
The more I understand my limitations, the more I am willing to surrender those things as unmanageable, and lean on Jesus to give me the strength that I need for today. As I practice this, God works in me to change me to become more and more like Jesus. That's just what I need!
"We admitted we were powerless over our problems, that our lives had become unmanageable." (Step 1)
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" (Matthew 28:18-19 )
When I was a teenager, and well into my 20s, it was common for me to feel guilty for not distributing Christian literature or participating in other church functions that required me to witness to others. I've never been a great outside salesperson and it was frustrating to feel shamed for not participating in this type of activity. It seemed like I was being told that it was my duty to do these things. But it was drudgery for me.
Looking back to those days, from where I am today, I understand better why it was such drudgery. I was trying to do witnessing when I hadn't even come to the realization that I was powerless over my problems.
Today however, having had a spiritual awakening, I am grateful to realize that an integral part of my recovery process is in witnessing to others what great things God does in my life, as I choose to cooperate (trust and obey) with His loving leading.
I can now appreciate what the apostle John said: "they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony..." (Revelation 12:11 )
I could not overcome, if it were not for Jesus and His infinite sacrifice for me, and His total willingness to save me from my sins. Out of love and gratitude for all He does for me, I now feel compelled to testify to others of God's amazing grace. And not only that, but as I consider all those I have harmed in the past, it makes me all the more determined to do all that I can to help as many as possible now and in the future. And not only that, but by the word of my testimony I become less and less likely to re-enter my past harmful behaviors.
That is why I strive to bring these messages of hope to the hurting and why I choose, through the power of God, to practice these Gospel principles in all that I do -- trusting that my loving Higher Power will be with me always, "even unto the end of the world. Amen."
"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." (Step 12)
Like most people, I have thirsted for love, security, self-worth, success, and peace. But, I sought to quench that thirst by looking for these things in all the wrong places.
I drank of self-gratification, but only thirsted for more...
Now as I deny myself, I find self-worth.
I drank of worldly success, but only thirsted for more...
Now as I give for the benefit of others I find true success.
I drank of inappropriate relationships, but only thirsted for more...
Now as I build healthy relationships, I find love.
I drank of the control of myself and others, but only thirsted for more...
Now as I relinquish my "throne" to the Creator, I find peace.
I drank of the accumulation of stuff, but only thirsted for more...
Now as I -- through prayer and meditation -- seek God, I find security.
The deepest thirsting of my soul is quenched by my gracious, loving Lord and Savior, who said: "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life" (John 4:13-14 ). Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." (Step 11)
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