Steps One, Two, and Three in the Bible
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Because of the purposefully vague language which Alcoholics Anonymous uses – referring to God as a higher power – many people don’t realize that the 12 steps are principles that were originally taken straight from the Bible. Steps one, two and three are as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Whether you like the vague language or not, these are clearly Christian concepts which were taught by the apostle Paul in today’s passage. In it, he said that we’re lost on our own and we cannot save ourselves. We must realize we’re wholly dependent on God and that our only hope is to live by faith in him. It is only in faith that we receive God’s grace, salvation, and transformation. That really, is the same message as steps one, two, and three.
Seen in this light, the concepts presented in steps one through three aren’t just for those struggling with drugs or alcohol. Paul’s message is for all of us. None of us can save ourselves and we all need God. We all must live by faith, relying on him instead of our own power. We cannot do this life on our own and if we try, we will eventually fail.
I do think that the addictive struggle with chemicals though, provides some practical insight into what that life of faith looks like. In my own addiction, I once understood faith to mean that I simply believed in God and asked him to take my problem away. When he didn’t and my life was torn apart by my addiction, I finally began to understand what faith really meant.
Faith isn’t simply believing a thing to be true, and faith isn’t just positive thinking. Faith is believing in a thing and then living and acting according to that belief. For me, that meant changing my entire life to align with that which I claimed to be true. In doing so, I didn’t save myself. God saved me. I just tried to follow him every day.
We cannot do this life on our own. We all need God. We must live by faith in him. That is the message for those struggling with chemicals – and for all of us.