Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomingsMatthew 18:4 (ESV)
18:4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Here Jesus tells us that we are to seek humility, and gives us the example of how little children can be so humble and trusting and how we are to emulate that. Childhood is a time of special innocence. Children respond to their world with delightful honesty and spontaneity. This innocence can also leave them vulnerable to abuse, and it could be that such abuse was the root of some of our addictive behavior. But in God through Christ we have found a loving Father whom we can trust fully with our life, our being. So we can re-gain the humility and trust that we have lost somewhere along the way in our addiction. We can humble ourselves knowing that God will treat this humility in a kind and accepting manner and help us find the healing and strength that we desire and that God desires for us.Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were
righteous, and treated others with contempt:
18:10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
18:11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.'
18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
As a Christian in recovery, we live by the grace and mercy of God. Realizing this, we live in humility before God, for it is through Him that we have our victories, our peace and our joy. In this parable, we should be able to well identify with the tax collector, or publican as he is called. After having gone through step 4 we should realize how many times and in how many ways we have gone against God's love and will for our life. Being aware of this long list of sins from our past, we can only cast down our eyes, beat our breasts and ask for God's mercy in our lives. We can do this because we have a God of mercy and grace, one who hears our pleas and yearnings and finally gives us justification in our humility before Him.1 Peter 5:6-10 (ESV)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper
time he may exalt you,
5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
The apostle Peter reminds us here to humble ourselves before God. And this comes with a reminder that we can do this in total trust because God cares for us. Humility before God is so important in this 7th step of asking God to remove our shortcomings. It should stem from a realization that we need God in our lives to help us to overcome, that we cannot do it on our own. Furthermore, it is in humility because it has been a choice of God to extend grace to us. It is a gift and not something that we have earned. For that we need to maintain a humble and grateful attitude. There is also a warning here about the evil one trying to devour us. In the case of addictions, this devouring usually comes in the form of our addictive behaviors. But we are promised if we resist there temptations by God's power and the power that He gives us through fellowship, prayer and all of the other disciplines that we have learned while abiding in Him and working our program, that God will then will restore us, establish us, strengthen and settle us.1 John 5:14-15 (ESV)
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything
according to his will he hears us.
5:15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
Here we have a promise that if we ask in accordance with the will of God, then God hears our requests and that we have the requests that we desire. Sometimes we may not know what the will of God is for sure, and only through the answers to prayer do we actually know whether or not something was God's will. In some things, however, we can be very confident of God's will and when we ask for those things we can be confident of an answer to prayer. One thing that we know is God's will for our life is to live a life pleasing to God, full of the fruit of the Spirit, full of the life that the Lord has given us, free from the works of the flesh which we have let into our lives with our addictive behaviors. So in the seventh step, asking God to remove these defects of character is definitely a prayer that the Lord will honor. We can be very confident of this as long as we do our part in our recovery.