This is Part 4 in a series on Recovery.
On Recovery, Part 1
The purpose of recovery is not sobriety. Sobriety and self-control over your greatest struggle are merely the initial fruits of a flourishing life.
In a word, the purpose of recovery is connection.
The simplest way to summarize recovery is connection to God, self, and others.
Today, we focus on connection to God.
Alcoholics Anonymous describes it as conscious contact with God.
The ancients use the term union to describe this deep connection to the Almighty.
Jesus called it abiding and invited all to abide in Him, the true Vine. It's the only way to bear fruit.
Constant connection with Christ is the highest purpose you can live for.
What do you fix your eyes on? What excites and captures your soul? What are you willing to die for?
If your focus in life is on what you want in the moment, what makes you happy, serving your country, or even doing the best you can for your family, your vision is far, far too small. These are all well enough, but if they are your life's primary focus, you will be disappointed, deceived, and ultimately devastated.
If you want the best life possible, set the vision of your life on the most meaningful purpose possible.
Set your sights on a constant connection with God alone.
Seek to know God deeply. You can never plumb the depths of knowledge of God, revealed in the Bible.
Scripture is the collection of inspired books that best reveal the mystery that is the eternal Source of all we can see and unspeakably far beyond what we can imagine.
Seek to worship God devoutly.
We are fundamentally worshipers. You are currently worshipping something. Security. Significance. Pleasure. Honor. Wealth. It's all empty compared to the surpassing greatness of worshipping God.
In the modern world, people like to scoff at religion, especially Christianity, which seems simple, antiquated, and unscientific.
Yet the glory of God is beyond mere words, and humanity's feeble attempts cannot measure the Eternal One. God's surpassing greatness is always present yet rarely perceived.
Seek to serve God and, thus, others deeply.
Ask God how and who you can serve each day and as often as possible. When in doubt, or if you haven't yet learned to hear the Spirit's guidance, focus your efforts on sacrificing for those who have less, who despair, who are poor and oppressed in every meaning of the words.
Seek to create beauty in light of the glory of your Creator.
If your purpose is not to give more than you take, create real value in the world, and be generous every chance you get, your life is too small.
Expand the vision of your life to see, serve, and worship the Unbounded One.
To what degree is your focus on worshipping God?
What fear, lie, or selfishness do you need to surrender to allow you to better see and worship God?
How would you describe your daily practice of connecting with God?
Christianity is the transformation of rebels into worshippers of God.
Shane Marks, Sermon on April 16th, 2023
Father in Heaven! What are we without You! What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know You! What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, but half-finished work if we do not know You: You the One, who is one thing and who is all!
So may You give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart, sincerity to receive this understanding; to the will, purity that wills only one thing. In prosperity may You grant perseverance to will one thing; amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing.
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, may You early, at the dawn of day, give to the young the resolution to will one thing. As the day wanes, may You give to the old a renewed remembrance of their first resolution, that the first may be like the last, the last like the first, in possession of a life that has willed only one thing.
Alas, but this has indeed not come to pass. Something has come in between. The separation of sin lies between. Each day, and day after day something is being placed in between: delay, blockage, interruption, delusion, corruption. So in this time of repentance may You give the courage once again to will one thing. True, it is an interruption of our ordinary tasks; we do lay down our work as though it were a day of rest when the penitent is alone before You in self-accusation.
This is indeed an interruption. But it is an interruption that searches back into its very beginnings that it might bind up anew that which sin has separated, that in its grief it might atone for lost time, that in its anxiety it might bring to completion that which lies before it.
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, give your victory in the day of need so that what neither our burning wish nor our determined resolution may attain to, may be granted unto us in the sorrowing of repentance: to will only one thing.
Lord! Make our heart Your temple in which You live. Grant that every impure thought, every earthly desire might be like the idol Dagon-each morning broken at the feet of the Ark of the Covenant. Teach us to master flesh and blood and let this mastery of ourselves be our bloody sacrifice in order that we might be able to say with the Apostle: “I die every day.”
Søren Kierkegaard’s To Will One Thing prayer. From Devotional Classics, Richard J. Foster & James Bryan Smith, Editors
If you don't worship God at all, or to the degree that you desire, start today. Pray and earnestly ask Him to reveal Himself to you until He does. He will, in His time and in His way.
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