How can you have VICTORY over your defects of character?
Voluntarily submit – voluntarily submit to every change God wants me to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my shortcomings. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:1-2, The Message)
In Principle 3 we made a decision to turn our lives over to God’s will. Now “you are entirely ready to have God remove all your defects of character” (Step 6)
It is important to understand that Principle 5 is a process. Lasting change takes time. The remainder of this lesson outlines the process to have God make the positive changes in your life that you and He both desire.
Identify character defects – identify which character defects you want to work on first. Go back to the wrongs, shortcomings, and sins you discovered in your inventory. Ask God to first remove those that are causing the most pain. “In his heart a man plans hi course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
Change your mind – when you become a Christian you are a new creation – a brand new person inside; the old nature is gone. But you have to let God (change) transform you by renewing your mind. The changes that are going to take place are a result of a team effort – your responsibility is to take the action to follow God’s directions for change.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. “(Romans 12:2)
Turn over character defects – turn your character defects over to Jesus Christ. Relying on your own will power has blocked your recovery. You have tried to change your hurts, hang-ups, and habits by yourself and were unsuccessful. “Let go; let God.” “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
One day at a time – recovery works one day at a time! Your lifelong hurts, hang-ups, and habits need to be worked on in twenty-four-hour increments. “Life by the yard is hard; life by the inch is a cinch.”
“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34, TLB)
Recovery is a process – rnce you ask God to remove your character defects, you begin a journey that will lead you to new freedom from your past. Don’t look for perfection; instead rejoice in steady progress.
“And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” (Philippians 1:6, TLB)
You must choose to change – to ask for help to change your hurts, hang-ups, and habits requires humility. We need to stop trying to make the changes on our power. We need to “humbly ask Him to remove all our shortcomings.” We need to rely on His power to change us!
“God gives strength to the humble, so give you humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.” (James 4:6-8, TLB)
Principle 5 Prayer
Dear God, show me Your will in working on my shortcomings. Help me not to resist the changes that You have planned for me. I need You to “direct my steps.” Help me stay in today, not get dragged back into the past or lost in the future. I ask You to give me the power and the wisdom to make the very best I can out of today. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.
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)
Step 7: We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
How it Works
MAKE A DECISION By attending a meeting, you can decide if have a hurt, habit or hang-up you would like to work on. This is something that only you can determine. As you listen to others share openly and honestly of their struggles and triumphs, you may find that you have had similar experiences. You can overcome some of your denial about addictions, compulsions or other problems impacting your serenity. You will see that everyone sins, everyone has been hurt, everyone deals with relational challenges and everyone falls short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23). Good people, with good jobs, good families, and a sense of humor, can have hurts, habits and hang-ups. You may know that intellectually, but you need to believe it. Everybody likes to think that they’re special. But this is one of those times when it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone.
JOIN A COMMUNITY When you attend meetings, you meet people who are going through the same thing. God designed us to heal in community, “therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…” (James 5:16, NIV) – we were not meant to become isolated in our hurts, habits and hang-ups. Celebrate Recovery meetings are safe, welcoming communities of people just like you.
EMBRACE HOPE By attending meetings, you come to believe that recovery is possible. You see that others have found victory over their struggles and you develop confidence that you too can change your life. The people who recovered are just like you…they just followed the few simple principles of CR. If you follow those principles and work the steps, you too can find hope and freedom from your hurts, habits and hang-ups.
ENJOY ACCEPTANCE When you attend meetings, you won’t be judged. Most of us have difficulty sharing our emotions, partly because we’re afraid nobody will understand us, and partly because we’re afraid of being criticized. The people at CR won’t judge you because we’ve been there. We are a group of people that simply choose to be real and transparent about our lives and find freedom in doing so. We believe we are “only as sick as our secrets”… at CR, those secrets lose their power over us as we share openly within a safe community of our peers.
SEEK ACCOUNTABILITY By attending meetings, we are asking others to hold us accountable. We share our hurts, habits and hang-ups with others and when we find victory, we celebrate those wins together. But even more importantly, when we fall, those same people are there to lift us up, speak truth into our lives and love us despite our struggles. We do not go it alone. CR is a community of accountability and compassion.
- The Big Book of AA
Here’s a link for a FREE download that “for King and Country” posted for Celebrate Recovery.
“No Turning Back” http://www.forkingandcountry.com/celebraterecovery
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Find a tool, method or strategy that allows you to be completely honest as you proceed with your inventory, a critically important step in your recovery. Be careful, however, not to fall into the trap of over thinking it – the paralysis of analysis – be kind to yourself and trust in the process.
