Step 10: Keep on God's path for recovery so you do not fall off of it and go back to your old harmful ways.
Continue to make amends by examining your life and what you have done to cause hurt to others, and then take responsibility for it. This step is to help focus you and give you encouragement to continue to make amends by examining your life and what you have done to cause hurt to others; then take responsibility for it. This is like exercising to keep fit; you have to keep at it.
Even though the Way is simple in concept, people, since the early Apostles and Jews who kept the Law, while believing in Jesus, have tried to add extra burdens on the Gospel of Grace. From circumcision to the scores of false teachers, Paul and Barnabas were plagued with this until Peter, through the Holy Spirit, set them straight (Acts 10-15). It is no different today. We still need to be "set straight" because of so many false ideas, corruption, sin, and evil people and their evil ways seeking to get you back to your addiction or dependency. Sometimes the temptations seem overwhelming and dauntless. Yet all you need to do is look to Christ and His simple, yet profound teachings to lead you home, safe, and in recovery.
The illustration in this passage of the trees and fruit is the quintessential proof text for who you are, where you came from, and what you have or can become. You have the choice to live out Galatians 5:19-21 or Galatians 5: 22-23. The choice is yours; the fruit is to be made by you through the Holy Spirit. The key is to receive and work it out (Phil. 2:12-13). You can be a good tree or a bad one. You can produce Fruit to nourish and impact others, or give out your rotten fruit to discourage and repulse all those who are brought to you by God. Faith that is professed may be good, but until it moves your will and feet, it is no good to God or those around you!
- The key to make this work is simple: Do not focus on your situation, but on Christ. See our articles on our Suffering channel under "Topics."
- Find it or found, suggests effort must be extended. Luke adds the word strive (Luke 13:24). It indicates not just any kind of effort, but the right driving force (Eph. 4).
- False prophets: this can be anyone who enables you; they will switch the gates on you and claim lies as truth. They are denying who and what Christ has done for you and replacing the truth with lies! They seem attractive at first, until you realize you have been shamed-hopefully before it is too late. Even though you may have been misled, you are still responsible for your choices! We can know them by their character, by how they live (Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:43-45), and if their words come to pass (Duet. 13; 18:21-22). They will lead you astray and must be corrected. If they refuse to listen (Matt. 18), they must be silenced.
- Sheep's clothing: Here is where we get our phrase, "a wolf in sheep's clothing!" And, the phrase is quite true! It is saying and representing what is not really what you intend or mean to deliberately misreport truth, even though you may believe it as true. People of bad influence will rarely come across as the evil type, with shifty eyes and whispers in the dark. They come looking like you with persuasive, emotional, and attractive words and temptations to captivate you. The only way you can tell is to know the truth from the Bible, watch them closely, and test them (Gal. 1:8-9; 1 John 4:1). In addition, know this: their lifestyle and character will soon give them away (2 Cor. 8:20-21; 2 Tim. 2:14-16; 3:13; 2 Pet. 2:1-3). They will also cause divisions and strife in you and your family and church, and lead people away from the True faith (1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Pet. 2:1).
- Fruits, is an illustration of good and valuable food such as barley, figs, and pomegranates, versus what is worthless and harmful to the harvesters, such as thorns or thistles (Isa. 5:2-6; 27:6; Hos.10: 1-13; 14:7-8; Prov. 11:30-31). This, in the Old Testament, refers to being obedient to God in order to receive His blessings. Now, it is more of a mirror to our character, to who we are, or can be in Christ (Gal. 5:18-23).
Another key to recovery success is to focus on the benefits of getting better and not the guilt for what you have done. Making amends is also designed to erase guilt so you can focus on your improvement and move on in Christ and the wondrous life He has for you! So, enjoy your recovery; you are getting better! Wow! See it as an adventure from which to learn and grow. Our character will improve and enable us to overcome all obstacles and help others though them. Thus, we should make it a point to give Christ our best for His glory because He first loved us, and we respond to His Grace with our gratitude. At the same time, we can take comfort in the fact that He will not give us anything we cannot handle (Phil 2:10-13; Heb. 2:10)! So, let us live with excellence, to our best for His glory!
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6)
- In what ways is the Christian life hard? In what way is it easy? How has it been for you? What do you need to grow further?
- What are some bad beliefs or influences you may have that get in the way of your recovery? How can you remove them? Who can help you?
- What you have seen as the key to make your recovery work is simple: do not focus on your situation, but on Christ
- How is the Way (Christian life) simple in concept? What about the steps to your recovery? Why do some people feel the need to add to it or that it is too hard to do?
- Do you believe that humility (see our character study on Humility) prevents those who are godly from promoting themselves, as we are called to promote Christ crucified?
- What would be the driving force for the godly leader whose heart is after Christ? How is this so for those in recovery?
- How is it that the illustration of trees and fruit (Fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:18-23) can be the quintessential proof text of who you are and what you need to do?
- Compare how and why the Christian life costs so much to what you receive in return. Now do the same with recovery.
- Where are you in your spiritual journey and sojourn with Christ? What about your recovery sojourn?
- How can you show others that Jesus is directing you along the narrow way?
- Are you equipped to identify a wolf in sheep's clothing if you saw one? How can you be so equipped?
- What does it take to move your will and feet further in your recovery?
- Now, think through what you can do to make sure your recovery testimony stays on God's track and the Fruits you produce are from Gal 5:22-23, not from verses 18-21?
- How is your journey of making amends going? What are the barriers you faced? How can you overcome them? Remember do not take negative feedback personally!
- What do you need to keep on God's path for recovery so you do not fall off of it and go back to your old harmful ways? Who will help you?
Mediate on this passage for the next week or more: Galatians chap 5
© 1990, 2002, 2008, Richard .J. Krejcir Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/