Step 2: Jesus Christ: His Lordship is the Only Power that can Help me Recover!
When someone says the word "Restore," what comes to your mind? Perhaps your thoughts include what your family may have put you through, or a trauma, or an abuse or a hurt or a life of misery that caused your overeating or addiction or alcohol or chemical dependency. We have to realize that no matter what we have been through, Christ is here now. You can't look to your mother or father or relative that may have abused you or an opportunity someone stole. You have to take responsibility for your life and look to Him and not look for others to blame. Through Jesus Christ and His power to heal and restore, you can be helped! Do you believe only He can help you recover?
Maybe your mind goes to the stress of life or, perhaps, the dreaded family or people you feel have hurt you. When you know you will be picked apart by relatives with questions such as "What are you doing…why did you not…how could you… When are you going to get a real job? Why are you not married yet? Why are your kids wearing that? and so forth.You want to go for that drink or that extra doughnut or drug.
Perhaps you are very relieved right now that these are mere memories, and you have no need to worry about it again. However, have you considered that there may be a pattern you could have picked up that has enslaved you?
…stand fast in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" Phil. 1:27
The key to overcoming whatever plagues you or to be in recovery is the character of Christ living out in you all year long. The point of the Christian life is not self-realization, but in knowing Jesus Christ, not allowing anything to take His place in your thinking, your emotions, and the daily experiences of life. The spiritual and mature Christian will never think his circumstances are merely haphazard, or think of himself as the center of the universe. Rather, Christians are to be Christ like in "attitude" and in "form." Whether we dread the menial activities like raking leaves, or tackle big projects like recovery, the mature Christian will see everything as Christ does, even in those times when it seems He has "dumped" on him.
Thus, our traumas or the stress of our daily activities as well as those bad circumstances such as abuse, hurt, pain, stress, setbacks, failures, and such, are means of growth and learning and becoming more like Him. We are to see all of life as a journey to further secure the knowledge of Jesus Christ in our lives, even to the point of being recklessly abandoned to Him. (Gal. 2:20-21)
This "attitude" and "form" are key words for Paul (see questions # 9 & 10) and what the book of Philippians is all about-not to mention what life is all about! This is what the recovered Christian life is all about. This is why Christ came. Yes, He came to save you from your sins, but then what? Are you to sit in a pew and complain, and throw pity parties when things do not go your way? Are you to hate the relatives during the holidays? NO! The Holy Spirit is determined that we realize Jesus Christ in every aspect of our life. If not, He will bring us back to the same scenario repeatedly until we learn the lessons He has for us-until we get it right.
Self-realization is thinking that we are all that leads to the believing. It is in thinking that if we are good, we will go to heaven, or that we are good persons, and we work hard, so we do not need Christ in our lives, thus we do not need Him to help us recover. It is saying that if He is there, we will keep Him on a "short leash." This is totally anti-Biblical and wrong thinking. When we have this mindset, no growth or healing will accrue. There will be no maturity, no seizing the maturity of the Christian life, and no partaking in the real meaning of life.
Instead, the focus in life is on our issues and what took us there-the eating, the drinking, or the drugs-and not upon the washing of our sin by Who Christ is and what He has done for us, for you. We forsake each other for ourselves or use others as a means to spiral downward into oblivion; we seek to gain status or whatever it is we desire. The Holy Spirit is there all along, trying to guide us in, like an airport attendant with two flashlights guiding in a jumbo jet. The pilot must keep a careful eye on the person guiding him as well as the controls of the aircraft or else the multi-million dollar plane and the hundreds on board will be in dire jeopardy. We too, must keep watch on the Holy Spirit and His guiding, a teaching that is clearly seen in these verses.
So, we must take responsibility for our actions, seek His help, and watch His Spirit at work. We must take the controls and steer our life His way, lest we crash, resulting in a consequence to all those around us. It may come small, like a small man compared to the monstrous 747 jet. However, the 747 cannot park, nor can the passengers go on their way without the guidance from two very small flashlights. We have to take the initiative of realizing Jesus Christ in every phase of our daily life. If we don't, a counterfeit will invade in the place of Jesus. And it is that counterfeit that has taken you over and made you miserable.
When Jesus walked this earth in human form, Christ Himself realized His relationship to the Father even in his normal, day-to-day activities.
"After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." (John 13:5)
Jesus knew that He was God, but as a man He "took a towel," the most lowly and menial task of His day. It would compare today to our washing a toilet. So, if the Creator of the universe was able to be humble and be guided in by the seemingly small voice in a loud and large world, why cannot we?
