Wednesday, March 23, 2011

12 Steps Christ's Way...

I've been thinking about the 12-Step program. How much my life has changed since I have learned the principle of letting God take over in my life. It's not just a matter of believing, it is really knowing HOW to give Him my will, and letting Him keep it.

I attend the group sponsored by my church, for co-dependent partners of a sex addict. This group is specific, but others sponsored by my church are more general, towards any addiction or co-dependency. Even though I am not married, this groups still applies best to me. I like this one better than the public ones, like COSA (Co-Dependents of Sex Addicts), because it does not promote a "higher power" as anything we choose. We are specific and determined it is Jesus Christ and His great Atonement.

I've thought about how that makes a difference. To believe in just a "higher power", to use that mind set in recovery, puts a limitation on recovery. Because man by himself can only go so far, in recovery, but never be recovered. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that does the healing, not a belief in "something". Even though there are people in these groups that believe in Jesus Christ and put him in the role, and are trying to draw on the Atonement, the doctrine of the group puts the "higher power" and Jesus Christ on equal ground. This puts limits on the Atonement, because they do not teach that if you choose Jesus Christ you can be completely healed, but if you choose something else you won't be. They just say all cannot be cleansed from you, the addiction will always be there.

Those groups teach it this way, either an addict or a recovering addict. Never a recovered addict. That is the limitation, the 10% lie embedded with the 90% truth. I do believe it is a lie too, one that keeps the addict from believing they are good enough. They are taught they will always have this fight inside themselves, always struggling. They teach it does get better, but do not acknowledge the pull can be completely, totally, absolutely purged from them. With this limitation, the temptation can become equal to how the temptation taunts a person without the addiction, but will not go away.

With the Lord's help, through His Atonement, weaknesses can and are turned into strengths. This means there is no more temptation, it is completely gone. The person is stronger and has no desire whatsoever to even let the temptation exist. Satan has no power whatsoever unless we give it to him, which means, no power to tempt unless permission is given to him. The Atonement gives us the ability to take back the power we once gave to Satan, and give it back to Christ.

A great example is the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's, the people of Ammon. (see Book of Mormon, Alma chapter 17 to 26 inclusive.) The great example of those people, who were a blood-thirsty, warring people. Who believed the traditions of their fathers, who believed the lies taught to them. They were Lamanites (ancestors to the American Indian) before, but changed their nationality to show their change of heart. They called themselves Anti-Nephi-Lehi or the people of Ammon after their conversion to God, after their evil ways were purged out of them. "6-And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them - yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. 7-For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren" Alma 23:6-7.

I have experienced the damage that can be done by the lie. How can someone believe they are Celestial material, a Child of God, if they believe there will always be filth inside themselves? Those two beliefs cannot co-exist. You are either a Child of God, with the inherited ability to be pure and clean, whole and complete, with His help... or you believe you are less, damaged, flawed, and doomed to never become that which the scriptures promise. That which Jesus Christ promises. The second belief calls God a liar. It says He makes the promise to others, but not to you.

I once believed the lies. I believed I was flawed, just a throw away, a mistake. In my stupidity I once told my Heavenly Father he ought to just throw me away, I wasn't worth it... He was listening... that is for sure. In a fraction of a moment, He showed me what it would feel like to be thrown away, to completely loose His presence. In that fraction of a moment, I felt my breath being sucked out of me, the darkness was so thick it was crushing. In that fraction of a moment I learned that I was NOT throw away material. That I didn't want to be. In a gasp I said I was sorry, I was wrong, I didn't mean it anymore, and in return I was surrounded with His light, His love, I was lifted instead of crushed. I learned I really did matter to my Heavenly Father. Being in that light is the promise of the Atonement. It absolutely can bring wholeness and healing. Complete, without flaw, without limitations.

I used to hate myself. My counselor called it "self-loathing". I now love myself. I have value. And my value is more than any person or "higher power" can give me. It is what Jesus Christ has given me. I am a Child of God. The knowledge of this truth makes me love my Savior and Heavenly Father even more.

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