in #steemchurch5 years ago

Families often celebrate special days and holidays with traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Attempting to keep prior traditions consistent for both families, a young couple traveled to the home of each of their parents for the holidays.



However, the situation was particularly complicated at Christmas. Each set of parents went to church on Christmas Eve and opened presents on Christmas morning. The young couple couldn’t be at two different places at the same time. Hurt feelings always seemed to be the result of their good intentions to honor their families’ traditions.

In order to help this young couple, one of the families expressed a willingness to change some of their time-honored customs. After some experimentation, they discovered that some of their traditions were important enough to keep the same, while others could be changed or dropped altogether. They even added some new activities to their holiday celebrations.

By allowing God into every area of our lives, we demonstrate our willingness to change, allowing him free rein to remove our character defects. This readiness requires our ultimate surrender and involves some pain and resistance. Some of our old habits can stay the same, other coping mechanisms can be changed and still other behaviors must be dropped completely.

Such nonproductive, habitual behaviors can be replaced with new and better activities. For example, instead of devoting time to our old hang-ups, compulsions and obsessions, we can attend recovery meetings and church activities and volunteer for service.



This is what Principle Five is all about: “Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask him to remove my character defects.” When you’re ready to start working the fifth principle, congratulations are definitely in order. You’ve already made some major progress on your road to recovery.

You admitted that you had a problem that you were powerless to change; you came to believe that God could and would help you; you sought him and turned your life and will over to his care and direction; and you wrote a spiritual inventory and shared it both with God and with another person. You’ve been busy. That’s a lot of work—hard work.

Maybe you’re thinking it’s about time to take a breather and relax for a while. Think again. In some secular recovery material, Step Six (which relates to Principle Five) has been referred to as the step “that separates the men from the boys.” One of the reasons Step Six is so powerful is its assertion that “we were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character” (emphasis added).

This process takes time, but God is true to his word, and he has promised, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this” (Psalm 37:5).



Most, if not all, of us would be more than willing to leave behind certain character defects. The sooner the better. But let’s face it: Some defects are hard to give up. An alcoholic may hit bottom and be ready to stop drinking. But is she ready to stop lying? To stop being greedy? To let go of resentments? These defects of character have been with us for a long time.

Like weeds in a garden, they’ve developed roots. We’ve formed our defects of character, our hang-ups and habits over periods of ten, twenty, thirty or more years. In this principle you and God—together—are going after these defects. All of them.

We need to remember that sin is the symptom of a character defect. That sin is like a weed in a garden: It will keep reappearing unless it’s pulled out by the roots—the actual character defect that caused the particular sin or allowed it to happen. A sex addict’s major sin may have been cheating on his wife. That was the act.

The defect of character was his lack of a positive self-image. When he worked Principle Five, he went after the defect that caused him to sin by having affairs.

God is amazingly patient. Recall that, as explained in Principle Three, he didn’t impose his will on us but waited for us to invite him in. Now, in Principle Five, we need to be “entirely ready”; we need to be willing to let God into every area of our life. He won’t come in and clean up an area unless we invite him in.

It has been said that “willingness is the key that goes into the lock and opens the door that allows God to begin to remove your character defects.” Psalm 143:10 invites, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”


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