Step 03 – Turning your life over to the care of God

October 16, 2006

Step 3

Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Now, If you have decided to be serious about recovery, I have some news. You may take this to be bad news, but it isn’t really. You may take it to be obvious, but it isn’t either (or you would be doing it at this point).You need to keep the commandments. In step 3, where we make a decision to turn our life over to God, we commit to keep his commandments. We must do it in order to overcome, or rather to recover from, our addictions.Now, you may think that this is bad news because keeping the commandments is just exactly what you cannot do. Perhaps I am being mean, kicking you when you are down. You know that you need to keep the commandments, so why am I pointing out that obvious point.

Well, based on my experience, I am not sure that you know this obvious point. I used to think keeping the commandments was about not smoking, not drinking, paying tithing, attending church, reading scriptures, praying and fasting, going to the temple, and so forth. While these are things that are involved, they are beside the point. Face it, you don’t have enough time or enough willpower to keep all the commandments all the time. It is an impossible task and, I think, one that God doesn’t expect us to actually accomplish.

So, if keeping the commandments doesn’t strictly mean doing every little thing, what does it mean? I suggest that it means, first and foremost, to do the most important things. The most important thing that you can do in this life is repent. That is a fact regardless of whether or not you are an addict. Repentance is the process by which we work with God to become more like him in this life and in the next.

Furthermore, God wants us to do it. He sent his Son so that we may repent. If we repent, we can return to Him. Like any good father, God just wants his children home.

You may think that you have repented up to this point, but, if you are an addict, it has never taken. The reason it hasn’t is because, in my experience, you never really wanted to keep the commandments. You wanted the benefits of keeping the commandments (feeling of self-worth, temple worthiness, opportunities to serve in callings, etc), but you didn’t want to keep the commandments for their own sake, simply as an expression of love and trust in God.

This is important to understand. Although we don’t like to think of them this way, many commandments are arbitrary. Why, for example, should baptism be necessary? Why doesn’t any dip in any pool count as a baptism? Why must it be done in certain ways under certain authority? Why must it be repeated if the name or the prayer is messed up (after all, God surely knows who is getting baptised and what the words of the prayer are)? The acts and the words are sometimes not important in and of themselves; instead, it is the reason we do them. Shouldn’t we keep the commandments simply because God asked us to and it is a way (perhaps the absolute best way) to show our love for him? While we may initially keep the commandments because of what they bring us (membership, social acceptance, and so forth), if this remains the focus of our commandment keeping, it will always be shallow and we will always be prone to addiction.

So something deeper must change: our will. This is why step 3 encourages us to turn our life and our will over to God. That said, as a start, we must try our best to keep the commandments. God doesn’t expect more from us than we can give and, as addicts, we may not be able to keep all the commandments all the time (making us remarkably like everyone else). However, we can today decide to be perfect in one commandment: repenting. When we fall, which we will, it is God’s will that we turn to Him for comfort, forgiveness, strength to endure, and strength to change. We can approach Him for this no matter where we are at, no matter how good we are at keeping other commandments. Go to Him and He will slowly, steadily, bless you with what you need to change. Then keeping the commandments will take care of itself.

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3 Responses to “Step 03 – Turning your life over to the care of God”

  1. lrw Says:

    I have been interested in the LDS version of the twelve steps. Is this what I would hear at a meeting…a lecture of what I should do? I want to hear personal, honest experiences, no more “you must…”, “we must…”, “us”, “we”, “you”. When I attended other 12 step meetings, It was a belief that no one new the answer for anyone else but himself. All offerings were couched in the terms of “I”, “me”, “my”, and were simply the individuals very own personal experiences without any directives or advice!

    -LRW

    • jca1 Says:

      It is definitely not a lecture. We read the steps, (one per week) then each person has the opportunity (not obligation) to share thoughts and feelings.

  2. Wanda Hopson Says:

    When you know you have a problem and you are seeking help. You should not be so quick to judge how it works before you try it. When said what you should do, it is totally up to you do these things to get better. It is the only way for you to get what you need to get to know that you are your problem and you are the one that will do the steps to get on with your life drug free. So don’t take it as a lecture see it for what it is. You have to work at doing what is right to get better. With out God you can not do NOTHING!


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