Romans 12: 1-2
Step 7: Ask God to humble and renew you so you do not continue any bad patterns.
The road to recovery is the renewal of your mind! Just focus and use the determination Jesus gives you to turn your life over to Christ as LORD! Ask God to humble you and renew you so you do not continue any bad patterns or go back to your old bad ways. This is a continual process. As long as there is a hint of a bad desire in you (and there will always be), you must center yourself in Christ.
Paul calls us, his church folks, and then urges us passionately that God's will is to think rightly of His precepts. Then Paul pleads with them to make their faith real so it impacts others around them. When we who are in recovery do this, we move far ahead in our healing. Then he gives us all a simple way we can do this, to see our lives as extensions of God's grace and hands, so we are willing and able to be lined up to Him, and so we can be committed to sobriety or the healing that we need. Then, with a goal to be better used by Him, we are called to be a living sacrifice, which means we are to be living, growing and performing agents of God. We are not alone in this essential manner. As a Christian, the Spirit transforms us completely, all we are and then all that we are to do, our will, plans, and our opportunities (2 Cor. 3:18). And we cannot do this unless we give up our selfish will that leads to our reliance on Christ and revisit our evils or addictions or keep harboring past hurts (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:1-14)!
The incentive for us to surrender to Christ is that His Way is better than ours! You do not need the bottle or the smoke or the extra piece of pie, you just need Him. He gave us a gift we cannot fathom, yet alone earn the gift of grace and eternal life, so why would we not seek to please our Living, Loving Lord? Then Paul tells us that God's will is for us to be willing and able to please Him and serve Him. When you are growing and in recovery, you are pleasing Him and in so doing reaping the benefits and rewards too. This is accomplished when we are on guard so that the distractions of the sinful life do not entice, motivate, or divert us from Him and His plan for us! The call is simple: be willing to allow God to transform you-not the world. Simple? Yes, but it takes diligence effort from the trust we have in Christ to succeed! When we do this, our thinking, attitude, mindset, all that we are in thought, will change and then impact all that we do in life.
· Do not be conformed... infers that our mind and thinking must have root in Christ and Scripture, and that the Spirit guides us (2 Cor. 4:18; 1 John 2:17). If not, the culture, our addictions, desires, and pleasures of life will sweep us away from God's best for us. This is our Christian life and purpose!
· Age refers to "evil powers" and "amoral acts," the worldly, sinful temptations in our human culture, whether they are tradition, custom, ritual, or rationale. This translates to whatever tempts and allures us into thinking this is what we need, when in fact it is what tears us down. Our standing before our Lord is solely upon His mercy; thus we are to reciprocate it, such as since God forgave us we need to forgive others and ourselves too.... Thus, do not just ask God to use you; rather give yourself to Him to use!
· Renewing of your mind is changing our pagan or even Christian mindset away from our selfish nature to His character. Until we do, God's will and the deeper things of God will not be available to us. Our ideas and attitudes directly shape our values and lifestyle. To get it right, we are to be shaping our minds to God's Word (Rom. 8:5-9; 13:11-14; 2 Cor. 4:18; 1 John 2:17).
· Transformed, the opposite of obedience is not just selfishness or laziness, but rather creating your own opportunities with zeal instead of going with the Lord's. In other words, misplacing your passion on the wrong things (1 Sam. 15:22; John 7:17; 13:17). We are to cling to His highest standard, not compromise to the flow of the group we hang out with (peer pressure). Will you obey?
· Acceptable, means God accepting a sacrifice. When we debate with God and refuse His guidance, we lose sight of His path, and fall in rocky terrain, stop, drop to your knees, and wake up to Him (Eph. 4:30). The question is will we be dedicated to our Lord or to ourselves (1 Cor. 6:19; 9:27; Gal. 2:21; Phil. 2:12)?
· Being freed from sin must produce a response and a responsibility. So what is yours?
Theology is our boot camp and the army is our duty in application that leads to our revitalization. Yet, it is the least thing considered by the average Christian's pursuit, especially those who never take ownership of their problem or faith, who grew up in dysfunction, or experienced great hurt and see it as their identity and lifestyle. The danger is for the Christian to remain in the pain and never move from it, or learn all that they can from programs, but never apply the principles. We take comfort in our knowledge, but never do anything with it. It is the addict that refuses to get over it, the Christian that refuses to share their pain, or model Christ on Mondays, as well as Sundays. Be aware you will be harshly judged; you are no better than the Pharisees and pagans (Hos.6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Matt. 12 9-14; James 1:21-27)! But take comfort; when you embrace Christ you are embracing your recovery too!
1. How were you (or are you) affected by peer pressure in school (clothes, job, car, friends, etc)? How does this simulate your habit?
2. Is the word "doctrine" a friend or a foe? How does it, or can it, help your healing?
3. If you have ever seen or done an oil change for a car, have you noticed the dirty blackness of the old oil versus the golden color of the new oil? How is this like your dependence and the renewing of your mind to overcome it?
4. When you are growing and in recovery, how are you are pleasing Him? In so doing, what are the benefits and rewards you can receive?
5. Have you considered that Christianity is like a football or baseball or soccer game? Thus, the church is the dugout (Baseball term, where the payers sit waiting to go to bat, listening to the coach and practicing skills), Christ is the coach and the field of play is the community and world around the church. So, when the players of the other team are the obstacles, pain, and problems you face, how can you win that game?
6. What would it take for you to see His Way is better than yours?
7. Why is it that you do not need the bottle or the smoke or the extra piece of pie, you just need Him? How would this mindset help you in recovery?
8. For a Christian, a time must come when the reality of who you are in Christ must hit home in power and conviction. Has this happen to you? If so, how? If not, what would it take?
9. Why would the Holy Spirit be hindered in transforming you if your will is in the way?
10. Pharisees have a bad reputation in the church for good reason. Paul's concern was that Christians would turn out like them-having the knowledge, but ignoring the application. Why did he have that fear?
11. The purpose of doctrine and study of His Word is not just the knowledge but what we do with that knowledge that is our supreme goal. Why would this be true?
12. Why is it so hard for so many of us Christians to have a relationship with the Lord that is transparent (out going, honest, and real), and not secretive? How does this affect your recovery from addiction or dependency?
13. Has the reality that you belong solely to God, not to yourself or anything else hit you? If it has not, what would it take for you to dedicate the right to yourself over to Christ?
14. It is easy to die for a cause, but are you willing to live for Him? Dependency and addiction are forms of slavery to sin and evil. Why would you want that back? How can you move on?
15. How can you live the life of faith in perfect obedience (as much as you can), so your life is poured out and your strength is gone so you must rely on His?
16. What does "reasonable service" mean to your daily life? Recovery?
17. Service is something we do because we are dedicated to live for our Lord out of our gratitude. But we all have different definitions of dedication. We do not earn points by our service nor need it for our salvation. So on what level and time commitment should you serve Him?
18. Do not be conformed... to what? What entices you away from our Lord?
19. How could evaluating your gratitude help you grow more deeply in Christ and be more able to recover from what ills you?
- When you do, then the deeper things of God will be available to you. We do this by reshaping our mind to God's Word. How can you put this in to practice?
- What can you do to turn your life more over to Jesus Christ as LORD?
© 1990, 1998, 2001, 2005, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org