God as we understood Him
Sometimes it is very difficult NOT to just open up at my traditional 12-Step meeting and share about my faith in Jesus Christ, whom I truly believe to be The Highest Power! After all, aren’t we supposed to be “salt and light to the world”? Am I missing a golden opportunity to share Christ with some of my dearest comrades in the program? Some have simply given up and stopped attending those other meetings. Yet, after careful study of the basic premise of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon and other 12-Step groups, we soon realize that these meetings are made up of people of ALL faiths or NO faith at all. If everyone was given the opportunity to offer a detailed presentation of their particular “higher power” to the group, we would abruptly stray away from the primary purpose for attendance — to find freedom from our addictions through the power of God “as we understand Him.” This worldwide program, totally inspired by God and founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, (both of whom were Christians) would soon turn into exactly the opposite of what was intended. The program could become a “Tower of Babel,” where each person would begin to lustily debate our own particular religious beliefs, resulting in utter chaos. This same chaos has divided many churches and split families apart! For this very reason traditional 12 Step Groups and Overcomers Outreach are places of sharing experience, strength and hope, not for preaching and teaching.
As hard as it is for Christians to listen to someone declaring their higher power to be a “doorknob” or the “tree in the front yard,” it has been demonstrated in thousands of lives that these individuals, when working the Steps and sincerely searching for God, may eventually discover Him in the person of Jesus Christ – without our rehearsed sermons to sabotage the process! We can be “salt and light” to the world just by Jesus manifesting His presence in our lives.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:12
In a sincere and earnest search for God, some people may start out by relying upon the group itself as their Higher Power; others actually depend upon an inanimate object to be the power in their lives. What is God’s attitude about these practices?
Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. 11 But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment. Isaiah 53:10-11
He wants us to eventually worship Jesus as the Highest Power, not a support group or a doorknob.
“For He has set a day for justly judging the world by the man he has appointed (Jesus) and has pointed him out by bringing him back to life again” Acts 30-31:
Thankfully, this is the founding principle behind Overcomers Outreach meetings where we have the freedom to talk about Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord!
Acts 17:25 talks about the people in Athens, Greece who had built altars, one of which was inscribed “to the unknown god.” The Apostle Paul exclaimed, “you have been worshiping him without knowing who he is–and now I wish to tell you about him: He made the world and everything in it, and since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples…He himself gives life and breath to everything, and satisfies every need there is.” The vagueness of the Greek altars to an unknown God’ sounds a lot like the generic reference in AA to “the Higher Power.” The Athenians were not unlike people in traditional 12 Step groups today: verse 27 perfectly describes the open atmosphere of the various traditional 12 Step groups: “His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him–though he is not far from any one of us.” Amazing parallels between two cultures more than 2,000 years apart!
How we understand God is based upon our own personal relationship with Him. We know Jesus Christ and share Him best through our actions.
What can I do?
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
Developing our faith-sharing techniques and intertwining them with our personal story is a rather intimate process which takes time and prayer. We are called to plant seeds and to remain open for opportunities to share our faith without forcing it on anyone. Briefly mentioning the identity of our “higher power” as Jesus during the meeting can be entirely appropriate. Elaborating further can easily be accomplished in a respectful manner following the meeting, over lunch or coffee, or even on the phone.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… 1Peter 3:15
The biggest eye-opening tool to share Christ with our 12-Step friends one on one is right at our fingertips — and there are no restrictions on sharing it! It’s a proven fact that the 12 Steps came directly from God’s Holy Word, the Bible! When this point is revealed to someone desperately hanging onto a 12 Step program, (and their doorknob), the inevitable happens more often than not — they begin to investigate the Bible and find the Author not only as their “higher power” but as their Lord and Savior as well.
Let your light shine
Overcomers Outreach is a bridge to 12 step meetings and church congregations. Churches have members in need of 12 step recovery and 12 step meetings have members in need of the Church. We go to meetings and we go to church, walking with Jesus at all times. Both places benefit by what we bring – God’s Love expressed through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Praise God!
Alcoholics Anonymous (212)870-3400
Cocaine Anonymous (800)347-8998
Narcotics Anonymous (818)773-9999
12828 Acheson Dr.
Whittier, CA 90601