This Is Not an AA Advertisement

August 29, 2017

Philippians 2:14-16

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 

CONSIDER THIS

Why do people go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

Because they are struggling with alcohol? Obviously. There’s a better answer. People go to alcoholics anonymous because it works. AA meetings end with the group joining hands and saying to one another, “Keep coming back. It works if you work it.”

AA works because people there are working out their salvation with fear and trembling, because they know God is working in them to bring about his purposes in their lives.

Recovering the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus requires something akin to AA to bring about. Did you notice the term I used there—recovery? AA is about recovery. So is the Christian faith. The Christian life is about recovering the image of God in our every day lives. This process takes the Word of God, the Spirit of God and the People of God. It will not happen in isolation as a fruit of our cloistered quiet times.

What we need is Sinners Anonymous. Hang on! Isn’t that what Church is supposed to be? If I were in charge of church across the whole country one day here’s what I would do. I would cancel our regularly scheduled programs and require everyone to go visit an AA meeting that week instead. Why? Because I want the followers of Jesus to witness what happens when people show up in a room together and get honest and real with one another.

These people start to shine like stars in the sky in the midst of a crooked and warped generation. People go to AA  and they keep going for one reason. There is an ever growing group of people who are growing in freedom, staying sober, and otherwise living lives that work. It is compelling and even irresistible.

I meet every Monday morning with two other men in a kind of Sinners Anonymous group. We call it a New Room Band. Throughout the week we read together. Once a week we meet together. We live in different states so we link up on a call. We spend a little over an hour together asking one another five questions. While together and throughout the whole process we pray together. We are working out our salvation in fear in trembling because we are coming to learn together that God is working in us to bring about his purposes in our lives. Banding together is the most inglorious glorious work I do all week.

Daily Text Nation, my holy ambition is to get you banded together into a New Room Band. It’s not enough to write about all this. It’s not enough to read it. I consider you my parish and as your pastor I’m not going to rest until we are all working out our salvation together and getting on with the Gospel’s glorious work in our lives and worlds.

Then I will say with Paul. . . .

“And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, whose first act of ministry was to band together with twelve other people. I want to be about the real work of the Gospel in my life and in the world. I have wasted so much time on so much religious activity that hasn’t gone anywhere. Lead me to real people to work through the real stuff. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever been to an AA meeting or other kind of recovery group? What was that like?
  2. If you are not working out your salvation in fear and trembling in community with a few other people, how are you doing it? How is that going?
  3. Are you ready to go to the next level. . . knowing that level will be downward? What is holding you back?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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