“We were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.” – Life Recovery Step Six
If someone is stuck in addiction and wants to be free finally, what’s the one thing that God requires from them? Humility.
Oswald Chambers, the early twentieth-century preacher and theologian described humility as “the great characteristic of a saint.”
But many people who struggle with unhealthy habits have a hard time with humility. They believe they must do everything perfectly to recover from addiction and stay sober. But this type of perfectionistic thinking can be overwhelming—it makes individuals think they must do everything themselves and do it perfectly, or they will quit altogether. Instead of doing recovery perfectly all by oneself, Step Six requires humility because one must be “ready to have God remove these defects of character.”
There are two ways a person can become humble enough to be ready for God to remove their defects.
First, one becomes humble by surrendering to God. For an individual to be ready to have God “remove the defects of character” from their life, as Life Recovery Step Six says, they must be willing to humble themselves to God and give everything over to Him. James 4:10 (New Living Translation, NLT) says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” Through humility, one can submit to the Lord and surrender to Him. Then, God will do His part by removing their shortcomings and struggles to mold them into the person He designed them.
Second, one becomes humble by seeking accountability with safe people. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” A person struggling with addiction must be in healthy relationships with individuals who support their healing and growth. Some simple ways to do this are to attend a Life Recovery Group weekly, meet with a Christian counselor, and find at least one safe person to be a sponsor or accountability partner.
Living a life of humility doesn’t mean an individual won’t struggle with temptation from time to time. But if they do find themselves relapsing, they can humble themselves and turn back to God to get back on track.
Sobriety happens moment by moment, step by step, and one day at a time. Humility doesn’t automatically take away the urge to turn to an unhealthy habit or addiction, but it enables a person in recovery to submit to God no matter their circumstances. While being accountable to others doesn’t guarantee sobriety tomorrow, it provides enough strength so that the person struggling with an addiction can be sober today.
by Steve Arterburn