The 12 Steps from a Biblical Perspective Series: Intro to the 12 Steps

Reprogramming Our Minds, Transforming Our Lives

by Dr. Robert T. Tucker

Salvation is a free gift from God to us that is secure in Christ for eternity. However, experiencing freedom, peace, and joy in fullness while living in this sick and dying world requires some level of effort on our part. Accepting Christ as Lord and Savior alone will not keep you from drinking or using.  This is the beginning of the process.  Removing all forms of bondage, including addiction occurs as we surrender to God on a daily basis allowing Him to guide and direct our path.  He provided for us, His Spirit and a book of instruction, His living word  that offers all the answers to all the situations we face. He also gave us the necessary power (His power) in Christ to carry them out.
The twelve steps (from a Biblical perspective) offer a simplified biblical formula for life-long change. When properly applied, these steps give us the ability to move from mere abstinence towards genuine transformation and deliverance. When achieved, the very things we’ve been searching for all of our life will be found; true freedom, inner peace and joy.  The God hole we all have right out of the womb can now be properly filled with Him, by Him and for Him.

What are the 12 Steps and how do they fit with the Bible?

The 12 Steps, when properly understood, are a framework (a formula) that point to verses of scripture specifically chosen for the addicted one.  These biblical principles with Christ at the center have the ability to walk men and women out of bondage, clean them up, teach them how to live and equip them to effectively help others find freedom.  A physically sick person would go to a doctor and get a medicinal prescription, and if taken as directed, would hopefully recover.  The addicted one in most cases, has damage in all three areas (body, soul, and spirit) and is in need of healing in each area.  The twelve steps are a “spiritual prescription for scripture” simplified for the afflicted one. The problems buried deep within the soul and spirit are spiritual and thus require a spiritual solution.  The only One that can expose and dispose (surgically remove the damage) is the Spiritual Surgeon, Jesus.

Steps 1 through 3 have the ability to take a person from a state of selfish self-centeredness, powerless, helpless, and hopeless, to a Christ-centered life, hopeful and all-powerful in Christ Jesus.  At step three, the all-powerful Helper comes to live within.  “Made a decision” has a deeper meaning to it.  To

Steps 4 through 9 house cleaning steps, a time to utilize the Helper (the Holy Spirit living within) in the cleansing process of inner self.  First, immoral behavior (sin) is dealt with, then the sinful nature (the defective character living within) that leads us to sin, and finally we face those that we have harmed with our sinful destructive behaviors.  Admitting our wrongs, repenting of that behavior, forgiving one’s self, forgiving others, and receiving God’s forgiveness as well as the forgiveness of others is the key to freedom.  What a freeing experience it is to clean up the wreckage of our sinful destructive behaviors.

Step 10 is the maintenance step, teaching us to evaluate our daily behavior, while encouraging us to clean up potential problems before they become problems.  Diligently revisiting this step keeps us from building a new inventory of lingering unresolved immoral issues.

Step 11 encourages continual spiritual growth, continuously improving our personal relationship with God.  It is His desire to have an ongoing personal relationship with each of us, and healthy relationships require good communication.  We communicate with Him through prayer and meditation.  In prayer, we speak to Him, and through meditation, He speaks to us.  Some of our biggest lessons come directly from Him through prayer and meditation.

Step 12 is about trying to help those still suffering in bondage to their addiction.  We become living, breathing testimonies of God’s transforming power.  Carrying the message of freedom, Biblically speaking, is known as the great commission.  Those that have experienced this new found freedom can’t help but want to share it with others.

Why are these Steps so important? The renewing of the mind requires a RE-PROGRAMMING.  We must begin to take a serious look at the quality of data we allow to flow into our minds. There is a strong possibility that what we allow in will eventually become a part of who we are. If we feed poison into our physical body, eventually we will get sick, and with larger amounts, we may die. The same goes for the soul and spirit. Men and women can easily find themselves spiritually or emotionally sick from the poison they allow to enter their mind. When we became Christians, our sins were washed away, but our predisposition to think and behave in certain ways (developed as we adjusted to life over the years) remains programmed in our mind. In fact, you can become a born-again believer and continue to live on the basis of the lifestyle you developed while living independently of God. That is why Paul insists that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). The twelve steps are a road-map of this process.

How does change occur?

The transformation process is something God does for us (in us) as we spend time with Him. We will eventually begin to realize that spending time with Him is our part in the transformation process. Salvation is a free gift, but transformation on the other hand requires effort on our part. We grow at a speed we set by the amount of time and effort we put into it. As we spend time with Him, reading His Word and in fellowship with Him and His family of believers, He begins to change us (transform us) into His likeness. The 12 steps help keep us on this journey as we learn to face ourselves and God honestly, fully surrendering to Him allowing Him to deal with the sin issues in our life.  The more time we spend with Him along this journey, the more (spiritual and emotional) growth we will experience. Day by day, moment by moment, we become more like Jesus.

What it’s all about

We must always remember how precious we are to God. He loved us first before we even knew Him or knew of Him. While we were still sinning against Him, He came to save us from the punishment (sin’s condemnation) we so rightfully deserve. He came so that we might have fellowship with Him. His perfect plan, simply put, was to bring us back to Him, (reconciliation), giving us an opportunity to be with Him for eternity. He did this by sacrificing His only Son, Jesus Christ. Even though we are saved by grace, through faith from sin’s condemnation, we are told to live a certain way. We must live in obedience to God just as He has commanded us to.

Remember, as you embark on the twelve-step journey, the process is entirely rooted and grounded in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet it allows us an opportunity to apply biblical principles in fellowship with other people going through the same thing.  How about you? Has your 12-step journey begun? Try it and experience the many blessings God has for His obedient children!

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