Tag Archive: Bible


Photo credit: Woman's Day

Photo credit: Woman’s Day

Confession time! The transformation of recovery isn’t complete when Self keeps taking charge.

For the last couple weeks, I have moved, for the most part, into a guest bedroom in my house, partially to study without disturbing my precious bride, but mostly to hide from disappointment. I have repeatedly told the one who loves me that I was giving her “space to have her own way.” The truth is I have grown increasingly impatient, even intolerant, with her decisions lately. I have judged her actions as being based on her whim and emotion, when they are more than likely only lacking what I would deem an appropriate level of consideration of my own will, wish, and way. Either way, I am using isolation as a shield for disappointment, whether the expectations that feed it are realistic and fair or not.

Last night, while I fell asleep alongside her for a change, my mind and mouth were engaged even in the twilight of wakefulness. In the mental fog where the lies that support justifications begin to buckle under the weight of truth, I had some profound thoughts that escaped by way of mumbled, almost hypnotic, verbal expression. I confessed to my precious bride that, more than anything else, I am afraid of her. Not that I am afraid of her intentions or convictions, but that her intellect is not behind the wheel. After acknowledging my fear that her emotional navigation would run us, or more accurately – me, amok, I was forced to acknowledge that isolating myself from her to prevent injury puts my own emotions at the helm of my life, and so, constitutes me becoming the monster of which I was afraid.

The last thought I remember uttering before drifting off was that she is worth whatever pain I may experience, whatever it takes. As I recall what Christ endured for His Church (Ephesians 5:25), I am reminded that I have “not yet suffered to the point of shedding (my) blood” (Hebrews 12:4). I have not done everything I can. I have avoided pain by disengaging. I have behaved according to my own self-interest rather than sacrificing myself “as an act of worship” (Romans 12:1) giving preference to those around me. “As a dog returns to his vomit” (Proverbs 26:11) I have put Self on the throne of God yet again!

“Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…” (AA, 62).

Holy Father, rescue me from the bondage of self!* I have wandered back into my old cage, and it is dark and lonely in here. Deliver me so I can be relevant to those You have placed in my path, and that You, not me, may be glorified. Make Your light shine on me and reflect onto others, that they may be attracted to You and discover for themselves that You are able and willing to deliver us from our prisons, no matter how comfortable we have made them. Empower me to do Your will only always. Through Christ our Lord, amen!

 

* (a variation of AA’s Step Three Prayer, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63)

Going Against the Current

 Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭14‬:‭9‬ NLT)

Friends of Earth make sport of children of Heaven who make introspection a habit and holiness a goal. “Nobody likes a saint,” mockers say. Just yesterday I was ridiculed by one of my childhood mentors who tried to tell me that “self-flagellation,” which was his word to describe my practice of living Twelve-Step life surrendered to God, was unnecessary and unproductive. I have to remember that the broken world will resist my amends-making, because disorder does not well tolerate order. It goes against the current.

Holy Father, today, accept this broken offering and transfigure it into a useful beacon to You. Give me grace to continue on the upstream path You have set before me. Never let me forget what waits ahead: more perfect unity with You.

Quieting the Mob

  “But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed.” (‭Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭23‬ NLT)

The voices we permit to prevail direct our thoughts, our rationale, and finally our actions. Pilate succumbed to a crowd manipulated by fear and greed and so sent our Lord to the cross. We are perpetrators of Pilate’s corruption when we, filled with worry or regret, demand our addictions be set free while we give up the King of our Sunday to satisfy a Thursday night whim.

Holy Father, today, I quiet the voices of my worry and shame, and I turn to You, seeking Your still, soft voice. Let Your quiet whisper call my every fiber to attention and make my actions Your own design. You who gave me ears to hear, let me know Your voice, and call me like a favored lamb into Your strong and protective embrace.

  There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭40‬ NLT)

What a great prayer, to rely on the One who can hold us and rescue us even in mid fall! It is not so arrogant as the toddler who insists he can do a grown up task “all by myself.” On my own, I can neither breathe nor stand, let alone resist the chemical and biological signals and triggers of a body so long abused by indulgence and the manipulation of a greedy marketplace. Many have asked me, “What should I pray?” Toddler pilgrim, here is a good place to start; seasoned traveler, here too is a good place to return. Pray that you will not give in to temptation.

Holy Father, today, lead me not into temptation; but if Your will is that I should walk through the valley, be my rod and staff to comfort me; lead me through by Your grace to greener pastures and make me lie beside still waters. The turbulence of this world we will shortly endure. Grant me grace to know I’m never outside Your care. Keep me from falling into self-service while I seek to follow You.

Build From Bottom Up

  “But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭26‬ NLT)
The service structure of a Twelve-Step Fellowship is modeled after this Kingdom rule. Service is bottom-up, not condescending. The invisible honor that results is contrary to Earth’s understanding, and looks upside-down, but it isn’t. The things of Heaven are unseen (Colossians 1:16), and so it is with spiritual living while on Earth. We are blessed for the purpose of service, and I am only content when I am giving myself in worship of my Creator by serving His other creations.

“A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Those who follow the right path fear the LORD; those who take the wrong path despise him.” (‭Proverbs‬ ‭14‬:‭1-2‬ NLT)
I believe either of these verses could stand alone, but together they pose a parallel that amplifies the meaning of the second one by the word picture of the first. Failure for me to follow Lord Jesus Christ is the same folly as if I were to rip apart my own house in a violent fit. The use of a woman in the first picture demonstrates the social expectation of stewardship. It isn’t just any resident of the house going all Tazmanian Devil on it, but the housekeeper herself! I am my own life’s housekeeper, and so the choice to build or destroy, to follow or despise, is mine.

Holy Father, today, I choose to follow Your lead to love sacrificially, to serve others and, by extension, You. You are my motivation to breathe, move, fuel, plan, and act. Save me from selfish reaction today, and guide me under Your grace to peace. Cause my living to reflect Your loving care, and brighten my light so others will know You. In Christ Jesus’ name, amen!