Ernest Kurtz wrote a book about the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was entitled “Not-God” because, he says: the fundamental problem alcoholics have is that way down deep, they refuse to acknowledge limitation, weakness, being finite, being fallen. They tend to live under the delusion that they are in control of everything, when the truth is, they can’t even control themselves.
Thus the first step in the 12 Step AA process is to recognize a “higher power”–one that is not you. It is to say, I have weakness and limitation. I am not in control of everything in my universe. I need help from a power greater than myself.
But you don’t have to be an alcoholic to recognize the obvious. The “I am not God” illusion is not limited to someone with addiction, but is a spiritual problem that we all share. In fact, it has been around for all of humanity, back to the Garden of Eden.
When the serpent tempted Eve, he told her, “When you eat this fruit, your eyes will be opened, and you’ll be like God.” That was the first temptation. “You’ll be master of your own universe. You don’t have to submit to somebody else’s ideas; you can make up your own rules. You can be your own boss!” Like God.
That was a lie then, and it is now, and the consequences of buying that lie are often disastrous. It may lead to a life of out-of-control “control,” by medicating one’s life through substance abuse. It may be a life lived in bondage, masquerading as freedom, because we want to live without responsibility or accountability. But as the Scripture says, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” You will certainly reap what you sow.
But on the other side, it’s tremendous pressure for the average human to have to rule the universe every day. The stress of keeping all the plates spinning, of making sure everything and everyone fits your plan, of maintaining the appearance that you’ve got it all together–it is almost too much to bear. And eventually, you either come to realization that you aren’t in control after all–“Not-God”–or you lose it altogether.
The good news today is that there is a God, and you’re not him. He’s not just a “higher power” but a living person, who can be trusted. Better than that, he has already demonstrated that he’s for us, and not against us, and that he loves us, so much so that gave the life of his own Son Jesus so that we could live.So, why don’t you take a deep breath and relax, and let God be God. Receive the fullness of his gospel, and walk with him in his grace. It sure takes a weight off your shoulders, and it will put a joy in your step as well. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.