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Summary: Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.., is how it reads but what it means is: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

I love the smells and sounds of spring: spring rain, cut grass and people rooting for or playing one of the many spring summer sports. However, I also remember the pain of one fateful night. You see, I loved to play softball. It was always a blast but I’m competitive. On this night, I tried to stretch a single into a double and when I slid into second base. I broke my ankle. It was painful but not as painful as the rehab. I hated it. The exercise and the time it took. I complained on occasion about the length of recovery and the fact that I felt some discomfort at times. After a while, the therapist actually told me, “If you start doing the exercises as prescribed, you won’t feel the pain anymore.” So I thought I’d give it a try. It worked and the pain totally disappeared. I think fully getting this step requires the same kind of submission. I can seek the doctor’s advice and ignore the treatment OR I can turn my will and life over to Jesus and do what has been laid before me. Once I’ve really committed to this, I begin to have a new life unlike any I’ve ever known before.

The step begins...

• Made a decision. The action of this step is to make a decision. Actually turning our lives over to God is a long process and the rest of the Steps provide some helpful tools for doing this. But that is not what Step Three is about. Step Three is decision time. You may not yet have a clue about how to implement the decision. But if you know that you can't do what needs to be done, and you have come to believe that God could do what needs to be done, then Step Three is the decision to let God give it a try.

"I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him." Deuteronomy 30:19

• To turn. The word 'surrender' often comes up in connection with Step Three. This can be a helpful way to describe what this Step is like. It is a decision to give up on our own will and to surrender our will to a higher Power. The danger of using the word 'surrender' is that we usually use this word in a military context - we surrender to an enemy. But that's not what happens in Step Three - we surrender to a loving and grace-full God whose power is available to help us, not hurt us. There are lots of other ways in which the Bible pictures our need to 'turn.' Repentance is a turning away from sin towards God. Jesus captured the heart of Step Three when he said "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." [Matthew 10:39] Some of the biblical pictures of 'turning' might sound like bad news (surrendering, submitting, losing) but the Bible consistently pictures it as a relief. When we have exhausted ourselves trying to carry our own burdens, God invites us to turn the burdens over to Him.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Matthew 11:28

and

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord". Acts 3:19

• our will and our lives By the time most of us get to Step Three it is very clear that recovery will involve a major restructuring of our lives. We have been turning our lives over to alcohol, or to drugs, or to food, or to work or to whatever - we have made decision after decision to turn our lives over to things that did not satisfy. In Step Three we make a decision to turn our broken wills and our broken lives over to God in the hope that God will be able to do a better job of managing our lives than we have. The other key word is “our.”

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." Psalm 143:10

• over to the care of God

o We are saying that God cares for each one us. That God would never do anything to harm one whom he loves. The scripture says: Would a father hand his child a scorpion when he asks for a fish? Your heavenly father loves you. But don’t confuse love with getting everything you want or not having to pay the consequences of your actions. Love means giving without strings however it doesn’t mean you get everything you want.

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