Stage three involves a drifting or fading away from God reliance and growth in God’s character. Many who go through the Twelve Steps over time can reduce their thoughts, diligence, and actions to keep growing with God’s character through the practice of spiritual principles. Spiritual results come from spiritual activity just as results of muscle development come through exercise and strength training. We are as fit as much as we train to be. Our souls are a result of what principles we follow whether it’s about self-seeking, people pleasing, or God alliance.
Just as it takes time to grow like it takes time for fruit to grow on a tree, it takes time to die or lose our spiritual strength. The time it takes to grow or fade will vary.
A good way to measure our spiritual fitness is to examine our thoughts and insights about our underlying interests, goals, desires, and motivations. Are we desiring to grow with God? Are we thinking about God’s interests most of the day?
Distractions and new goals can sneak in to dominate our interests. A new career, job, hobby, or relationship can easily become our primary interest and reduce our focus upon God. This seems to be relatively normal. David and the disciples got distracted. What makes the difference is getting back on course. Once again we will need to reset our priorities to grow with God.
Just as Twelve Step groups were designed specifically to get people sober, this groups is designed specifically to get people back toward spiritual development and improvement. The substance is merely a symptom of our problem. Fading away from spiritual productivity has consequences.
At three years of sobriety I wanted to die. I was depressed with a negative view on just about everything. This negative view was a direct result with my falling away from spiritual action and commitment to do God’s will. But I learned something of great value in this process. Just as I had to fail in controlled drinking to understand I needed help, I had to fail in running my sober life to realize I needed God. The fact of the matter is that when I whole-heartedly devote myself to God, albeit imperfectly, I get good spiritual results. When I own responsibility for my choices and character development and improve it to align with God’s will, my soul becomes filled. This has been proven to me over decades through action. I am only taught the truth when I walk in it and live the character out.