This week we continue in Philippians, Chapter 3. Last week we talked about our recovery being more than about ourselves. I gave you examples of ways and situations where you can put others first. This week, I want to talk about us.
Honestly, we have to be better personally to be better for someone else. Philippians, Chapter 3, starts with a tip we could all interpret differently but I think it speaks huge volumes on the road to recovery.
Philippians 3:2 says, “Look out for the dogs, look out for the trouble makers …”
I interpret this with an addict mind as being told to steer clear of the people, and situations that made me use in the past. If you think you can recover by keeping every aspect of your life exactly the same as you did when using, you’re wrong. You have to completely distance yourself from anything that causes you a bit of second guessing in recovery. We are warriors but we have weaknesses. We have to gain confidence to fight those battles.
Philippians 3:3 says, “for we [who are born again have been reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, set apart for His purpose] … who worship in the Spirit of God and glory and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus and place no confidence [in what we have or who we are] in the flesh-”
Here, Paul is telling us that we are not to put confidence in the flesh, meaning ourselves or anybody else. Sometimes we face situations that our earthy bodies just can’t fight on our own. I’ll be the first to admit that if someone was standing right next to me, consuming my drug of choice, I would have absolutely no will power by myself to not want it, and consume it too. I also couldn’t trust the addict next to me to shelter me from the temptation. You have to place your trust in something bigger than yourself.
We can’t, and won’t always make the best decisions, even when we follow God. He actually doesn’t even want that, because you see, if we all got to a point in life where we became perfect we wouldn’t need God anymore. We would think we were owed something because of our perfectness. The fact is, we’ve already received far more than we deserve, and that was God’s son dying for our sins.
So, He leaves us some weakness so that we actually have to go to Him to ask for help. He wants to guide you. He’s waiting for your call. He wants us to realize that our will power is not enough, and lead to nothing but frustration.
Philippians 3:9 says, “and [I] may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”
Speak the word this week by saying, “Here I am, Lord. I do not have a perfect record but, I do believe in you. My victory is in you, not in my flesh.” Then, watch him manifest himself in your daily struggles in recovery!
Philippians 3:12 says, “Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.”
Purpose. Every single one of us, no matter what we’ve done in this life, have a purpose. I feel my purpose is this here, helping fellow addicts on the walk of recovery. You may have the exact same purpose but, we all do our job differently. We weren’t put here to filter oxygen. God made the plants for that. He put you here because he has a greater purpose for you than just taking up space, or being another number.
I encourage you this week to really find your purpose. Look for things that make your heart beat a little faster, and your stomach do a little flip flop. That’s when you’re about to do something incredible and very brave. You were made to change the world in some way, so why not do it?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because of your past. We all have faults. We’ve all done questionable things. Paul tells us exactly how to overcome those feelings of doubt.
Philippians 3:13, 14 says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (14) I press on toward my goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The devil would rather you focus on how many times you’ve fallen, how many times you’ve picked up the pipe, bottle, or pill, rather than walk away. Satan doesn’t want us tto focus on how much good we’ve done and continue to do. Satan wants you to stay in the past with all the guilt, shame, temptation, regret. As I’ve said before, his only job is to make us miserable and he knows how much we hate facing our past mistakes. So, you can bet Satan will throw them in our faces every waking chance he gets.
But God! God wants us to find our strengths in the midst of our weaknesses. He wants us to hone in on those and count our victories, not our losses. Here in verses 13 and 14, Paul tells us that God wants us to do nothing but look ahead. Don’t look back. Keep moving forward.
This week I challenge you to really think about who you place your confidence in. Have you found your purpose? If not try seeking out new things to do this week to help you find it, because I promise you, you have a purpose. And remember, count your victories everyday, whether it’s a new day sober, or you went longer today without using than you did yesterday. Each step forward, no matter how big or small, is a step forward.
Join me next week as we finish up the book of Philippians with Chapter 4. We will talk about how to resolve conflicts, being thankful, how our thoughts effect our recovery, and ways to think positive.
“Lord, I delight in You and I will continue to rejoice because I am in You!” – adapted from Philippians 3:1, “The Everyday Life Bible”, Joyce Meyer