CR Devotional Lesson 3
After years of participating in Celebrate Recovery, we may be surprised to find that some of our good friends are former drug addicts, sex addicts, alcoholics or controlling codependents. We’ve learned that we’re more alike than we are different. We all struggle and we all make mistakes. Some of us hurt ourselves and others without breaking the law. Some of us break the law and scrape by without getting caught. And some of us break the law, get caught and spend time in jail or prison.
Men and women are being incarcerated at an alarming rate. Eight percent of prisoners are addicts, and fifty percent of them committed their crimes while they were high. More than seventy percent of female prisoners are victims of sexual or physical abuse.
While in prison, a person’s feelings of powerlessness can be overwhelming. Prisoners don’t get to choose who to live with, what to eat, what to wear, when to go outside or stay inside or what time to get up in the morning or go to bed at night. One young woman explained that incarceration provides an environment without choices, decisions...or hope.
However, more and more prisoners are beginning to find the hope to change their lives through their Higher Power, Jesus Christ. By facing their denial and powerlessness, they can begin their recovery. Prisoners are studying the bible, working the steps and forming accountability teams to help them learn different behaviors that will enable them to cope with life both inside and outside the prison walls.
Many of us are trapped inside our own walls. Sometimes we’re afraid to hope for a life free of hurt or pain. We don’t want to be disappointed again. We may think we don’t deserve a better life. Or we may assume that our faith is too small to get us through the process of change. But we can break the chains of our past by putting our faith, no matter how weak or strong, in our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
In the first recovery principle, we admitted that we were powerless. It’s through this admission that we’re able to both believe and receive God’s power to help us recover. However, we do need to resist the temptation to cover the bottomless pit of our hurts, hang-ups and habits with layers of denial just to try some quick fix. Instead, we need to keep those hurts exposed to the light so that through God’s power they can truly heal.
In working this principle we come to understand that God wants to fill our lives with his love, joy and presence. One of the much-loved parables of Jesus is found in Luke 15, the story of the lost son. On the surface the account is about a father’s love for his drifting son, but its deeper message is of the unconditional love of God the Father for us. God’s love is looking for us; no matter how lost we may feel. And God’s searching love can find us, no matter how many times we may have fallen into sin. God’s hands of mercy are reaching out to pick us up and to love and forgive us.
It’s in Jesus Christ that we find hope, and that’s why Principle Two is called the “hope principle.” We find that eternal life doesn’t begin with death; it begins with faith. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith for us: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We can’t find salvation through intellectual understanding, monetary gifts, good works or church attendance. No! the only way to salvation is described in Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
All we need is a little faith to begin the journey of freedom from our hurts, hang-ups and habits. Faith-even faith the size of a tiny mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) is the only avenue to salvation and freedom. When we put whatever degree of faith we have in Jesus, he promises that our lives will be changed. We’ll find the hope for which we’ve been searching in the only Higher Power, Jesus Christ. His Spirit will come with supernatural power and move in our hearts.
Simply put, life without Christ is a hopeless end; with Him it is an endless hope!
- What hurt, hang-up or habit in your life has been keeping you a prisoner? How has it affected your life?
- How is Hebrews 11:1 meaningful to you? How has the description of faith in this verse helped you put things in perspective?
- How has the “new hope” you’ve found in Christ changed your life?
- What has the statement “life without Christ is a hopeless end; with Him it is an endless hope” meant in your life?