In Step 6, we take another important step in our recovery: we begin actively submitting to the changes we know need to happen. By this time in the 12 steps, one has written out his/her inventory and been honest about not only the offenses of others, but one’s own wrongs toward others (and self). And, confession and forgiveness supposedly followed. But, before we experience victory over our compulsive and/or addictive behavior(s), we have to voluntarily submit to a new way of living. This does NOT happen overnight! And yet, there does have to be a starting point. Sometimes people say they stopped doing substance abuse overnight, or they stopped cheating on a spouse. Even when behaviors are stopped, we will be vulnerable to other ways of escaping, if we do not replace the unhealthy behaviors (sinful, problem behaviors) with righteous patterns. This calls for honesty before God and renewing our minds – setting our minds to embrace and stand on the Truth in Scripture.
An important part of practicing this step is having humility. In my own life, codependency has been an issue for which I sought help, both in counseling years ago, and, in an ongoing way, in groups and accountability relationships. The slippery slope for me is thinking I’ve got this, that I now can handle it on my own and without having to daily confess to God how much I need His help, that I am dependent on Him, and telling God that I want to keep turning things over to His control, especially those things I want to fix or control in others’ lives. Christ’s humility is such a model and example for us! When the Bible tells us that He learned obedience from the things He suffered, I am reminded (and, still somewhat mystified) that even Jesus learned obedience! He willingly humbled Himself to take on our human limitations. How much more I need to humble myself before my Lord!
When I get to the core of why I don’t experience victory and freedom from my issues, I go back to asking what is keeping me from surrendering totally to God’s will and control in my life? A barrier for me is that I do not (at times) truly believe that God can take care of some things without my help, or that He won’t or might not do what is best. How prideful! How ridiculous! But, if I’m really honest, that’s a core sin – pride, lack of trust. While in my head, I know a right concept of God, in my heart of hearts and in my everyday life, I fall back into failure to practice what I say I believe. I allow unbelief and doubt to go unchecked right alongside my faith. Scripture warns us about this and says we will be double-minded in all our affairs. I don’t want to be like that! Thank God for His Word of Truth and for the Holy Spirit who convicts me when I willingly go against what God tells me to do. Confession, forgiveness received, and committing anew to submit – yield – to God’s Sovereignty is what I have learned is my only way to the victory. With His help!
I have experienced victory, yet it is not 100% constant. I am thankful for his promise in Philippians 1:6, that He is faithful to complete the good work He began in me (our sanctification and glorification)!