I have been a part of recovery groups, one way or another, for nearly 20 years. In my younger days, I was a member of one, but as I grew older, I led them. Lately, I’ve noticed a trend of removing God from the equation of many of them. Part of this is done to be more inclusive, but the other half (if we’re honest) is because those who bring the funding don’t like that God is exclusively mentioned as the Higher power in many recovery groups’ first source material. And why is that? Because those who wrote the materials understood this one thing: on our own, we can’t fix ourselves.
This isn’t to harp, one way or another, on the current state of things in recovery, but to point something out: every single believer in Christ, from the most seasoned elder to the newest babe in Christ is in a state of recovery. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace, and there is only one source of recovery that can lead us to wholeness, and that is Jesus Christ. Consider the temptations of Christ in comparison to our own: he was weak, having not eaten in 40 days, and He was severely tested with his current need and with everything He had come to earth for (food, the Father’s love, and the rescue of the world). And what was His way of escape? Scripture. What did He fall back to when He was severely tested? Scripture. What did He rely on for strength? The Holy Spirit (Scripture says the Holy Spirit led Him there) and the Scriptures.
We don’t know what he was doing for 40 days, but, based on His responses, we know He was relying upon the strength of God through the Holy Spirit and through the Scriptures to get Him through the trial. And Jesus, who is not merely our ideal, but our model, shows us how to face Trial and Temptation: relying on the Holy Spirit through God’s word. So many of us run to things when we’re scared, hurting, tired, or stressed. We run to gossip, slander, substance, lewd programming, and a plethora of other things apart from God to handle our weight. But Jesus ran to God and His promises through the Scriptures. Jesus relied upon the Holy Spirit to get Him through. And if Jesus did that, so should we. Pick up your Bible. Put its words to heart, and learn to rightly divide the word of God. Rely on the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures, and God will provide a way of escape.
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
1 Corinthians 10:6-13
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.