2002-10-26 - Twelve Steps for Christian Living, Step 7
Step 7 - We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
James 4:10 (KJV) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Just what does it mean to be humble? Humility is defined as "marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful. Showing deferential or submissive respect." Being humble is the opposite of being self-centered. It's time for us to stop playing God and let God do His work in our lives. It is time to humbly submit our entire beings to Him.
The key to Step 7 is having the humility and faith to turn ALL of ourselves over to God, to ask Him to remove ALL of our shortcomings. I tend to want to say to God, "Okay you take care of these big sins and shortcomings, and I will take the little ones." Or something like, "Okay God, thanks for getting me out of that jam; now I will take it from here." Some of us say, "God can have me on Sunday morning, but come Monday, all bets are off!" Maybe you have decided to be a dedicated husband, but your actions at work are off-limits to God. The question we need to ask of ourselves: Is God the Lord of our entire life or just part?
Jeremiah 18:6b (NLT) As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.
In Step 6, we talked about having real faith. Do we have the faith to trust God entirely? Step 7 is the practical application of that faith. Sure, we might buy what the Lord Jesus Christ offers us through his sacrifice, the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life -- but are we willing to make practical, concrete applications of that faith in regard to individual aspects of our sinful nature? Step 7 is a leap of faith and an acknowledgment that we want and welcome God's design for who and what He wants us to be. We entrust ALL of ourselves into God care, so that He can mold, shape and influence us - so that we may better do His will and work. He is the potter; we are the clay. He is Lord of all.
In order for God to remove defects from our lives, we have to give our lives to Him AND turn away from the shortcoming. Repentance is simply "turning away." It is going in one direction and then taking a 180-degree turn in the other direction. Having the faith and the humility to submit our lives to God is not enough. God will do His part, but we still need to do our part. If we truly want change, we have to make changes in our lives. We can't ask God to keep us from being lustful, but then keep hanging out at the "gentleman's club." God can guide us and direct us, but He loves us so much that he still allows us to have the free will to do as we please.
Okay, I hear some of you out there, "but David I can't go to God with this. You don't know how bad I have been!" As we say here in the South, "You ain't telling me nothing I don't know." God knows everything about you. But just as a loving parent wants his child to ask for help and forgiveness in times of need, so does God. God is not too busy, not too big, not too powerful and certainly not too burdened to help you. Just ask.
The writer of Hebrews sums up Step 7 in this way:
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT) That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
Step 7 is simply transferring the control of our lives over to God. It is putting ourselves in God's hand as unformed clay, asking Him to shape us and mold us into the person that He intended for us to become. It is letting God decide which defects are standing in our way of being not only who He wants us to be, but also what keeps us from being close to Him and those around us. Ready to stop trying to play God? Ready to stop banging your head against the wall while trying to fix yourself? Join me in a prayer that I have adapted from AA's "Big Book." This prayer is our first move toward the freedom of turning our lives completely over to God.
All-powerful God, I am now willing for you to have ALL of me, both good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and those around me. Give me your strength to turn away from the faults that I have and turn toward You. You are the potter and I am the clay. Hold me, mold me and recreate me into what You want, In your Son's name I pray, Amen.
Parts 1-6 can be found at this