Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Two Pillars of Sustained Recovery: Living a Lifestyle of Faith and Recovery

Audio Message:

Today I’d like to talk to you about living a Lifestyle of Faith and Recovery:

It’s been an honor to be among you these last eight weeks. I’ll be leaving this Sunday, but I just wanted to share briefly a final thought about faith and recovery, and how they intertwine.

Many of you, hopefully most of you will someday in the next 6 months or sooner, graduate this program and go back into the world out there. And how you order your life will determine whether you’ll survive to live a new life, or whether you’ll die in addiction.

So how, How do we order our lives out there? Set up a weekly schedule. When you have a little time, grab a notebook, and write out your plan. Obviously you’re going to have your work hours first. Then set up the rest of the week. In early recovery, I made sure I was hitting 3 to 5 AA or NA meetings a week. So, say, NA meeting on Monday at 7 pm, then I did a Tuesday and Thursday meeting of AA. On Wednesday I had small group Bible study at my church. So you Google AA NA meetings near your apartment when you get out, and get that set up. Then you google some churches in your area, and you check out their services on Sunday, and get plugged in with a Bible study.

Listen, if you just get out, work a job, have an apartment, and then go sit at your apartment during your off hours, that isn’t smart. You’re going to be sitting there, feeling lonely, disconnected, and that sick mind is going to start working. And pretty soon, the old friends are getting called up, and then the relapse happens. Then you lose the job, lose the apartment, and welcome back to the ARC. That’s not what we want.

Order your week. Live a lifestyle of faith and recovery. Every week, like clockwork, 3-5 meetings, Bible study, and church services on Sunday. You get to know people at those places, you get connected and you start to network. You find a sponsor. You find someone at the church who can mentor you and guide you toward Jesus.

Order your life. Get on fire for this stuff. Get excited about this stuff. Order your days, live a lifestyle of recovery. Begin in the morning with prayer. Finish the day with your Bible, in bed, studying it diligently.

God will help you to stay clean and sober. But faith without works is dead. God does his part by removing our sins, and setting us free from the compulsion to use and drink. Our part is to do the footwork, to attend our meetings, Bible studies, and work the steps. And never give up. Never, ever give up.

The big mistake I see people in recovery make, is they remove one of the two pillars that hold their future up. Recovery works by two great pillars: Christian Church Life and 12 Step Recovery Groups. Faith and Recovery, they are companions that walk side by side for the addict in recovery. If you remove the Christian Church, the addict may stay clean, but they’ll have no real life in themselves, they’ll be a shadow, a miserable, empty person. If the addict only attends Christian church life, and neglects 12 step recovery groups, their chances of staying clean drop way down. I’ve seen it many, many times. A self-righteous religious spirit develops in them, that says I don’t need recovery anymore. God led you to recovery. Even if the addict does stay clean, they will have left behind a lot of the internal work of healing that happens in the steps, and the opportunities to make amends and work with suffering addicts.

Faith and Recovery, keep both in your life always and you won’t have to stumble in either direction.

Most of you are coming back from depths of darkness few men ever return from. Be patient with the healing and growth. It will take years of sustained effort to find comprehensive healing. Be patient, and never give up. In conclusion, there’s a portion of the Bible, from the letter of 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 that I think really hits this all home. It says:

2 Corinthians 4:1,6-10,14-18 (NLT) 1 Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.

6 God said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

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