I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
The first word I recognized from this step is the word “continued.” It means that we are supposed to be introspectively evaluating ourselves all the time. I suppose it should start while the pain of the first Fifth Step is still fresh. I remember after mine, I felt like I had just undergone surgery with no anesthesia and was walking with the open wounds. I swore I would never want to go through that again, and I felt the same way after Step Eight, the inventory of harms done to others. The only way to keep from having long lists of horrible news is to keep horrible news from piling up, so “continued to take personal inventory” is what I did, starting the day of Step Five. Still, no matter how diligently I work to make sure defective behaviors don’t crop up, some still do. These “stumbling blocks” are the terrain of this Earth, and remind me that things are not perfect, because I am not home yet. The Bible prayer that helps me to accomplish my Step Ten is from Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV):
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Revelation 16, NIV:
13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
Here is another instance of John telling us what his vision means. The frogs that come from the mouths of Satan (Rev. 12:9, 20:2), the beast and the false prophet, are demonic spirits sent to deceive the nations and rally the kings to battle at Armageddon. The setting for this is an earth scorched by sun (v. 8), where the waters have all been turned to blood (vs. 3, 4). As the deceiving spirits go forth, the globe will be split by earthquake (v. 18) and pelted with hundred-pound hailstones (v. 21). Right in the middle of all this chaos we have an indication that the One who comes like a thief, Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3), comes then.
This is important for me because I do not claim to know when Christ will come, how long He will stay, and how much His church will have to endure before being raptured, but there will be some of it that we experience. As Jesus plainly told us in Matthew 24, the elect will be among those in the trials of the end-times, “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
Deceiving spirits, like the frogs of John’s vision, have been hopping around since the serpent crawled up to whisper in Eve’s ear. I have to be on guard against true-sounding falsehoods that would rob me of the faith that will help me endure. Scripture says that many will be deceived. Will you be among them? Will I?
God, preserve me from deception. Help me to know Your voice and recognize counterfeit when I hear it. Make Your Spirit so at home in me that I am repelled by anything else. Thank You for delivering me from disease, from suffering without cause, and from the eternal penalties of sin.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 164:
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
*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.