Step 4. Spiritual Principle: COURAGE
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
((Lamentations 3:40) Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the lord.)
Many people dread step four because they think that they will have to sift through their whole life's story and
figure out what makes them tick, or not tick. I know how painstaking these step four experiences can be, I have done several
of them during treatment, and I have also helped others work through theirs. I'm sure this step kind of helps someone to see
the big picture of their life's actions and behaviors, and I do think this is necessary if you are going to see what is wrong
with your life and change it. After my fourth step, I was able to better understand my life and see patterns of pain and wrong
behavior that kept repeating themselves. For the most part, my fourth steps (when forced) did nothing but help me put my life
into a readable story that I could use to get a clearer focus of it with. But I have noticed over the years, it has been the
Holy Spirit that has led me through my fourth step. He has painstakingly walked me through my life, and He explained what
happened, the decisions I made because of what happened, the mistakes I made, and also to understand who I am as a person,
and why I do the things I do. The fourth step needs to be accomplished with the help of the Holy Spirit to make it really
work. He knows everything about you; your history, your thoughts, your desires, your fears, the lies you live by, what has
hurt you, and what you have done to hurt others.
When we work on our fourth step, it is more of a state of constant cooperation with the Holy Spirits daily work
in us, than it is just trying to fill a square in our recovery process, I don't think it can be forced. Every day that you
get up, He will talk to you during that day and tell you things about yourself and how they relate to your life and to others.
He will take you back to the original traumas that took place in your life that damaged you. If an airplane gets dented, has
holes in it, or parts missing from it, it may still fly, but just not very well or safely. You are that airplane, and even
though you get up and drag yourself to work, you have damage that has been done to you that must be healed in order for you
to live free from addiction and to truly be happy in life. The Holy Spirit acts as an inspector that knows the airplane better
than the airplane does. He will walk you around and show you each problem that has been limiting your capabilities in life,
and show you how to repair them with His truth. You can be repaired; you are not too damaged to be made whole again.
God likes challenges so don't feel that He can't handle what you lay at His feet.
I believe we need to be open to all the steps at once, because even though the Holy Spirit will work you through
many as a progression, He will also work you through them simultaneously if need be. When you go through recovery and work
through the twelve steps, you will be getting constant revelations about yourself no matter what step you are on, so be open
to listening all the time, and letting the Holy Spirit show you, "You". A moral inventory helps us to basically see our life
more as it really is, rather than how we would like to see it. Before we recover, we tend to blame-shift most of our bad behavior
onto someone else and play the victim role, we transfer our actions onto what someone did or didn't do in our life. We must
see our life and actions clearly, so that we can work them out honestly and have real growth and real freedom from addiction.
A surgeon has to see the real problem inside someone, and talk to that person about what’s really wrong, before He can
operate on them. He cannot do surgery based just on opinion, he will need to explore and examine the body until He is sure
what is wrong with it. We must allow the Great Physician to come and give us the diagnoses of our life's actions and do spiritual
surgery on us.
I would encourage you today to pray and ask God to walk you through your fourth step and He will be faithful to
do just that. He is gentle and He knows literally everything about you, especially all the blind spots you have had that keep
causing the wrecks in your life. He knows exactly what you need to know about yourself, to fix yourself. When you need your
car fixed, you don't take it to McDonald's, you take it to the dealer to fix it, and that dealer uses the information provided
to them by the manufacturer to fix it. The Holy Spirit is both the dealer and manufacturer of your body, soul, spirit, mind,
and plan for your life. Morality is simply God's rules for a happy life. When He takes us through our fourth step, He shows
us clearly the how's and why's of what has been causing us to keep breaking His rules, and suffering terrible consequences
because of it. You will get through your fourth step, you will get to know yourself, and you will learn why you do
the things that you do and God will help you to change for the better.
Here is a prayer to pray if you need it.
"Dear God, I'm sorry for the ways that I have missed the mark, and ignored the good rules you have set for me to
live by. I ask God that you would show me clearly in whatever ways I have been doing the wrong things that have produced bad
results in my life. I ask you Holy Spirit, to talk to me and to tell me everything about myself that I need to know, and what
I need to do to change in those areas. I offer myself to you right now God, without condition, to hear and listen to whatever
you have to say to me about my life, and the wrong choices I have made. Help me to understand my life and behavior and to
come to a place of peace over them both. Thank you for helping me Lord, in Jesus name I pray, amen."
Some scriptures to help you.
LK 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus
told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee
stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even
like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
LK 18:13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat
his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
LK 18:14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone
who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."