Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him.
For many people, this is a difficult step. Let’s try to break this down into smaller pieces to get some insight. The first part of this statement is key to understanding how the step works—“made a decision…”
In the first step we admit that our lives are out of control, we have a problem. In the second step, we admit that we need help. Even though we have a problem and need help, we still have the right to say no to receiving that help.
Think of it this way. I need something and I am going to allow you to help be get it. I am inviting you in and appealing to you to take over and guide me through my problem. You and I have a relationship, and like any relationship there is give and take. But nothing happens unless I allow you in. Even though I am powerless, even though I am the one that needs the help, I can exercise a measure of autonomy and prevent you from helping me.
Another thing to consider is if I turn my will over to God, as I understand him, and allow God to help me, for that relationship to work, should I not know something about God? God? What God? Who is this God?
I remember the old television sitcom “Mork and Mindy” from the 1970’s. One of the recurring characters in that show was “Exidor,” a kind of whacked out prophet. In one episode, Mork visits Exidor in jail and finds that his crazy friend is excited about his new religion. Exidor tells Mork that he is following a new direction.
He rips open is robes to uncover a large “32” on his shirt. “From now on I follow O.J. Simpson!,” Exidor proclaims. The episode aired long before Simpson’s legal troubles, but you can see how silly the situation was. Of course, if you analyze humor it isn’t funny, but we’ll take a look at the serious side of Exidor’s decision.
Who Are You Putting Your Trust In?
Who and what are you putting your trust in? Exidor put his trust in a man. He based is whole being on a running back for the Buffalo Bills. Simpson ran for 2000 yards one season, but he eventually aged and had to retire. You know the rest. Exidor’s decision wasn’t based on anything lasting, anything substantial other than a football record.
Moreover, he based his life on someone he never even met. It’s one thing to follow and example, but it’s quite another to turn yourself over to someone who suffers the same kind of human frailty you do.
If we need to have surgery, it is not uncommon for us to examine the surgeon’s professional credentials, get referrals, or seek multiple opinions. Yet when it comes to God, we prefer to decide who God is and what he should do. What is your understanding of God. Here’s a little exercise that might help. Take a piece of paper and on the left hand side jot down a list of points that you believe about God.
After you have done that, look at them again and to the right of each one write down why you believe what you believe. So you have your belief on one side and your reason on the other. Look at the reasons and question how you came to believe that reason. Challenge yourself.
For example, I write down “God is love.” That’s a common claim. Ok, what data supports my claim? In the New Testament, I John 4:8 and 4:16 each contain the statement. There is Biblical evidence that God is love. Now the question becomes, do I believe the Bible?
Let’s stop here for a moment. Remember, when you allow someone to come into your life, you are allowing a relationship to form. Some one tells you, “I love you.” It’s nice to hear those words, but is there anything to support the claim? How do I know? I know by talking to that person and I know by observing that person. Is the statement consistent with the nature and character of the other person? Is there evidence to support it?
God Meets You Where You Are At
This might be helpful. Allow God to meet you where you are. Those are acceptable ground rules to God, as He demonstrates His willingness to accept us just as we are, which is recorded in countless passages of Scripture. After all, when you meet another person are you not doing the same thing? You say, “Tell me about yourself.” They ask you the same thing. Maybe you don’t know God, or don’t understand God, or maybe you’re afraid of God. You might just say, “I’ll give you a chance.” As you go along, you discover for yourself who God is.
Allowing the relationship to take shape is important, as opposed to having somebody ram facts down your throat and expect you follow some list of rules and regulations. God didn’t force Himself on you, and He’s willing to go at your pace. Jesus said, “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” See, you’re building a relationship and within that relationship there is respect and trust laid down as the cornerstones. As you begin to experience God in a relationship, everything you have heard, everything you thought, will take on a new form, a new dimension. It becomes real to you.
No longer are you thinking of God as some far away, transcendent being, but as a close, personal friend. You will discover a loving, caring and compassionate God, who will not withhold anything from you, but rather give you everything He has. This God loves you and demonstrated that love by sending His one and only son to earth to pay the penalty for every wrong thought, word or deed we ever committed.
After you’ve realized that your life is out of control, and that you need help from a power greater than yourself, if you are willing to turn your will over to God, as you understand Him, you are ready to move to Step Four.