Many years ago, I became part of an organization called Al-Anon. The group is for families of alcoholics. The twelve step program offered by this organization is based on Christian principles. The program aims at helping people start to believe in God again and to have hope in their seemingly hopeless family situations. Through weekly (or more) meetings with others in like situations and accountability with a sponsor, many find help. Many Christian leaders deny the effectiveness of twelve step programs, but it is only their pride that says that.
I’m not going to go into a big long defense of 12 step programs, but I will say this: The Scriptures say that only the Father can draw people to the Son. “No one comes to the Father except through Me, Jesus said. And no one comes to Me except the Father draws him.” The principles of Al-Anon, along with the fellowship and mentoring provided for me there by a Christian woman, brought me to the Son!
What these Christian leaders fail to see is that God is using 12 Step programs to draw people to His Son! God can use anything, or, anyone (even a donkey) whenever He wants! There are things that the church misses as far as relationships and mentoring, that 12 step programs have provided.
At this point in time, I was just learning how to have a relationship with God. I journaled everything. One spiritual thing I learned was that if the same thing came by me twice, or happened to me twice, that was usually God trying to get my attention. The key to relationship with God is surrender. God is ALWAYS right. I found that I was most always wrong back in those days. My thinking was messed up. I wasn’t thinking at all along heavenly ways. In the group,the pain from the way I had been living drove me to get honest with myself and others. I learned to make a personal inventory, and make amends to those I had harmed. After some measure of freedom had been obtained, I learned to daily continue aiming to be the best, but making amends immediately if I needed to. It became possible to have some measure of peace and not be plagued by guilt. God meets you where you are.
But there was a deeper surrender coming. I wanted to be free of a sin that had dominated my life for many years. I needed the power of the cross of Jesus Christ to get there, and even then, it was a battle. But I won. Finally.
All praise goes to Jesus Christ. He paid the price on the cross so that I could have His power living in me that would set me free from all sin. In my mind, the greatest gift from God is our freedom from sin that is provided for by the death of Jesus. He overcame all sin and works of darkness FOR US. He rendered the devil’s lies impotent FOR US. All of it FOR US. If you haven’t experienced release from the burden of your sins (and you do have them, believe me!), you simply must come to Him and acknowledge your need. You have not LIVED until you have experienced freedom from sin!!! Only then can you begin to TRULY LIVE!
Oh, how He loves us!
Pray with me: Dear Jesus, I am not living the way I would like to. I need help. I want to have a clear conscience. I want to experience this freedom from sin that You paid for me to have. I surrender my life to You. From this day forward, I pledge to read Your Word so that I can learn who You are and how much You love me and what You have done for me. I believe that only You can restore my life. Thank You for all You have done. Fill me with Your Spirit every day. I want everything You have for me.