In a real sense, spiritually we are all victims in need of rehabilitation and recovery. It’s in the healing of the heart, mind, and soul, that one experiences personal breakthroughs and wholeness. ◊
When we consider the rehab and recovery business today, we know that it is a multi-billion dollar market with thousands of facilities working hard to address the growing problem of drug and alcohol addictions. This is not to mention the various other forms of physical and psychological addictions, pain, and struggles that people are seeking to heal and make themselves and their loved ones whole once again.
In a real sense, spiritually we are all victims in need of rehab and recovery. It’s in the healing of the heart, mind, and soul, that one experiences personal breakthroughs and wholeness.
The Fraud in All of Us
If we’re honest with ourselves and each other, we’ve all been guilty of putting up false fronts and clever disguises at various points in our lives. It’s very natural as humans to try to shield and hide deep-seated flaws, pains, and wounds that diminish the full peace, freedom, and joy meant for one of God’s creation.
Of course, many actually believe they are worthy of scorn and rejection as a result of their past and present failures and short-comings. Some are absolutely blind to their own posing and cover-up. And some fully humbled, broken and surrendered Christians have emerged or are emerging from their own personal Christ-centered recovery program to healthy restoration.
The challenge is that anyone not on the road to true spiritual recovery can be living in a misleading cycle of insecurity, self-condemnation, or false and shallow optimism, even as a Christian.
6-Step Spiritual Recovery Program
Here is what I suggest as a 6-step spiritual recovery program.
- Recognition of Your Limits – this is when one gets to the point well beyond your own ego to protect or cover your own limitations and ability to handle your life. This is a very big deal as it’s quite an admission for the proud and independent, religious or not, to acknowledge that one “can’t do it anymore.” The prayer can be simply: “Lord, God, I can’t do this anymore. I need help.”
- Acknowledgment of God – this is equally difficult and as big a hurdle because beyond the recognition of one’s inability to control their own life, one is acknowledging the real existence of, yes, a Higher Power; namely the God of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David – God of the Bible, the one true God. The prayer may be: “God, I don’t understand it all, but I know You exist and are real.”
- Recognition of Your Issues (Sin) – it’s one thing to say one has reached their limit and need help, it’s quite another to see very clearly one’s own real sin, depravity, and brokenness. This is no epiphany, it is merely the real and admitted recognition of what one has known all along: that sin is rampant, flagrant, consistent, and destructive in and throughout our lives. And it’s always been there – no matter how hard we try to polish over it with good thoughts and efforts. Like fig leafs, they barely cover up the truth. Anything less than a full accounting and acceptance of our own sin is literally being dishonest with ourselves and with God. The prayer may be: “God, I know I’m guilty in ways that run deep and wide. I need to deal with this.”
- Confession of Your Sins – beyond acknowledgment or recognition of one’s flaws, errors, and shortcomings, the actually verbal confession of our sin to God of the Bible in honest and humble prayer is another major hurdle and milestone. Finger-pointing, self-justification and pride need to melt away here as the weight and guilt of our real disobedience and failures now recognized and very real are presented verbally to God and laid at the foot of the cross on which He died in atonement for our behavior and actions. The prayer may be: “God, I’m so sorry. I confess my sins to you and forgive those that have sinned against me.”
- Belief that God Forgives You – while the four previous hurdles are serious and significant, this next step causes the Christian to stumble and fall, perpetually. It’s not that we haven’t acknowledged and confessed our sins to God, it’s in the actually real belief that God has and will continue to forgive us of our own continuous sins and unrighteousness. It’s almost too hard to believe – particularly if we’ve been really disobedient and sin again and again. Another danger here is in becoming callous to God’s perpetual forgiveness. The prayer here may be: “God, thank you for loving and forgiving me, despite my sinful ways. As you have forgiven me, I want to turn my life around and live differently for You.”
- Go and Sin No More – one’s new resolve is destined to fall short at times, but this is a point to remember: God loves us and still forgives us. We have no real accusers, only God, and He says “Go and sin no more.” And know that when we do sin again, and we invariably will, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ. From this point on, the Christian life is one of moving toward sanctification, or a less sinful life. We are never quite there, but as we mature in our understanding of our human frailty, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins nevertheless. The prayer may be: “God, thank you for your patience with me. I give myself over to You and Your Spirit to move in and through me toward full and complete transformation and healing restoration with You.”
It is in the full devotion and surrender that we move from our broken life to one of renewal, restoration and real saving recovery out of the depths of pain and despair that wrecks havoc in this world.
The healed and renewed life now has a reset purpose beyond oneself. New questions are asked of God daily that are a significant twist from the past self-serving questions of want and need:
- “God, what are you trying to teach me here?”
- “God, how am I to respond to this?”
- “God, what areas of my life to you want me to surrender?”
- “God, what is it you want me to do?”
Do know that when we surrender our will to Him and His desire, He is faithful and just to forgive us, though not necessarily without us facing further trials. He thwarts us to save us. In my own life over the past decade I’ve experienced His guiding hand blessing my surrender and thwarting my false self. In hindsight, like Peter and then Paul, I see my greatest growth through struggles.
Drop the mask and fig leaf by facing your fears through surrender and repentance. It’s refreshing, cathartic – it’s living a healed and restored life.
Are you living a fully healed and recovered life?
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. – 1 John 2:1-2