Abstinent Today:

I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time.  †

I had a busy day today, with homework and getting things ready for tomorrow’s back-to-work day.  I even missed an opportunity to see my visiting brother and his children off from their brief visit to my parent’s home nearby.

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

mending fabricNow I see that the miracle of the (Step Nine) work is often of a different nature. Sometimes it is right in front of me, operating daily in my life.

The nature of amends is not of confrontation or even apology, although those two things help to bring broken pieces back together.  Mending takes more than reintroduction of two alienated parties, or of acknowledging whatever tore them apart.  It takes new stitching, but these stitches are sewn by living the spiritual principles of humility, service, love, patience, understanding and the like.  As the bobbin of unselfish action weaves in and out through our relationships, we find that some of them can become just like new.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Jude 1, NIV:

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Jude, likely the brother of Christ, wrote this very short letter to warn the early Christians of the divisive heretics and antichrists that had already begun to infiltrate their number.  Unfortunately, Church history has proved that such ungodly people have been active ever since.  Self-interest and worldly ambition has been a major cause of divisions in the Church, which was set about to be a unified body.  Jude says about such people, “11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.”  The common trait of all three of these characters is greed and a desire to do things their own way.  Cain wanted to offer vegetables from his garden instead of meat from the flocks, and when his offering was rejected, he killed his brother in a rage and was exiled (Genesis 4).   Greedy Balaam, a prophet of God, chased after a contract with God’s enemies to prophesy against God’s people for money, until his donkey spoke to chastise him.  In the end, he suffered the fate of the kings of Midian, Israel’s enemies, with whom he had taken company (Numbers 31).  Korah organized a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, and was swallowed up along with his families and everything they owned, when God opened up the ground beneath them (Numbers 16).  Every one of these has something in common with the disease of those in their active addiction: self-will is in charge.  Jude warns that Sodom and Gomorrah were examples of the fiery destruction that awaits the selfish such as these (verse 7).

Thanks be to God, there is an alternative, and Jude puts it nicely in verse 20, when he recommends that we keep in God’s love by building ourselves up in hoy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.  Scripture, especially in Proverbs and the Psalms, is full of admonition to stay on the path, to avoid straying.  Jesus even spoke, in the Parable of the Sower and Seed, about those who would receive the Truth at first, but then allow it to be choked out by the distractions of life, or from whom the Truth is snatched away by the deceiver (Mark 4, also Matthew 13, Luke 8).

The faithful need to remember two things: to guard against association with (and that includes personally doing the work of) the deceivers, and to be diligent about prayer and the exercise of holy faith.

Precious Lord, please keep me in Your grace, and never let me, by my natural selfishness, in any way hinder Your Church or harm Your people.  Keep my hands and lips from doing the work of the destroyer, but put me about the business of building up Your Church, of preparing her as a bride for her bridegroom.  Should I build walls, dear Lord, may it be as Nehemiah, strengthening our outer defense, and never dividing members of Your body from the unity for which You commissioned us and for which our Savior prayed, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:21, NKJV)

From “the Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 82:

The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept he home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.

 

Footnotes:

*Abstinence began for me on May 11th, 2010.

† For the sake of accountability, the details of my eating are posted in my online food log.

‡ From “Our Invitation to You” out of Overeater’s Anonymous:  “The OA recovery program is patterned after that of Alcoholics Anonymous. We use AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, changing only the words ‘alcohol’ and ‘alcoholic’ to ‘food’ and ‘compulsive overeater.’

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