Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another devo I wrote for my co-op

After being raised in the church, my husband and I, who met at 17 and married at 20 found ourselves in our early marriage knowing exactly how to move up in the ranks of our church.  Despite being youth group leaders, running Bible studies and ABFs, we were not growing, nor were we happy.  Were we doing too much, when the work was already done on the cross?  Probably, but I think besides being spread too thin, we were driven by spiritual “success” than the Spirit, Itself.    We took a six year “sabbatical” as we searched and wrestled with church as a concept.  After having our first child we were motivated to get involved again, knowing, at least, that many of the problems we had with “church” were really problems in our own hearts.  We are now part of a healthy, growing church that is more like a sin recovery group than a country club.  We are still, however, still in the process of shedding our own Pharisaical tendencies.  During those six years we did a lot of research on the early church (< 325AD) and read lots of good books, including one by John Fischer called, “ 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)”.  His twelve steps are still difficult for me to own completely, but they are a challenge to us all and below I share them with you.  Do read the book for an explanation of each of these points.  May we live out Scripture’s command:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”    Micah 6:8

12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me) by John Fischer

Step 1: We admit that our single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people

Step 2: Have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind

Step 3: Realize that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven’t worked for it and don’t deserve it

Step 4: Have decided that we don’t want to get what we deserve after all, and we don’t want anyone else to either

Step 5: Will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves

Step 6: Are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character

Step 7: Embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning

Step 8: Are looking more closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us

Step 9: Are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider others better than ourselves

Step 10: Embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality

Step 11: Choose to rid ourselves of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to the others who think that Christians are better than everyone else


mattmarie said...

I've worked the 12 steps for several years...although the wording is a little different than yours. I yearn only to be authentic lover/follower of Jesus & that invites me to "unlearn" churchy things. I too am thankful for LB...where I gather with others "just as I am" ya much...

Home School Mom: Denise said...

I had wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your devotions and how it was not only a relief for me in a helpful way, which I was grateful for, but I gleaned from them and was truly blessed by your words. This one, the 12 steps, is a keeper :) I have worked on not judging others or bashing others faith practices in Christ, knowing we are all one body in Him, with many branches... for at least the last 20 years...a work in progress - we all are! God bless you and your family, hope you are having a beautiful summer! ~ Denise