I have had the privilege of coming to know and working with a number of men and women who have committed themselves to “Recovery,” primarily as this process relates to alcohol and substance abuse. The traditional 12 steps of AA and NA have served many of these folks quite well. But significantly, we have together discovered that God’s written word also addresses “Recovery” in a profound and powerful fashion. I am referring to the 12th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Roman believers. These 21 verses address the following recovery principles and also serve as a holy God-given template for any and all who wish to live life fully:
First: Surrender and offer your body and mind to God: (“Present your body a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God…And do not let the world squeeze you into its own mold, but be transformed; let God remake you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed, and you will then prove and experience in practice the good and perfect will of God.”)
Be humble: (“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.”)
Be wise in self-assessment: (“Have sane and sound judgment regarding God’s gifts to you and how God has made you to be.”)
Know that you are not alone —you need others, others need you, you are not the Lone Ranger: (“We who are many are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”)
Give back to others: (“Since we have gifts from God that differ according to His grace, let us use and exercise them for the good of others.”)
Starting and doing new life: (Love for real, hate evil, cling to good, honor others, be diligent in serving God, rejoice in hope, hang tough when things are difficult, pray hard and consistently, help the needy, be hospitable, have joy with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, don’t be a hot shot, value others including those ‘down and out’.)
Two ‘nevers’ relieving you of ‘keeping score:’ (“Never pay back evil for evil…Never take your own revenge. God handles these issues, for He has said, ‘I will repay; you need not worry’.”)
Don’t succumb but overcome — Be a radical in doing good: (“Do not be overcome by evil. Take the offensive and overcome evil with good!”)
It is still a new year. I need the Lord’s help to live as He would have me. So I personally have taken this chapter of God’s word (Romans 12) as a special passage for 2016 to ground me, guide me, sustain me and encourage me throughout this year…one day at a time. Perhaps you may see fit to do the same.
Gary Kopsa is a chaplain with Volunteers of America Northern Rockies.