God, as we are coming to know Him


There are a lot of references to God in the twelve steps, and yet AA has managed to stay fairly clear of many of the controversies that go along with religion. They meet often in churches (because churches will donate their facilities more readily than others), but the things that keep people commonly away from church don’t seem to keep them from AA meetings. People come as they are. Some smoke outside during breaks. There may be some raw language used in the telling of stories. No one minds. There is no pastor or even AA leader in charge. No one talks down to anyone; they all talk across. The lead passes from one to another each week, but these are people who have been coming for years and have their own stories to tell. There is no “minister to alcoholics.” If ministry goes on, it’s alcoholics ministering to each other. Most non-Christians are comfortable at an AA meeting because no one is trying to push anything. They’re just trying to help. It’s a totally different environment than church. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

God is mentioned in four of the steps and alluded to in two others. Once He is “a Power greater than ourselves” (often referred to as the “Higher Power”). Once He is simply the male pronoun, “Him.” Twice, He is “God as we understood Him.” For people who feel uncomfortable around any mention of God, there are secular steps and secular AA meetings where all mention of God has been removed, but it’s hardly necessary. “God as we understood Him” pretty much takes care of everyone.

Actually, “God as we understood Him” is a pretty good term for us all. Certainly we have much to understand about God from the scriptures where His attributes are listed and His actions in history can be noted and things deduced from those actions about His character. But “God as we understood Him” implies also a personal knowledge of God that we each have that is unique to us. This is “God as we understood Him,” and God, as we are understanding Him to be each day as we grow in the knowledge of Him. It is a living, experiential reality. I would call it, “God, as we are coming to know Him.”

Our knowledge of God is entirely need-based. We do not come to know God as equals chatting over coffee. We come to know God through our deep and lasting need for Him. He has created in us a hunger that can only be satisfied with Himself, and He allowed us to fall so we would discover how bad off we are without Him.

This is the magic of AA. You come in the door with your need all over your face, your life, your relationships, your heart, and that need takes you to the only one who can truly help you — to the Lord Himself. Call Him whatever you want, He is the savior of the world. 

Millions of people have become sober through AA. When you consider that many of them are meeting God in the process, you realize that sobriety is only a means to a much greater end. The road to recovery leads to the lap of God.

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7 Responses to God, as we are coming to know Him

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Luv this: The road to recovery leads to the lap of God.

  2. Jesus Aguilar says:

    Hello Mark, I pray that this day is the best day of your life and I pray that you open your heart for what is coming from my heart next.
    You are absolutely right John, AA does not have a president, or a minister. What we have is a group conciseness and we stand by our traditions. Tradition 2 For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving GOD as He may express Himself in our group conscience.
    Here is where we insist in staying alert on how we share with others by not using foul language.
    Showing by this act that we are changing; language can be difficult to change but not impossible.
    When a person uses foul language we let it go for one or two times by the third time we call up to his attention of what he is doing and if he does not stop we make him stop and ask the next person to share.
    At the end of each meeting you can see the pairs talking in low voice, meaning we are giving direction or we are listening for questions, these are private. One alcoholic helping another alcoholic.
    Here is where I disclose to my new-comer that my God is the Creator of the universe and He gave His only Son – Jesus Christ for our salvation. Personally I have confessed that I am a sinner and I have asked Jesus to enter into my heart and be my King and I His servant. Then I say: This is my God and now you know it and if you want to have the same God you are welcome to call on Him
    many have done it and some they refuse but we still work together.
    This is how the twelve steps and the twelve traditions help many to come to “God’s lap”
    L — listen
    U — Understand
    V — Validate
    E — Empathize
    Blessings to all.
    Jesus Aguilar

  3. Sandie says:

    The lap of God…Abba…Father…Daddy. What a concept. Something I didn’t have growing up in the church tradition I was raised in. In my young mind, God was not the forgiving person He really is, but an all-powerful being just waiting for my downfall. I used to be afraid to go to sleep, certain that I hadn’t done enough penance to warrant my acceptance into heaven if I died. Like a hamster on a wheel, running, running, running,,,but never arriving.
    That perception hung around even after I got saved and knew better – intellectually at least. Then I saw a movie – one that evangelicals called blasphemy – but for me it opened my heart to the reality of Jesus. The scene in Jesus Christ Superstar in the Garden of Gethsemane – Ted Neely as Jesus, crawling up the hillside, begging God for His life; to find another way to accomplish Their goal – and finally collapsing in obedience to salvation’s requirement – His life.
    For the very first time I saw that Jesus was a human, just like me, depending on God for everything. The healings, the walking on water, the loaves and fishes…everything He did, not in His own strength…because He was just a man for that time.
    He had willingly put aside His ‘God-ness’ to be just like me.To show me that trusting and depending on Him could give me the courage to get out of the boat and walk on water. To trust that when the wind and waves overtake me, He will grab my hand and bring me to safety at His side.
    God the Father I cannot know or fathom…God the Son is a different story. The more I know about this man Jesus, the more I become the person He created me to be. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” For me, He is the lap of God. Amen.

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Hi Sandie, as always I can relate to your sharing, that bring tears to my eyes.
      Seems to me that we walked parallel paths for so much of what you lived and experienced I have had the same.
      The damage inflicted has lasted all through my 82 years on this earth.
      Much, much work of my part and by the Grace of God, today I do not have to live the nightmare of despair, with fear of losing what so freely have been given to me. I use lots of time for meditation and prayer and I have learned to walk in contemplation to the creation of God. This has helped me a lot.
      The journey through the twelve steps make me aware of a possible relationship with my Creator. Relationship that I guard in my heart with all I can. ” I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.”
      This is what I call being in the “Lap of God”. Always protected, always loved, and ready to live eternally at His service.
      Many blessings
      Jesus Aguilar

  4. Sandie says:

    “Nor anything else in all creation”…that means even I can’t screw things up so bad that Jesus will not welcome me back with open heart and arms (The Prodigal Son). More than that, HE WILL REDEEM THAT SEEMINGLY LOST TIME to His glory and my blessing. If we didn’t have our ‘lost times,’ we would have nothing to offer those who are lost now. I don’t think God makes the same separation we do regarding ‘good’ and ‘bad’ circumstances. To Him they are all part of conforming us to the image of Christ. He knows we are ‘only human’ and doesn’t hold it against us…He cuts us a bigger break than we allow ourselves.

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