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The road to spiritual wholeness is not traveled by exercising our own human powers, but rather by acknowledging our human weaknesses, and then, in that weakness, allowing God to exercise his power in us.

Members of Alcoholics Anonymous probably understand the gospel better than most theologians -- and indeed than most regular church goers. They will tell you that the key to turning their lives around was admitting their weakness, admitting that they were, are, and always will be powerless, powerless over alcohol.

Consider the first three of the 12 steps of the AA program:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

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

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

What we have here is ONE -- An acknowledgement of weakness, of need.

TWO -- A belief that God, and only God, can help and THREE -- the willingness to turn the whole matter, indeed one's whole life, over to God and let God take control of the problem.

As it is with Alcohol, so it is with all the rest of life. Until we admit our weakness, until we stop being afraid of it, until we stop denying it, we can't find the help we need.

If the truth be known, we are weak in many many ways, ways that all too often we are afraid to admit, because we fear that we will be scorned, rejected or taken advantage of somehow. How much of our weakness do we keep locked up inside us, because we think that there is no help for us, or because we think that other things are more important? A part of our strength, the greater part, comes from our relationship to God -- the God who is able and willing to help us

Our weaknesses, hardships and tribulations are not of themselves a blessing. They are real problems for us and can create problems for how we get along with others. When we acknowledge our weaknesses and our needs, turn to God and ask for help, then something profound happens! We discover that God's grace is sufficient for us and that his power is made perfect in our weakness in ways we do not expect.

•••

Editor's note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stewart is the pastor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Brightwater Methodist Church. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted at revjstewart@gmail.com or 479-659-9519.

Religion on 02/05/2020

Print Headline: Step one: Admit need

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