When the light of God’s truth shines on one’s weakness and failure, one sees the futility of self-righteousness and realizes that the only sensible response is to stop pretending things aren’t so bad. They are! Spiritual renewal and transformation require that one repents, which means to acknowledge and turn from their sins. But one cannot truly repent until one sees themselves as flawed, unholy, and needing redemption and complete reformation.
To recover from addiction or an unhealthy habit, one must turn their will and life over to God. This means they must also turn their shortcomings, losses, failures, fears, and needs over to Him. Life Recovery Step Three says, “We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.”
Truth is, however, rarely does someone surrender their will and life over to God when their life is problem free. Seldom do they appreciate His love when surrounded by friends and family. Rarely do they understand His grace and forgiveness when they’re not suffering the consequences of their sin. But a person whose life has overpowered by addiction and realizes that the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change is ready to turn to God. What initially working for them in the beginning ended up nearly destroying them in the end.
Many people who get started in the renewal process get stuck because they are unwilling to assess themselves; for people who believe in nothing beyond themselves, the idea of conducting a searching moral inventory is frightening. However, it is what must happen if one wants to recover completely.
Taking a moral inventory begins in Life Recovery Step Four, which says, “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
A moral inventory, though, should not stop with only taking one inventory—recover is a daily, ongoing process. Therefore, a moral inventory should be done as often as necessary. After all, Life Recovery Step Ten says, “We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
Seeing the truth and accepting reality every day will cause discomfort, not nervousness or a surge of ambition. But attending a Life Recovery Group will make it easier. But spiritual renewal results when one’s pain leads them to the Cross and ultimately to the crucifixion of self, as the apostle Paul described when writing to the church in Galatia: “I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19-20, NIV).
Daily death to self begins a life filled with the power of the living Christ.
by Steve Arterburn
Adapted from Seven Keys to Spiritual Renewal by Steve Arterburn.