Step 7 — Humbly asked God to remove all our shortcomings
The operative word in Step 7 is “Humbly“. Humility. I had to “humbly” ask God to do something I was loathe to do. I came to step 7 kicking and screaming.
Humility was not my strong suit when I started recovery. In fact, arrogance came closer to describing my attitude in life than humility did. I could feign humility. I could act contrite. But becoming truly humble enough to ask God to remove all my shortcomings was an uphill climb for me. A six mile run. In hip waders. And a full back pack. I believed I was a humble person. And I told people I was.
But somewhere in my journey of faith, God showed me something. If you tell people you’re humble, then you’re not humble. You’re prideful. I heard a funny story. A man in a large corporation was given the company’s Humility Award at their annual company banquet. The guy took the plaque back to his office and hung it on his wall. The company came to his office and took the award away from him.
Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. James 4:10
Look what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes. Who possesses the kingdom of heaven? The poor in spirit. Those who have nothing. Once when Jesus was teaching He pulled a child among them and sat the child on His knee.
“Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, shall be exalted.” Luke 9:46
He that is least among you all,” Jesus said, “the same shall be great,” Jesus taught in Luke 9:46. Again, Jesus taught. “Whosoever shall be great among you, let him be your servant, even as the Son of Man came to serve.” Matthew 20:27-28.
If I was going to approach the Almighty Creator of the universe and ask Him to remove my shortcomings, I was going to have to ask Him with a spirit of humility. I was going to have to come to him in humility. And I didn’t know much about humility. So Step 7 for me was a journey of discovery. Before I asked God to do anything, I was going to have to learn to ask Him in humility.
God showed me at step 7 that humility was not humiliation. Now humiliation, I was familiar with. I was a pal with humiliation. All my life prior to my recovery I felt humiliation deeply and often. Humiliation is telling yourself, “I am worthless.” “I deserve contempt and condemnation.” “I am filled with guilt, shame and remorse.” and “If people knew who I really was they would not like me.” I felt as if satan emblazoned those thoughts on my forehead when I walked around. I often looked at passers-by telling myself they were thinking, “Oooo. look at that guy. Is he worthless or what? He looks like he deserves some condemnation today.” The fake persona I created to fend off those wild ideas of mine was cocky and arrogant. As hard as I tried to fend them off, it didn’t work. I discovered I had to ask God to remove my cocky arrogance as well as the fake persona. They weren’t real. They weren’t me.
Working step seven required honesty. Honesty with others. Honesty with myself. God showed me He would not remove any character defects I would not admit to. That’s why I had to honestly work my way through steps four and five. God showed me He could not remove any character defects I wasn’t willing for Him to remove. That’s why I had to work my way through step six first.
Humiliation is telling yourself, “I am worthless.” “I deserve contempt and condemnation.” “I am filled with guilt, shame and remorse.”
If I was going to rid my life of the negative character defects, I would be compelled to make some life-changing choices. I would have to consider others’ interests above my own, and I was going to have to get a servant’s heart. God showed me in step seven that He was the only one who could accomplish those things. If I tried I would fail, because I would be doing the doing and not God. I was at an impasse with my flesh. I could either proceed in my flesh (as I had always done) and wind up back at step 1, or I could trust God to remove my shortcomings and get out of His way.
I trusted Him.
The way God worked in me and through me was distinctly and uniquely for only me. He did things in me that only He could do, in ways only I could understand. He revealed Himself to me, bit by bit, one day at a time, one defect at a time. By revealing who He was in me, He taught me who I was in Him. By teaching me who He was, I learned a lot about my true identity in Christ.
Did He remove all my character defects? Yes. How do I know? At first I didn’t. I discovered they were gone experientially. I found myself in a relationship or a circumstance and responded to something someone did or said. Then I caught myself and thought, “Wait a minute. I’ve never done that before. I used to _______. Now I __________.” Then I paused and praised God, because I realized He had removed a character defect. God continually amazed me that way. And He continues to amaze me in the same ways today.
Something very special about my recovery
I never had to make a list of, or keep track of, my defects. I wrote them all down in my step 4. But God wrote my list for me. He was keeping track. Once he removed a character defect, He moved on to the next one. He told me, “Okay, we’ve worked on that one, now let’s work on another.” And he revealed to me the next thing He wanted to work on in me.
Are my character defects gone? Yes. Do they still rear their ugly heads now and again. Certainly. That’s satan’s game plan. He wants to destroy me. What better way than to churn up my old flesh patterns? Fortunately for me, those defects are now covered by the blood of Christ. They are no more. I have total victory over them.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remain in my and I in him, he bears much fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
I live today as a branch. What He is doing in me, through me and as me continues to amaze me. As things that need changing or removing reveal themselves, God is quick to reveal His desires and direction. His path. His plan for me. To mold me into the vessel He wants me to be.
I’m so glad you stopped by today. Did you enjoy reading?
Thank you again, and may God richly bless you.