Sermons

Summary: The fifth step is a building block to the sixth step. It is not a separate event. The fifth step focuses on cleaning house but it is also about bringing our character defects to the surface so we can see the thousands of ways we have attempted to manipulate the world around us.

The fifth step is a building block to the sixth step. It is not a separate event. The fifth step focuses on cleaning house but it is also about bringing our character defects – selfishness, self centeredness, low self esteem and big egos – to the surface so we can see the thousands of ways we have attempted to manipulate the world around us.

Step 6: We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things we have admitted are objectionable? Can he now take them all – every one? If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing. – pg 76

Read the Scripture: Matt 19:16-30 Story of the rich young ruler

Ask the Question: Asking God to become willing? How hard is this really?

Every time I read the 6th step, I am struck by the words “entirely ready.” I struggle to think about moments when I have been entirely ready. I have been entirely ready to leave seminary. I was entirely ready to let go of the job I detested. I was entirely ready to let go of my old way of life.

In this reflection, I realized for me to be entirely ready to do anything, I had to come to a time of awareness and pain. I had awareness that studying about God was taking all my time and I was discontented about not living my faith more. I was frustrated with the time and issues associated with selling products which I perceived did not have any redeeming value. It felt I was selling my soul for the cost of an office product. I was frustrated of living a life that was a lie. The pain of pursuing money and power was relentless.

This is where I think we can identify with the story of the rich young ruler. Do you remember this story? The ruler comes sauntering up to Jesus and asks a question about getting into heaven. He casually asks Jesus, “What else must I do to make it into heaven?” The story is not really about getting into heaven. It has so many tangents. The tangent I wrestle with is: if the ruler came up fishing for a compliment or just hoping Jesus presented a challenge he could refute or quickly accomplish to assure himself of life after this one. I mean we all know people who are so smug about their life and that really do believe they have it all together. We also know people who live their whole lives trying to prove they are worthy. In either case, they are actually demonstrating their own self centeredness. Think about it. If I fish for a compliment, I am actually asking you to validate me. If I ask you a question I know the answer too, I am actually challenging you to tell me what I need to do to be worthy in your eyes. In truth, I am asking you to tell me how I can validate myself. In either case, the question and answer is actually about the person asking the question.

Jesus recognizes this and hits the heart of the matter. He asks, “Are you willing to shed your own selfish centeredness to really find what you ultimately in search of?” In effect, he is asking, Are you entirely ready, or willing, to do what it takes to really get to know me?”

The sixth step is asking the same question. It’s why the 12 and 12 actually calls the 6th step, “the step which separates the men from the boys.” It is a call to surrender our selfish desires, our self centeredness, our defects of character, our places of comfort, the areas of our life which can and do cause us pain for a better way. It is calling us to surrender our old way of living in the world – a self centered way – for a life based on God’s direction and selfless service to others.

If you would like to know more about the author: https://communitycenter.life/rev-robert-butler-info

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