We Keep What We Have By Giving It Away
Romans 10:13,14 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
When I first found recovery, it was more of what I would call pseudo-recovery. I just did not buy into the whole idea of continually abandoning my defects to follow God. I did not want to participate in recovery meetings and I certainly did not want to share recovery with other addicts. I was not committed to recovery and thus, I did not keep it very long.
This mirrored my attitude about my faith as well. I had what I wanted from God. I was saved, but I really did not want to get too crazy with my faith. I participated in some church activities, but the only desire I had to share my faith or help others was out of a sense of guilt. I did not even feel much guilt.
Both Christianity and the 12-steps insist that knowing faith and recovery means sharing it with others. The 12th step says, Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics. This so clearly mirrors the gospel of Christ as the 12 steps are derived directly from Biblical principles. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:39) and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Reaching out to those in need and sharing what God has done for us is necessary if we wish to participate in recovery and Christianity. This is not optional. If we want to keep what God has given us, we must give it away.
I am not saying that we must go door to door, hitting strangers over the head with the AA big book or the Bible. If we are willing to look, there are plenty of people in need all around us. When we open our eyes, we can see those who are where we have been. It is our privilege to love them and tell them what God has done for us. This is how we recovery and walk in faith.
If I find myself in a position where I just do not have much to say about what God has done for me, I must insist that God begin to address my own defects. It is not that God is not willing or that the defects are not there. It is that I have not abandoned self to follow God.
Likewise, if I do not know anyone in need, I have probably insulated or blinded myself to the world. Need is all around me. When I got out of treatment, I stumbled into jail and a transitional house where I began to meet weekly with those who, like me, knew how desperately they needed God. I never have to look far to find those who want God desperately.
I am not saying that I must assault everyone I meet with recovery or faith. I am saying that if I want to know faith and recovery, then I do not get to pick which parts are palatable to me. I keep what I have by giving it away.
We only keep the most important things in life (faith, love, joy, recovery and peace) by sharing them with those around us. If we selfishly refuse to share faith and recovery, we diminish them. As in all things, we must daily abandon self, love God and love others.