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Old 12-30-2014, 10:09 AM   #1
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Default Step Seven

About Step 7

"In this step, we must come to God as his humble servants. We must recognize our need, not only for his provision in the material arenas of life, but also for healing in the spiritual, psychological, and emotional spheres of life. To continue sobriety and recovery, we must recognize the absolute necessity of God's miraculous intervention in our lives. If God does not change us, relapse is inevitable. Thus, when we ask God to remove our shortcomings, we must swallow our pride and humbly recognize that our lives depend on his response to our prayer." [Martin M. Davis, The Gospel and the Twelve Steps RPI Publications Inc., 1993]

"The whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility. It is really saying to us that we now ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possible have." [Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, AA World Services, 1952]

"The biggest change the humility of Step Seven brings is in our relationship with God. He is no longer the "helper" who helps us get our agenda on track so we can accomplish what we want. He is the "owner of the business," and we are trainee employees, learning the business and our part in it one day at a time." [J. Keith Miller, A Hunger for Healing, Harper, 1991]

"As we begin to see our defects being removed and our lives becoming less complicated, we must proceed with caution and guard against the temptation to be prideful. Sudden changes in our behavior can and do happen, but we cannot anticipate them or direct them. God initiates change when we are ready, and we cannot claim that we alone removed our character defects. When we learn to ask humbly for God's help in our lives, change becomes God's responsibility, and we cannot accept the credit." [Anonymous, The Twelve Steps for Christians, RPI Publications Inc., 1988]
Step 7: Related Biblical Themes

* Humbly. Humility is the spiritual core of Step Seven. Early in recovery, humility is, to put it simply, humiliating. At least that is how it feels. Our grandiosity and overinflated egos feel crushed by the fact that we do not seem to be in charge of our lives. Admitting our powerlessness feels like the most shaming and humiliating thing that could ever happen to us. It is only later in recovery that we gradually acquire a dramatically different understanding of humility. Grandiosity, the opposite of humility, is thinking or acting as if we are more capable, more powerful, more anything than we actually are. And grandiosity is exhausting. It is a kind of pretending, usually a pretending to be God, that takes enormous amounts of emotional, physical and spiritual energy. As we see humility gradually replace our grandiosity, we find, to our complete surprise, that humility makes life a lot easier. We gradually find that humility is less exhausting than grandiosity - that it is easier, more rewarding, more productive and less painful that pretending we are more or better than we actually are. It is this liberating effect of humility that we start to learn in Step Seven. It may seem like humility is the last thing you want but the benefits are enormous. Jesus put this fundamental biblical principle this way:

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." [Matthew 23:12]

It is probably important to emphasize that the humility to which Step Seven invites us is not anything like the self-loathing which many of us learned as children. God does not call us to think of ourselves as worthless, miserable, unlovable worms. Nor is our goal simply to 'think less of ourselves.' Our goal is to think more accurately about ourselves and, ultimately, our goal is to learn to think and feel about ourselves in ways that are consistent with how God thinks and feels about us. Humility is one step forward on the journey to a more accurate and more biblical self-image.

* Asked Him The attitude most suited to working Step Seven is expressed well by the prophet Isaiah:

"We are the clay, you are the potter." [Isaiah 64:8]

The clay may have some potential, it may even in some sense be willing to become a pot, but the bottom line is simple: no potter, no pot. This is, of course, a major biblical theme. God is the Creator. We are part of God's creation. Step Seven invites us to the kind of humility appropriate for creatures. Creatures can gratefully acknowledge that they are the competent work of a gifted Creator but they deceive themselves completely if they try to be the Creator themselves. We do not have the Creator's power or wisdom. The Big Book of AA contains a prayer for Step Seven that makes just this point:

Seventh Step Prayer
My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me the strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding, Amen [Anonymous, Big Book, AA World Services, 1939]

* To remove our shortcomings. The use of the word 'shortcomings' here is very close to the meaning of the Greek word harmatia which is often translated into English as 'sin.' It means "to miss the mark" in the sense that an archer might miss a target. It is important to remember that the biblical understanding of sin includes far more than the popular notion of 'bad things we have done.' When God seeks to cleanse us from 'sin' it includes far more than just forgiveness for bad actions. God's plans for us include removal of our shortcomings as well. It might be useful at this point to look back over the various ways in which the Twelve Steps describe our problem: unmanageability, insanity, moral failure, wrongs, defects of character, shortcomings. Each expression emphasizes a different aspect of the dilemma which addictions create in our lives. And each also suggests a different dimension of the humility to which Step Seven invites us. And, thankfully, each expression also suggests a different dimension of the grace which God is so eager to provide to those who humbly ask.
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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