Summary: This message concludes this series and focuses on strengthening our relationship with God and reaching out to others.
Twelve Steps To Recovery Parts 11-12
To date in this series we have discussed the first seven steps in the twelve steps to recovery process. We began by admitting that we were powerless over our dependencies and that there was a God greater than ourselves who could restore us to sanity. After reaching that point, in step three we made the decision to turn our lives over to the care of God, a conscious choice that was made freely. In steps four and five we took a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and came to the point of understanding our addictions and confessing them to ourselves, God and to another trusted individual. In step six, after recognizing our addictions for what they were, we came to the point where we were ready to have God remove them and in step seven we humbly asked God to do just that – remove all of our shortcomings. Step seven was the bridge from our focus on our inner self to our outward actions as we enter into step eight. Step eight involved our making a list of those persons that we have harmed through our addictions and work through our willingness to make amends to them when possible. In step nine we were to take action on the list we made in step eight, making direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. In step ten we reached the point of maintenance, meaning that we are at a point where we continue to monitor ourselves and take personal inventories and when we are wrong promptly admit it.
In steps eleven and twelve we reach the conclusion of the twelve step process. In this message we will cover both of these steps. In step eleven we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God; praying for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out. In step twelve, having experienced a spiritual awakening as the result of the other steps, we now carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.
I. Seeking God
Step eleven states that “We seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” If you have made it this far in the process and you have been sincere as you went through each step, by now you are probably experiencing a closer relationship with God than you had before you started the steps. Experiencing this growth in our closeness with God will continue if we continue to seek Him. If we really want to complete and then maintain the change that we are witnessing, we must seek God and discover what His will is for us as we move forward in the newness of Life. Remember, when you give up an addiction, there will be a void. Only God can fill that void and give you a new sense of purpose. Consider what David said in Psalm 27:1, 4-6: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid?....The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most, is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple. For He will conceal me there when trouble come; He will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At His sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.”
It is natural to turn to God when trouble arises and we call out to Him for the help only He can give. But as our relationship with Him grows, we will begin to turn to God out of a desire to be near Him. As we discover how wonderful He is and how much He loves us, we draw near to Him because of the joy we experience in His presence. This is what David was referring to in these verses. David found great joy by improving his conscious contact with God. God is always there, but we are not always aware of His presence. Our relationship with God usually begins with His meeting our desperate needs, but when we begin to focus on getting to know God as an end in itself, we will discover that He will give us what we have always desired, the joy of being close to our loving creator. When we enter into God’s presence, there is joy. David said in Psalm 65:4 “What joy for those You choose to bring near, those who live in Your holy courts. What festivities await us inside Your holy temple.”