Summary: Part 6 deals with our request to have God remove our defects from us.
Twelve Steps To Recovery Part 6
To date in this series we have discussed the first five steps in the twelve step 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 step four, we took a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and in step five, our last step, we understood our addictions and began to confess them to ourselves, God and to another trusted individual. As we continue working our way through these twelve steps, I want to remind you once more that this is an individual process that each person must go through on their own. As we begin step six, we come to the point where we are ready to have God remove all of the defects from our character. This is a voluntary decision to submit to every change God wants to make in our lives as we humbly ask Him to remove our character defects. What is a character defect and what is its relationship to our addictions?
I. Character Defects
Your character is basically how people define you and your actions. It is the behavior that is typical of a person or group of people as in your reputation or moral strength. Based on this understanding, we get the term that someone is acting “out of character” which means they are acting different from what is known or expected of them. Every one of us is known in some way by our character and based on our character; our addictions are either being fed by or co-existing with it. When you consider the term “defect” it carries the meaning that something is not totally what it should be. A defect is an imperfection; a lack of something necessary for completeness. This involves perfection. If you go to some outlet stores, they may sell merchandise that have some “small” defect in them so they cannot be sold as “perfect” or for the full retail price. Some of the small defects may not affect how the object does it job but it does affect the appearance of the object and therefore its perceived value. If someone is paying the full asking price, they want the item to be in perfect condition. Next there are defects that make an item “un-saleable” or un-useable. These defects are so severe that the item will not work the way it is intended and is therefore not good for anything. These are the defects that more align with our addictions. Our defects are crippling us and although it is a slow process we are still being crippled. Our character defects negatively influence our ability to walk fully upright before God. Some examples of character defects includes: self pity; self justification, insensitivity, vulgar/immoral thinking; dishonesty; hate; enviousness; jealousy, lying and selfishness. There are more but these are given just to give you an idea of how widespread our defects are. Regardless of the number of character defects you have, if you are ready for God to remove them from your life, He is ready to do it, ready to give you a pardon; to restore you.
II. God’s Pardon
Have you ever taken the time to think about what it means to receive a pardon? I know your minds may immediately go to our prison system and some of the pardon you may have read about, but I want you to think about your pardon. That’s right everyone who has accepted Christ has received a pardon. God has pardoned us. To pardon someone means “to release them from further punishment; for forgive; for excuse from a fault.” Each of us has received such a pardon and this pardon is what puts us in the mindset to allow God to remove our defects. If we know up front that any defect that we bring before God has already been forgiven we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from laying everything at His feet. We have been told to repent and then stop thinking and acting the way that we do but it is not that easy. I believe most of us would gladly walk away from our defects if we could. People do not seem to understand that with some things we cannot just walk away.
God understand this and has made a way for us. Consider what God says in Isaiah 55:1-3, 7-9: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David…..Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”