2002-10-16 - Twelve Steps to Christian Living Devotional
Step 6 - Contemplation
Steps #1-#5 can be found at http://www.cfdevotionals.org/links/authdave.htm
Step 6: We are entirely ready to have GOD remove all these defects of character.
Isaiah 1:19 (NLT) If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat.
In Step 4, we made a fearless, searching inventory of ourselves. In Step 5, we had a confession time to another person and to God. Step 6 sounds very simple, but it is actually very difficult and important. It is time to get our hearts ready to allow God to work more in our lives. Step Six is a contemplative step. It asks us to look back to see if we've been holding on to some secret or reservation, but mostly it is a step that takes a good, hard look at our faith.
We have come to the point where we will see if we are absolutely and totally willing to have God remove our past sinful ways. Do we have enough faith in God to let Him soften our hearts? Are we willing to accept His mercies, grace, love and peace? Do we really trust Him with our entire lives?
Just as when we were doing our personal inventory in Step 4, we need to avoid the trap of being willing to give only certain parts of our lives over to God. We cannot make our lives into cafeteria lines, telling God, "Well you may have only two vegetables and one meat -- and absolutely no desserts!"
Step 6 asks the question, "Do we have enough faith, unreserved faith, to trust that the Lord will fill, with His goodness and love, the void left when we are willing to set aside our sinful natures?" If I'm going to give up lustful thoughts, because steps 4 and 5 have allowed me to get honest about how lustful thoughts separate me from God and those around me, then step 6 asks me if I honestly have the faith to give those lustful thoughts to God, while believing that the Lord's goodness and grace will fill whatever panicked spiritual hole the lustful thoughts were soothing. Am I willing to let go of MY way of taking care of my selfish needs, and to step aside and have God take care of my needs, as well as determine what those needs are?
This seemingly simple step is a direct question of our faith in God to handle our lives. It is best described in the following verse:
1 John 5:4-5 (NLT) For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory. And the ones who win this battle against the world are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Everyday I hear God asking me, "David, do you really trust me? Do you really have faith in me?"
Lord, led each of us into a contemplative spirit so that we can, with your help, get ready to have total trust and faith in You. Make us ready. In Christ's name, Amen.