Are you sure you want to get rid of that?

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

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I love the way these steps get you ready for something before you actually do anything about it. In Step 2 we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity before we trusted that power with our lives (Step 3). Here we are asking if we are ready to have God get rid of all the bad stuff in our lives before He actually does it. Well of course you want to get rid of the bad stuff, but not so fast. We’ve made adjustments to all this bad stuff. We have justifications and rationalizations for them all. These are our coping mechanisms. We depend on these things. Let’s at least get ready to lose them. Get ready to lose that whoopee blanket before He rips it out of our hands. In the movie, Mr. Mom, Jack gives his kid a moment with his blanket before he has to hand it over. That’s what this step is about — that moment.

Are we willing to lose everything we’ve relied on in our lives other than God? Do we even know what all these things are? We’ve tried to make a list, but that list is by no means complete. These things are subtle — these lies we’ve told ourselves for so long. They are defects in character, but we have become so attached to them that they have become our false security. When Jesus asked the man who had been crippled for 37 years if he wanted to be healed, he didn’t say yes. He gave an excuse — his excuse had become his security blanket.

God was bragging about His servant Job one day when Satan said “Let me at him; I’ll get him to curse you.” So God let Satan take everything away from Job and even inflict him with diseases and great pain, and Job cursed the day he was born, but he held on to his faith in God. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” he said, finally. 

It’s one thing to say you trust God; it’s another thing to actually trust Him when there is nothing else to hold on to. This step is simply saying, I’m ready to lose my addictions and my dependencies. It’s speculative. It’s not the thing itself, but it’s a step. That’s what these are: steps. Get out your list and ask yourself if you’re ready to have God get rid of all those defects in your character.

What would it be like without your defects in character?

Do you really want God to get rid of them? What’s holding you back?

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6 Responses to Are you sure you want to get rid of that?

  1. Philip Frazier says:

    I am in AA. I absolutely love your insight to the steps. It is adding to my ability to work them. Thanks for your time and effort.
    Phil Frazier

  2. TOM says:

    Step 6 was a struggle step. The steps kinda go that way. Struggle surrender struggle surrender on and on. When I first did step 6, I tried to stop or give up these traits by myself. After realizing the futility of that I’m ready for the next step. I could say that I need these traits to function as a normal human being but I read that God- a Loving God- will not remove something I still need.How free do I want to be?

  3. peter leenheer says:

    Thank you for saying it as it is…..incredibly tough. Hanging on to the devil we know seems way easier. Jesus at one time said some things that showed how hard it was to follow him and the results were that many left his entourage. One out of ten persons of faith in Christ finishes strong. I have come to the conclusion that for most of us it is too hard.

    For me however it is a joy to have these sins extracted without any anesthetic. The first time a sin is removed is the hardest after that a relentless pursuit of God to make him chose the next one is in order. Yes it does get easier. The surprise for me is that it takes so long, and there is a lot of residual stuff left. Like cancer you wonder whether it is all gone. Just not the same panic and worry. Maybe that is the problem.

    Praise God I have made progress because the Holy Spirit was my mentor and helper, and comforter. Without God I would not be where I am today. Is it worth it? Absolutely, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ask those who have rehabbed from drugs, gambling, and alcohol.

  4. Gary says:

    Back in the 90’s my life spun down so low that I replace my relationship with God for the numbness of alcohol. My life had turned into a complete mess. Things came to the point where I was Court ordered to go to AA. I went though the motions at first. But somewhere in the fog, I started feeling the teeth of the Steps. There is a long and amazing story between then and now. The Lords has drawn me back to Him. I want say that your insight of how to approach the effectiveness of the 12 Step program with complete surrender. I see even now I must reexamine myself. The character defects are deep and evasive. I believe recovery can be achieved: James 5 19-20.

  5. Tim says:

    I’ll never not be faulted.

  6. lindastapleton7 says:

    I’ve kind of got away from this as I have other Bible studies on the go and I’ve been down this road a few times before (a life time journey, I know), but I’m glad I jumped back in today. This is great insight, John, and all the comments are so helpful. They say in the fellowships “it takes what it takes” and another thing I read years ago was “everything I ever let go of had claw marks all over it”. That’s what it’s been like for me, hand it over, take it back, but the freedom that God gives us when we truly surrender is so worth it. If we let all the striving cease and allow God to make the changes that only He can, miracles will happen. God bless you all, and thank you, John.

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