Morning Bible Studies 1/23/18

Topic: How’d You Do It?     A MUST Read.

Ever been to rehab?  I have. Many.  Upon graduation or completion, I’ve been asked: “how did you do it?”.  I remember my answer: “I didn’t pick up a bottle and I didn’t leave”.  But was it that simple?        Nope.

This song above (hope you’re listening to it loudly) was played in my last rehab (along with others) but, the louder volume of the congregation’s voices was obvious and at times sent chills down my spine.  God was there.

Are you still suffering?  I know that many are struggling and my heart truly goes out to you.  I want to be completely honest with you this morning – I am no expert in recovery and I “only” have 7 months of sobriety as of Sunday, however, bear with me please and hopefully the summary of today’s Bible study makes some sense, or helps one person.  That is my “mission” and it relates to today more than any other blog post I have written.

Any rehab, and I personally think it really doesn’t matter what disorder or addiction that we suffer from; the “clinical” help available seems to be similarly structured, but one theme (at least in my experience of over 7 rehabs) stands out each time – spirituality and lack thereof – in one form/definition or another.  Deep word, I know.  I have heard many a person talk about their search for their purpose.

We wanted to take a deeper look into that “spirituality” and see if we could relate it to our afflictions and our Bible study this morning.  The initial Bible scripture we focused on was Philippians 2:3 and then we looked at the other “Big Book” and after you read the following excerpts, you may notice the theme.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

 

This verse alone is very powerful. In my mind, it is one of the most powerful verses written by the Epistle Paul and I would want nothing more than to always practice its principal.  However, I do not and when I haven’t; it associates in one way or another, with relapse EVERY time.

 

The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 was Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. AA’s stated “primary purpose” (Mission) is to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety”.  It is important to note that Christian principals were the foundation of their goals.  The 12th step is an important one.  It is the last step to follow – meaning there is nothing that follows. We are suggested to help others by carrying this message to others as a result of a “spiritual awakening”.

 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

**A.A. “Big Book” Doctor’s Opinion

“We work out our solution on the spiritual as well as an altruistic plane”

 

 

“To cultivate altruistic love, we must first become fully aware of our own desire to be free from suffering and to experience well-being. This step is especially important for those who have a negative image of themselves or have suffered so much that they feel that they are not made for happiness. We must thus generate warm, tolerant and benevolent attitude towards ourselves and resolve to achieve what is truly good for ourselves.”  …Matthew Ricard

Think about the following statements:

  • If your mission as a Leader is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Follower is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Family Member is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Friend is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission as a Church is to help only Yourself: you will fail.
  • If your mission in Recovery is to help only Yourself: you will fail.

If Jesus’s mission in love was to help only Himself: He would have failed.

  • Paul did not help only himself.
  • Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson did not only help themselves.
  • God does not only help Himself.

As long as I keep helping and loving others, I will stay sober.  Simple and that is the only way that I can explain the question “How do you do it?” or how am I going to “do it” today.

A Pastor and Counselor at the Salvation Army once told me that it is important to read the before and after of individual Bible verses, so let’s take his advice and see what we get out of the rest of what Paul was saying in Philippians:

 

Philippians 2:1-14 

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Wow!!   Enough said for today.

 

As always, I encourage comments and please share it, but more so, I hope and pray that someone reads this post today and something clicks.  Have a great Tuesday.

Todays’s verse to “chew on”:

 

1 John 4:21

21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

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