For over 5 years now, I have participated in a 12 step program. The manner of thinking described in these steps has transformed my life. One of the chief ideas behind this Code of Conduct is that a motive of selfishness is an unhealthy style of living.
Twelve step teachings help adherents to see, recognize, accept and change their primary character defects. Furthermore, they learn to transform these liabilities of selfishness; to the benefits of love, service and benevolence.
One of the greatest attributes of accepting a higher power is learning humility. That we ourselves are not the sum of all things. And that we can become our highest ideal, only when we learn to appreciate our own limitations. We learn to do this in seeing that there are sources of authority more deserving than our own self-serving motives.
Oddly enough, accepting that a power greater than our self must be in control, when we ourselves are not; does not abrogate personal responsibility. Rather, it encourages autonomy and individual liberty. The kind of Liberty that respects not only its own wishes but also the wishes and rights of others. We learn our greatest state of human freedom, when we respect and value the rights and freedoms of all men (not ourselves alone). This certainly fits my Quaker sense of values.
So however men or women may define Him ( and this is different for each one). 12 step adherents are taught to respect God’s Will above their own. They are taught to seek God’s will before their own purposes. So regardless of the differences in how they envision Him: 12 step participants learn seek God’s will as the best possible outcome for their individual life.
The 12 steps then become a map that help each one to chart a path, in line with Higher Power. And this attitude of service actually leads to the greatest fulfillment and liberty; Acquittal from character defects that enslave minds and actions, prior to discovering and working the steps.
The biggest problem in our doing God’s will is we get our will and His will confused. It is hard to want what God wants, while you are predominantly concerned about what you want.
This is the great conundrum of finding the will of God. We have to get ourselves out of the way, to find it. And few of us really want to surrender our own will.
Yet to find God’s will this must be the case. So to really steady ourselves toward the task of finding and doing the will of God; It is a necessary first step to learn to accept some things that we do not like. Because when we really want God’s will, there will certainly be times that it is not what we want.
When Jesus faced the cross, He asked His Father to “let this cup pass from Him, nevertheless not what I will but what Thy will be done.” In this greatest example of selflessness; Jesus showed us how to make sure we really want God’s will.
The certainty of wanting God’s will comes when we ask Him to give us what He wants, over and above what we want.
Perhaps you are already doing what God wants. Maybe you are not. Either way, the next step to do the will of God is to come to a quiet willingness to accept His purposes above your own plans.
Ironically, instead of feeling restricted; accepting God’s Will above your own can bring you to greater heights of personal liberty, happiness and satisfaction. May His will be done in your life. Slam-