The Christian 12 Step Program
This study is organized into four distinct stages:
STAGE ONE - FOUNDATION STAGE
Matthew 7:24-25 says, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”
Many of us have built our lives by repeating unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior passed down in our families. Some of us have built lives of isolation and loneliness because we continue to live with: hurt we have either received or caused others and guilt and shame we were never meant to hold onto. Some of us have built our lives on our own unwise choices, one after another.
Stage One gives us the opportunity to begin again.
- Step 1 will encourage us to admit that we are powerless without Jesus working in and through us.
- Step 2 will challenge our thinking about God by introducing us to five different attitudes towards Him. We will learn why we struggle so hard to do the right thing. We will return to the basics of God, who He is and who we are in relation to him. We will begin to understand why He is the power that we need.
- Step 3 calls us to make a decision. Will we dare to turn our will and our lives over to God in a fresh, new way? Upon making our decision, we will learn how to have a relationship with Him through the practices of Bible Study, Prayer, Fasting and Church Fellowship. We will be introduced to simple ways to become successful in these areas.
STAGE TWO - DISCOVERY STAGE
Psalm 31:9-10 says, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.” Psalm 73:21 reads, “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant…” Can you relate?
- In Step 4, we will take a good look at our lives from conception to where we are now.
We will learn what wrongs are and identify the wrongs that have occurred in our lives. We will examine:
- Events and circumstances that caused us pain, great or small
- How and why we developed certain negative, unhealthy thought patterns
- When we began acting in out-of-control or coping behaviors
- What good has been in our life, where God has been
- What good character traits, habits, talents, and skills we do have
- Where we want to go from here, who we want to be, what we want to do
John 3:16-17 says, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” God loves you. It is his deepest desire to bring you into His spiritual family not only to save you eternally, but also to heal your deepest wounds. He will guide your every step if you keep your heart open and let Him. If you work the steps, you will be moved out of your anger, fear, sadness, guilt, shame and pain. God will see that you have anything you need in this process.
In John 5:5-6, Jesus saw a man and knew he had been ill for 38 years. Jesus asked him, “Would you like to get well?” What would your answer be if He were asking you?
STAGE THREE - HEALING STAGE
Once we’ve identified the wrongs that caused us pain and trouble, we will need to deal with them. We will want to be able to move forward with a healthy mind, thinking and acting that honors God, ourselves, and others.
Mark 7:20-23 tells us, “…It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
Our outward behaviors will not change if our inner thoughts and attitudes stay the same. The only way to get out from under the control of inner pain and wrong thinking and attitudes is to bring them to Jesus through the following process:
- Step 5 – Confession, sharing our story
- Steps 6 & 7 – Repenting and humbly asking God to remove our wrongs
- Steps 8 & 9 – Forgiving those who wronged us; asking forgiveness, making amends with those we have wronged
We don’t need to fear the healing stage because it is about doing what God wants us to do. He wants us to do our part in healing ourselves; helping others heal by taking responsibility for our part in mending the relationships we can. Romans 8:1 reminds us, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” God has made a way for us to receive healing and freedom from the wrongs in our life. It is up to us to choose His way.
STAGE FOUR - LIVING AN OVERCOMING LIFE
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” – Galatians 5:24-25
Stage Four is about practicing all we’ve learned from now on. We’ve laid a new foundation, discovered what caused us pain and trouble, dealt with it with Christ by cleaning ourselves up inside and now we want to stay clean. We want to grow stronger in our relationship with God, ourselves, and others.
- Step 10 will show us how to cleanse ourselves from within daily. We will be encouraged to make peace with God, ourselves, and others quickly. That will enable us to avoid getting back into out-of-control behaviors.
- Step 11 will encourage us to grow more and more aware of God’s presence in our life. We will learn about two kinds of prayer: meditation and contemplation.
- Step 12 will explain that for us to keep the healing and freedom we’ve received, we must carry this message to help and serve others.