Came To Believe…

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2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

There is an oral tradition in AA that is a play on the first three words of this step: “Came to believe.…” It turns it into a three-part unfolding.

First, we came. We showed up. Let us not downplay the significance of this first fact: we got ourselves in the door. Now this is more largely felt in Alcoholics Anonymous than it is in church, but the parallel is still there. 

Just going to an AA meeting is an admission of a problem. It takes great humility just to get in the door. Some people may start out: “I’m not an alcoholic, I just came to see what this was like.” If you first come with that attitude, you will probably never come back until you can admit that you indeed are an alcoholic.

Would that there was a similar built-in humility when anyone comes to church. When you come to church there should be an immediate realization that you are now among the saved people. Not the good people … the saved people — sinners saved by grace. Unfortunately a lot of this is lost on the fallacy that the church is made up of good people, or at least people trying to be good. Sadly, people in church are more likely to be less welcoming to sinners than they are to fine, upstanding folks in the community.

Phillip Yancey tells story about a friend of his who regularly attends both church and AA meetings. In other words, he worships both upstairs and downstairs in the basement every week. The first thing you notice is that there are usually more AA meetings than church services. That’s because alcoholics need AA more than sinners need church (or at least think they need it). In most cities, there is an AA meeting nearby every day.

Yancey’s friend explains the difference between church and AA meetings by what happens if he is late. When he comes late to church, he feels all eyes are on him. Whether he’s actually being judged by everyone there for his lack of ability to get himself to church on time, he certainly feels that way, and no one does anything to make him feel any differently. But when he’s late to an AA meeting he gets an entirely different reaction. The meeting stops, and everyone gets up and hugs him because they are so glad his need for them won out over his need for alcohol. He came, and that’s more than half the battle.

Secondly, we came to. Like the story of the prodigal son, we came to our senses. We admitted we were powerless against sin and powerless to change ourselves, so we came into the fellowship of others who believe they need help from a higher power which we know to be God. We came to and got ourselves to where we know they welcome sinners. That’s why we call our gospel the Gospel of Welcome. Everyone is welcome.

And finally, we came to believe. The ability to believe may not come right away, but it will come. The environment of acceptance, love and forgiveness will win out over our inability to believe. It’s hard to shake the Gospel of Welcome.

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3 Responses to Came To Believe…

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    It’s hard to shake the Gospel of Welcome. Amen & thank God 4 that fact too 🙂

  2. For some reason this reminds me of the old Billy Sunday quote:
    “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”

  3. Jesus Aguilar says:

    Yes I am in a christian forum, where people have the tendency to lean towards the gospel and this Ok with me, for I am both a practicing participant of the program of alcoholics anonymous and act as a person that believes in the Word of God written in the Scriptures. After 27 years of attending meetings, it is not difficult to discern the people that are ready to enter the program of alcoholics anonymous and the people that come in order by the court. Both of them have the same opportunity, but actually is the degree of desperation that drives them to take the steps.

    For 54 years of my life attended church and all I got a ticket to hell.

    For 27 years of my life I am attending AA meetings and all I got is a way out of hell

    Yes the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous brought me out of hell and show me the way to create a relationship with Jesus my Lord and Savior.

    We have many people that come in the rooms of AA and are verse in the Scriptures and declare themselves saved, but cannot stop drinking.

    We also have people like me wanting to learn more of the Word of God and mature, but we do it outside a church environment, but we do not drink nor drug.

    All of us we were despair and we knew if we kept on going the way we were going, we will die, so we look for help in the last door open for us, the door was AA. Thank God for AA. How could I resist to come to believe in a Power Greater than myself? I was despair no question about, tire of being sick and tire. If you are tire and cannot find a way out God has provided us with AA. All I can say give it a try.

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