Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Purpose for Our Lives

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry the message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

But Jesus said, "No, go home to your friends, and tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”
Mark 5:19, NLT

“If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony."
- Oswald Chambers

A New Purpose for Our Lives

Pain and fear are often two of our greatest motivators. Pain grabs our attention and fear either paralyzes us or it shakes us into doing things that are usually destructive. This is how our impulsive attempts to avoid pain and fear that have deepened our addictions. But, thankfully, things have begun to change. Hope and humility give us the willingness to go through pain instead of escaping it, and the ability to address fear instead of running from it.

We become the kind of people who can face fear and endure pain when we see that a more intimate walk with God lies ahead for us. This intimacy with God that motivates us to keep moving forward and leave our addictions behind. God teaches us to not fear pain like we used to. He teaches us to handle fear in healthy ways. We learn to benefit from our pain and fear as we accept them as opportunities to exercise our faith in God. The strength of our faith is not the issue at hand, because walking with God is not a matter of how big or how small our faith is. If we have faith in God, in whatever amount, we have enough. Our faith, after all, is in Him, not in ourselves. This faithful thinking moves us to the place where our addictions just won’t make sense to us anymore. Our addictions never really helped us, you know; they only distracted us. We don’t want that old life anymore. So, why would ever want to go back to them again? We want God’s best now, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to have His best, even when it is painful and even when we feel afraid.

In the past, most of us have thought of ourselves as physical beings who were trying to have spiritual experiences, but now we think of ourselves as spiritual beings who are having physical experiences in ways that are uniquely designed for us, individually, by God. We will enjoy some of these experiences and not others. We will laugh sometimes and we will cry sometimes. No matter what the circumstances are, and no matter what emotions and feelings we have, things for us have become wonderfully simple. We are people who have suffered terrible addictions, but now we are people who enjoy God’s best today and everyday. We don’t judge our lives by our circumstances; we judge them by the freedom of our heart. For you see, through God’s grace coupled with our surrender, we become the most blessed of all people. We know this because God only judges us by the standard of His love and righteousness that’s been displayed through Christ. We, on the other hand, judge ourselves more harshly. We judge ourselves by our willingness or our unwillingness to respond to His love through our obedience.

Recognizing how blessed we are gives us gratitude for our addictions. A grateful heart helps us to look back and see our addictions as a kind of training ground. They have prepared us to become the kind of men and women who can share God’s grace with others in very dynamic ways. More than most, we embody the progressive prodigal experience of hopelessness, selfishness, disaster, desperation, whimpering cries for help, grace given, grace received and life resurrected. By God’s design, there is no better plan for us than what we have experienced. Our purpose in life going forward is to seek, discover and experience God as Jesus Christ knows God, and as we receive the benefits of knowing God, we will encourage others to seek, discover and experience God for themselves.

We are all prodigals in one way or another. And, understanding this is at the core of our transformation.

Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer and The Men and Women of Operation Integrity
Chapter Twelve Segment Two
Copyright David Zailer, 2010
Operation Integrity
24040 Camino del Avion #A115
Monarch Beach CA 92629

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