The aim of the spiritual Christian, who desires healing and recovery, is to live the true Christian faith. We will have this Christ-like theme imprinted upon our hearts and minds. This theme will permeate every activity and aspect of our lives-from refusing that drink to forgiving those who have wronged us, from enjoying the daily activities like buying groceries and taking care of the kids to helping someone else to know our Lord and be in recovery too- "that I may know Him." Do you know Him where you are today? If not, you are failing Him. This may seem harsh, but very biblically true. Let us not be confused in our dependencies and addictions, our desires, our needs and wants, or our ideas of what we think the Christian life is to be like, and let us surrender ourselves to what the Word is really calling us, to maturity and growth in Him!
We are not on this earth just to appreciate ourselves, but to know Jesus and to make Him known. Something needs to be fixed and I must be the one to do it. Yes, something must be fixed, work must be done, and we must do it. But is has to be with Christ and by His lead, or our recovery will not work. When we are pursuing the Heart of Christ by following His character in "attitude" and "form," then we will see our life and circumstances change. Then our behaviors will change too.
Questions to ponder:
- When someone says the word, "addiction" or "dependency," what comes to your mind?
- Have you considered that there may be a pattern you could have picked up that has enslaved you? What is it? What can you do? How can your church help? What do you need? What will you do now?
- Have you considered that you cannot be helped until you ask for and want it? And mean it? If so, what does that mean?
- Read Philippians, chaps1 - 2. What do you see as the connection between these two passages and your life?
- What was Christ's attitude toward others? (Remember, He is God, and deserves full worship and adoration)
- When life does not go your way, what do you do?
- Sit and complain?
- Throw pity parties?
- Abuse yourself by chemicals of over indulgence? Or?
- What should you do when things do not go your way?
8. What does "attitude" mean to you? What are the attitudes in these verses? (In the Greek, "attitude" NIV, or "mind" in NKJV, (2:5) means a mental state based on feeling, rather than just thinking. It signifies a concern for others, whereas just thinking keeps the focus upon us. The opposite of this is "pride," which is what Paul was confronting in these verses-Phil. 1:1-4; 2:7.)
- How can you apply these themes into your life, so you may become more Christ-like? Begin with Philippians 3:10, "That I may know Him." Do you know Him where you are today? If so, what can you do to implement the Christ-like character? If not, what is in the way?
- Do you believe only Christ can help you to recover? So, what will you do now?
We, as the people of God who have been saved from our sins by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, have a call, a mandate to preserve His Word, and to proclaim His Word. We must remain steadfast in this call to our individual selves, as well as our neighbors.
As people who are His in recovery, we must come to the point that we allow the search and conviction of the Holy Spirit upon our lives to the very core of our being and souls (2 Cor. 13:5)! Once this happens, the result will be more faith and healing, the empowering to overcome and be of more use to Christ. The result for your life will be more focus upon His precepts and increased prayer, which will bring an outpouring of the Spirit and renewal! This will impact your life, your family, your friends, your neighborhood, and the world in which you live. It all starts with your determination to encompass His help, to exercise the faith He has given you to make it happen, and obey! What is stopping you?
Questions from Philippians 2, verses:
- Are you confessing that every tongue (would) confess that Jesus Christ is Lord? Are you living and preaching to point you and others to the glory of God the Father?
- Have you always obeyed…continue(d) to work out your salvation with fear and trembling?
- Are you operating as it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose?
- Are you doing everything without complaining or arguing?
- Are you operating as blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe?
- Are you holding out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ? Do you realize that I (you) did not run or labor for nothing?
- Are you being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith?
- Are you glad and rejoice with me (Christ)?
- Are you operating in the hope in the Lord Jesus?
- Are you taking a genuine interest in your (the) welfare of others?
- Are you just looking out for his (your) own interests, not those of Jesus Christ?
- Are you as a son with his father (he has) served with me (Jesus) in the work of the gospel?
- Are you filled with hope, therefore, to send (be sent to serve) him?
- Are you confident in the Lord?
- Are you taking care of my (others') needs?
- Are you longing for all … distressed?
- Are you having mercy… sorrow…on him (others)?
- Are you eager to send him (be used by Christ)? Or are you consumed with anxiety?
- Are you welcoming him (others) in the Lord with great joy, and honor?
- Are you working of (for) Christ, (taking appropriate) risks…helping (others) and giving with what Christ has given you?
What we experience in life, what we go through, what we suffer through, what we give up, is all just a mere shadow compared to the Eternity to come. What we seem to lose is of no comparison to what we gain in Him! Christianity and suffering are the Ultimate in delayed gratification!
© 1990, 2002, 2008, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org