Over the past year, I have been working under the direction of a sponsor to complete the 12 steps defined originally by Alcoholics Anonymous and Bill W. The group I have been attending takes those 12 steps and aligns them with Biblical truths to define a path of sanctification, much as AA does, but with a decidedly overt Christ-centered path. For me, this has served one very important purpose…I have a true, Biblically based, Christ focused path to follow to focus on living as Christ designed me to live. What I define as my own path for sanctification.
An important part of following this path is identifying my flaws and character defects and becoming willing for God to remove these defects. So I missed part of this whole concept the first time I went through it. See, I have to identify them and become willing for God to remove them. I just assumed that meant that He would remove them…immediately. Only, that isn’t what has happened.
I have seen some immediate and some gradual change in my life. My focus on self has ebbed to be replaced primarily with a focus on God, my wife, my family and my friends. My need to lie and manipulate have receded. They aren’t gone by any means. I find myself immediately wanting to respond with half-truths and misdirection when I am put on the spot or I think I could benefit from a situation by not being completely truthful. Fortunately my wife, my friends and family know my flaws and remind me of them(Not sure that is fortunate but you get the idea). But they aren’t gone. My compulsive behavior, lack of consideration for others, and focus on self all rise up at various times.
Last weekend I had a meeting on Friday night. I had planned to eat quickly before going so I would be on time. I have this compulsion about time and being early. That hasn’t gone away at all. Anyway, my wife and son asked me to go with them since I didn’t have to be at my meeting until 7:30 pm. They suggested a brand new pizza place nearby. You can guess how this went. At 7:15, we still didn’t have our food. My wife was really angry…not because we didn’t have our food. She was angry at me for my behavior, harassing the staff, not being considerate with the manager or server and generally obsessing. I am not sorry for wanting to be on time. I do wish I didn’t have the behaviors that accompany it.
In John 9, Jesus and his disciples pass by a man who has been blind since birth. The disciples immediately ask what the man or his parents did to deserve his blindness. Jesus corrected them to let them know that his blindness wasn’t a result of his sin but was there so that Jesus himself could be glorified through it. He then made mud from the dirt, rubbed it on the man’s eyes, sent him to the river to wash, and healed him. Notice he didn’t do it instantly. He worked and he had the man work as well.
After I identified my flaws and shortcomings, I couldn’t understand why Jesus didn’t just heal me immediately. Why didn’t they go away? Because He has better ideas. He wants me to do what the blind man did. He wants me to tell others how His path works. It doesn’t mean that my flaws go away. It means that He is glorified through them. Not my idea of healing…God’s idea of healing.