Accepting Help

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

Connor Gwin / 1.17.23

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. (1 Pet 5:6-9)

When I got sober, my first sponsor happened to be an Episcopal priest. In one of our first meetings, he pointed to the verses above as an accurate, biblical description of the addiction that had caused my unraveling. He told me to imagine that my “adversary” was alcohol. Therefore, in the language from the Book of Common Prayer, my task in recovery was to “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary [the addiction] prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.”

The First Step in Alcoholics Anonymous is, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.” The truth is that all of our lives are unmanageable. We are powerless over our addictions, vices, temptations, and the manifold sins that beset us on every side. Like alcohol for an addict, the devil seeks nothing but human destruction. What then are we to do?

The power of AA’s First Step comes in recognizing our powerlessness. You could translate the First Step as “humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God.” Only then can we truly accept the help of God, which is always available.

Likewise, the author of 1 Peter tells us the truth and the solution to the problem of human sin. First, we must recognize that we are not alone. All of humanity struggles and falls short. We are not “terminally unique” as we may believe. Second, we must trust that the God of all grace has called us and will restore, support, strengthen, and establish us. The God of Jesus Christ cares for us. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

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