The goal is PROGRESS – not PERFECTION!
Inventory worksheets are available under the main menu, or access them here
As we work through Step 3, we must learn to let go, and let God.
“Brokenness is a prerequisite to understanding God’s grace, but the Christian Gospel does not leave us in this state of broken despair. Easter follows Lent. The apostle Paul was blinded so he could receive true site. Jonah, Esther, Elijah, Moses, Peter, Elizabeth, David, Joseph, Anna, and virtually every other Bible hero knew the joy of God’s grace because they endured difficult circumstances and times of suffering. Redemption gives hope and meaning to fallen humans. ‘Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning’ (Ps. 30:5).”
Mark R. McMinn
1. Can give you more energy. In one research study, participants kept a daily journal listing what they were grateful for. Another group recorded what annoyed them. Those who kept a ‘gratefulness’ journal had more energy and enthusiasm and were happier than the other group (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
2. Can help you become more others-centered. In a study by the same researchers, participants also daily journaled what they were grateful for. In addition to similar results to the above cited study, they discovered an interesting side effect. Those in the ‘grateful’ group reported that they were more inclined to help others with a personal problem. They became what is called more “pro-social” (Emmons, 2006).
3. Can help you sleep better. Our brains and bodies need adequate sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brains can’t consolidate our experiences from the day into our long-term memory. So, without refreshing sleep, our memory and cognitive function suffers. A Chinese study discovered that not only did gratitude improve sleep, but decreased depression and indirectly lowered anxiety (Korb, 2012). So, start and end your day with a grateful heart for more rejuvenating sleep.
4. Can make you physically feel better. When we are grateful, we activate brain regions associated with the feel-good transmitter dopamine. Gratefulness also increases the mood neurotransmitter serotonin and the trust hormone oxytocin. When dopamine is released, it evokes a “do that again” response. So, a grateful heart can feed on itself and help us want to repeat it. It’s called the ‘virtuous cycle.’ We simply have to start the process by choosing to be grateful.
5. Can help you become less materialistic. Several studies have shown that people with higher levels of gratitude are more likely to have lower than average traits of materialism (McCullough, 2002).This finding reminds of Jesus’ words, In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20.35).
6. Can help combat negativity and the negative emotions that follow. Because our brain has five times more negative circuits than positive ones, we naturally tend to focus on the negative. It’s called the brain’s ‘negativity bias.’ When we are grateful it forces our brain to think about the positive. The Apostle Paul understood this when he wrote Phil. 4.8. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Not only does science speak to gratefulness, it also fills the pages of Scripture.
1Th. 5.16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Psa. 100.3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Col. 3.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God
If you want to learn even more about gratitude, watch this TEDx talk on The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance and read the book Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
An old saying about gratitude goes like this.
If you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.
Don’t forget the language of gratitude today!
Dr. Charles Stone, West Park Church, Ontario, Canada 2015
STEP 2…………………….……………….………………HOW IT WORKSheet
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fullfil His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)
Directions- ask the Lord to prepare your heart and mind to read and answer the following questions:
- Read each question through at least twice, resting and pondering on each question and allowing yourself time to respond as you are ready.
- Give time to meditate on each answer, or journal your answers, and consider how the questions and your responses impact your feelings, your mood, your thoughts and your beliefs. The key is to move through the questions in a deeply intentional way rather than blindly follow instructions or rush through the process. You will benefit from being as honest and thorough as possible.
- Read and PRAY through the Principle One Prayer.
- When you are ready, share your answers with an accountability partner or sponsor, and pray together. This sharing is critical – this is how we begin to heal… READ James 5:16 —————————————————————————————————-
- Before taking this step and considering God’s power to change your life, where were you trying to find hope? Did you find lasting hope and relief?
- What do you believe about God? What are some of His characteristics?
- What do you believe about God? What are some of His characteristics? How does it feel to know God is your Heavenly Father and honestly cares about every thought, every experience, every emotion that you have ever had?
- How are your feelings for your heavenly Father and your earthly father alike? How do they differ?
- What area of your life, which hurt, habit or hang-up are you ready to trust God with?
- When you consider trusting God with your hurts, habits and hang-ups, what do you feel? What emotions do you experience?
- Imagine how it will feel to not be controlled, burdened or hurt by that pain or concern any longer? How does that feel? What emotions do you experience?
- If you experience fear or uncertainty when considering trusting God with your hurt, habit or hang-up, what can you do to bring your focus back to His Truth, His Power and Willingness to take your burdens from you?
Dear God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is; not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen