By Brandon Sutton
I remember working the steps with my sponsor. When we got to step three, we went into the church sanctuary and kneeled at the altar. As I bowed my knee, I repeated a prayer found in the AA big book. “God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!” (Pg. 63). Though I don’t agree with everything written in the AA Big Book, I do like that prayer. It’s a prayer of complete surrender much like Paul’s appeal to the church in Rome that they would present their “bodies as a living sacrifice” to God. This is the essence of step three, giving our lives to Christ.
Step three according to Regeneration (Founded by Water Mark Church) says, “We decide to trust God with our lives and wills by accepting his grace through Jesus Christ.” I like this much better than the language we see in step three from AA or NA. Step three according to Alcoholic Anonymous says, “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” I understand why they wrote it this way. They want people to ease into the “God” concept by developing a god of their own understanding. Bill Wilson’s newly sober friend knew that the idea of God would not sit well with Bill. So, he suggested, “Why don’t choose your own conception of God?” (Alcoholics Anonymous. Pg. 12). And Bill did. As did many others who followed him in the program. To this day, countless recovering addicts and alcoholics believe in a god of their own making.
As Christians, we cannot adhere to this advice. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”(1 Timothy 2:5). Through Isaiah the prophet, the Lord declared, “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior” (43:11), and “besides me there is no god” (Isaiah 44:6). Christians cannot maintain nor can we encourage the belief in a make-believe god, because it is the essence of idolatry. Idol worship at its core is worshiping a false god. Believing in a god we contrive in our minds is breaking the first and second commandments.
Jesus commands us to follow Him. “If anyone would come after me” said our Lord “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.35 For whoever would save his life[d] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? (Mark 8:34-37). This is the basic truth behind step three. Once we admit that we’re powerless over our sin (step 1), and we come to believe that God can restore our lives (step 2), then we must make a conscious decision to give our lives to the Lord and follow Jesus Christ. Surrendering to God means following Christ. You have not given your life to God until you have denied yourself and become a follower of Jesus. You may believe in God, but unless you have submitted to the Lordship of Christ, you are not truly a child of God.
Jesus Christ is Lord, and every knee will bow before Him (Philippians 2:9-10). At this moment, He is graciously calling all men to humble themselves, believe in His perfect work to redeem sinners and confess Him and King (Romans 10:9-10). For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
If you’re reading this article, I’m guessing you believe in God. I’d even be willing to bet that you attend church and consider yourself to be spiritual, but have you have you bowed the knee to Jesus Christ? He will accept nothing less, because He deserves nothing less. Jesus lived and died for sinners. God raised Him from the dead, and there is other name under Heaven by which men may be saved (Acts 4:12). Come to Him and receive His grace.