I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
John answered and said, “A person can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.” John 3:27
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15
There are many programs designed to help people deal with addictions. Some of them have steps beginning with: “We admitted we were powerless . . . ”
People who have struggled with addictions know how true that is. Many of us go through life with the thought that we are captains of our own fate, that we have full control over our lives.
The idea that we are, in fact, powerless does not come so easy. This is why we put this task at the end. By the time you have looked at issues like lying, criticism, living in the present, and forgiveness, you will be more open to the thought that you are powerless without help from above.
One morning I woke up and found that my right arm was almost totally numb. I could not move it. I did not feel anything in my fingers. I reached over with my left hand and picked up my right arm. When I let go, it fell to the mattress as if it was made of wood. Fortunately, it did not take long for the sensations and strength to come back. But the memory stays with me as a vivid reminder that my arm has no power of its own. If it were disconnected from the shoulder, or if the nerves were injured, it would be totally useless. Fortunately, it is connected to something higher, and that gives it power. Its power comes from above.
A radio receiver can put out a tremendous sound. If you disconnect it from its power source, it is totally silent. We can see the electrical plugs that connect various appliances to power sources in our buildings, but we do not see the plugs that connect us with God, and so it seems as if we have power from ourselves. It seems as if we can think and act for ourselves. We do not realize that thoughts and feelings flow into us from a higher source.
We might attempt to use our own efforts to make changes in our life. At times, we seem to succeed. At other times, or with other issues, we repeatedly fail. There are some issue that we will never be able to deal with unless we turn to a higher power.
Jesus said that He was the vine, and that we are the branches. Any branch that is cut off from the vine withers and dies. We would perish if we were not connected with God.
Life is strange. As children we learn independence. The child learns to put on his own clothes, or she learns to feed herself. You can hear the pride in a child’s voice: “I can do it myself”.
But over time we realize that we are not as much in control as we thought, and that there are forces in us that we do not understand and cannot manage. Sometimes it takes a crisis, or even a series of crises, for people to come to the point of admitting that they need a higher power in their life. In a way, this is a return to innocence, or a willingness to be led.
In the Bible this is described as “laying down your life,” or “dying.” And the wonderful thing is that when we lay down our life in that way, God gives it back to us. He even gives us a new lower self — a “heavenly” lower self. This new lower self is a feeling that life is our own combined with a total willingness to let God be in charge.
This twelfth task is very personal. That is why we encourage you to create your own task relating to handing your life over to a higher power.