Living in the light

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

th-4

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

    and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23-24)

 

Let us test and examine our ways.

    Let us turn back to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:40)

 

You should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:28)

Seeing the scriptures printed above, is there any question as to whether this moral inventory step is something that is important to God? Like all the steps, however they are worded, this one is biblically sound. Self-examination is mentioned at least by David and Jeremiah in the Old Testament, and Paul in the New.  And it is important to include a warning here. As Jens Christy, Recovery Pastor at Capo Beach Church and guest on our BlogTalkRadio show last night taught us, we probably know less about ourselves than anybody. Why is that? Because we have a tendency to bury our sins, addictions and poor choices deeply underneath shovels full of denial, blame, rationalizations and justifications. We see other’s sins before we see our own. That’s why Jesus told us not to judge, because we will most likely be judging what we are guilty of.

This is why it’s going to be limited how far you can go into this step alone. Unless you are somehow ruthless with yourself, and few of us are, we are going to need some help on this one. Actually the Twelve Steps are designed to be carried out in the context of a group and guided by a sponsor who has been through this many times over. This makes it hard to do this on line. I would suggest you employ a friend to help you with this step — someone who won’t let you hide.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

This verse tells us that living in the light is living revealed. It is living in such a way that our lives are open to each other, and that would include our sins and our shortcomings laid bare so they can be cleansed and washed away. Notice that the fellowship mentioned here is in the context of this open, revealed living, which is what makes me always think of this verse in light of the AA model. John would be a big fan of the Twelve Steps.

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6 Responses to Living in the light

  1. John A Fagliano says:

    I’m starting to see that perhaps the worst sins we have are the denials, blame, rationalizations and justifications because they’re the sins that prevent us from seeing ourselves honestly, (and as others probably see us) and therefore prevent an honest inventory of ourselves. Sometimes the cover-up is worse than the actual sin and gets us into more trouble. For example getting into a heated argument with someone because you’re defending your actions may be worse than the actions being defended.
    When we consider the cross, we should realize there is no need for pride and a defensive attitude. We are all sinners saved by grace and made clean. No defence needed. And if we are being unjustly accused, we can remain calm because God sees the truth and He is the Audience that matters. He will defend us.

  2. Jesus Aguilar says:

    Well good afternoon
    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    We made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to the care of God!
    Why do we need to make an inventory of ourselves? God knows our hearts. Doesn’t he? Ah! our sponsor says: – we need to see it ourselves, and we need to share this with him and then we present it to God. But first things first. We look how to make an inventory, to discover the character defects that have been driving our lives into the ground. We follow exact direction and we make a list of all our handicaps, the cause, the effect, and our part. Little by little we discover that it was not them, it was ourselves, how we behaved and how we lie to others, steal from others and on and on,until we are done, then we share with our sponsors and that will be in step 5 but for now to complete this step we ask for forgiveness and we forgive ourselves.

  3. Sandie says:

    At different stages of my life, I’ve had different people hold me accountable…some not even believers, but greatly used by God for correction and direction I needed at the time. I am fortunate that as we’ve grown together in our marriage and our relationship with Jesus (40 years plus for both), Bobby and I are also growing in holding each other accountable. For me personally, the Holy Spirit is always there; even making me squirm BEFORE I contemplate doing/saying/thinking something our of line. And if I go ahead anyway…well it is not a pleasant experience feeling God’s hand on me in discipline!

  4. Jesus Aguilar says:

    Isolating very, very common among alcoholics. Often felt alone while playing soccer and there was no sit empty, or an a class-room with 30 or 40 other students and I was alone. We put this very simple – “The wolf searches for the ship that is the weakest and the one that is alone” We have a fellowship and we insist in making phone calls. We insist from the very beginning of the steps. Pray, even if you do not believe in God. Pray, a thank you in the morning and a thank you at night but pray, everybody prays, this makes you feel part of the group, you never alone, never ever if even if you want to be left alone we will hunt you, because we know that the enemy wants you alone.

    I feel for you John and I am praying that the Love of God will protect you and the Holy Spirit will illuminate your walk. You are a beautiful child of God as I am as everyone weather they want or not we are.

    This poem is beautiful and I am going to memorize it for it tells how the mind wants us alone but the Spirit is wining and that is why we are here, to show others that is a way out of the room and into the sun light of the spirit, where people cry and sing together, we break bread together, we worship together, we look after the sick and the poor. Oh God hep us out to never stop

  5. Sally says:

    John, I can relate to this post too well. Growing up with alcohol destroying family members lives, I vowed to not allow it to happen to me, so I isolated myself. I set myself apart to prevent my personal story from being the same as so many. I still have loved ones who are alcoholics, although they would not admit it. It is heart breaking.

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