2002-12-24 - Twelve Steps for Christian Living
Steps 1-11 can be found at http://www.cfdevotionals.org/links/audave02.htm
Step Twelve- Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs.
1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NLT) How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord, for considering me trustworthy and appointing me to serve him, even though I used to scoff at the name of Christ. I hunted down his people, harming them in every way I could. But God had mercy on me, because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord was! He filled me completely with faith and the love of Christ Jesus.
This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners?and I was the worst of them all. But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT) Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Step Twelve is a three-part step. First, we have a Spiritual Awakening. I like to think of this as being ambushed by the Holy Spirit. We were once asleep in our sins, and now through the power of God, we have been awakened. In the Timothy passage above, Paul is telling Timothy how the love of God overcame him and awakened him to the love of Christ. This awakening made him a new person.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives, we become alive. While the world around us does not change, our reaction to the world does change. There are still frustrating events, people and the like. We usually have the same quirks and fears. But we handle all matters differently. We are more at peace with ourselves, others and God. We go from feeling helpless, fearful and powerless - to a sense of great peace. Yes, at times, we will still have our fears and feelings of hopelessness, but now we have the Holy Spirit in us, guiding us along the path of life. These steps are a part of keeping us on track on that path, to stay focused on God. We have changed directions, from being self-centered to being Christ-centered.
The second part of Step Twelve is to carry this message to others, which is exactly what Jesus is saying in the Great Commission. The message is our Spiritual Awakening. The operative word here is ?Go!? Out of our gratitude to Christ for his love for and mercy to us, we should want to help others. We should want to give them the good news. We are not to ignore others that are struggling in life as we are. We are to share with them the good news of our Spiritual Awakening and the effects it is having on our lives. I hope my life attracts people to me. I would rather be one to attract others, than to promote my awakening. The greatest question someone can ask me is ?what is it about you that is different? I want what you have.?
To carry the message to others is not something we do to say we are better than others, or that we have all the answers to life and are going to show them how to live. In fact, we gain from being around others that are going through what we have been through in life. Going out benefits us as much as those to whom we take the message.
Third, we are to practice the principles that we have learned in these twelve steps, in all our affairs. We will not stay ?well? if we do not stay on this wellness program. We cannot appropriate the grace of God to just one area of our life and hope the other areas stay intact. The life lessons that we are learning and practicing should permeate all areas of our lives, our homes, work and play. A natural habit of living rightly should flow from us.
So, that?s it - Twelve Steps for Christian Living. Simple, no! Practical, yes! Can you do it? Of course you can. Is it easy? No way. Nowhere in the Bible do I find a passage, or even one verse, saying ?okay, now that you are a Christian, life is going to be a breeze.? Life is hard. Life seems impossible to those without hope. Our hope is Christ. Our hope is the life after this life. Our hope is doing life right here on Earth. Our hope is in the knowledge of, and faith in, Christ.
My hope and prayer is that this survey of the Twelve Steps has been a blessing for you. Writing about and studying these steps has blessed me beyond what I thought was possible.
Father, continue helping us to gain knowledge of your will for our lives. Help us to apply these Biblical principles to our lives, so we may bring honor to You. In Christ?s name we pray. Amen.