Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the
wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'"
When John the Baptist was preparing the way for Jesus, he told the people to repent or "make a 180" as we
would say in today's vernacular. They were to turn away from their sins in order to be prepared for the
Messiah. This we must do also in order to live daily with the Messiah who came, Jesus the Lord. In step 6,
we repent of our sins - all of our known sins and not just our addictive behaviors - that we have uncovered
in step 4 and confessed in step 5. In this way we can be prepared to also live faithfully with the Messiah
on a day-to-day basis.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as
those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
The entire chapter of Romans 6 talks
of our new life in Christ following a baptism into the likeness of His death. Christ died and then rose
again and death has no more dominion over Him. In the same way, as Christians we are to die to sin so that
it will not have dominion over us. As addicts, this means that we are to die to those things that once
enticed and seduced us. Through the previous steps we should have discovered what this dying means exactly
for us in our personal life. We now yield our body to righteousness instead of to the sin of our addictive
behaviors. This chapter of Romans makes clear and we also know from experience that this dying to sin is a
continual process - "a day at a time", as the 12 step saying goes. We become servants of doing what is right
and good and in that we find the freedom that we could never have had in our addictive behaviors.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
In this passage, Paul is talking about whether believers should be circumcised or not, putting themselves
under the bondage of the law. Paul points out that they were freed from that law, so be sure not to go back
to it. In the context of our addiction. we can say that since we have been freed from our addictive
behaviors through the grace of Christ Jesus, then we are not to be entangled again with the yoke of the
bondage of our addiction. We are to stand fast, to abide in and remain in the liberty which Christ has given
us and set us free. God leaves this choice up to us. We should always remember that the true choice then is
not between the "comfort" of our addiction or not, but between liberty and bondage. By now we should be wise
enough to choose liberty. That is what the sixth and seventh steps are all about - to make this choice of
liberty for our lives and not be entangled again with bondage.
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility
They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that
them, due to their hardness of heart.
They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of
But that is not the way you learned Christ!--
assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful
and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
The apostle Paul is telling us as Christians as he did to the Ephesians to make our walk with Christ
consistent. We are to discard the defects of character that alienate us from God, for it was not through
these defects that we learned Christ. Having completed the 4th and 5th steps, we know that the life of the
old man was indeed corrupt through deceitful lusts. We are admonished to put these old things away and to
put on the new man and be renewed in our mind instead. That is why God originally created us as He did - to
live in righteousness and true holiness.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and
covetousness, which is idolatry.
On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but
Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness,
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord
has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
One of the difficult things about getting rid of our addictive behaviors is that they are often wrapped up
in so many other parts of our character and habits. In our lives we have learned to accept many character
defects in conjunction with our addictive behaviors. Although lying or stealing may not have been our
primary addiction, we may have learned to lie or steal or any of a host of other character defects in order
to conceal the tracks of our addictive behaviors. By step 6 we have made an inventory and "come clean" with
ourselves, our God and someone else about all of these incidents in our lives. Step 6 is about our
willingness to not only give up our addictive behaviors, but also all of the character defects that surround
them. Of course, this does not make it a "done deal". We will always need to be vigilant against our defects
of character. But as Christians, we are called to continually give them up, as outlined in this passage. In
that way we will not only be free of our character defects but it will guard against our falling back into
our addictive behaviors.
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the
joy of the Holy Spirit,
so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in
God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.
For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to
God from idols to serve the living and true God,
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath
In this passage, we see how the Thessalonians willingly turned from their idols to actively serve the true
God through Christ Jesus, even to the point of having "much affliction". Yet at the same time, there was
"joy of the Holy Spirit". In our addictive behaviors, we also were serving idols, and in the sixth step we
make a decision that we want to give up all of the things that led to that idolatry, to have God remove
these defects of our character. The Thessalonians give us an example of doing this willingly and afterward
being an example to many others of what it meant to live faithfully with God.
The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.
They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues.
They did not repent and give him glory.
The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into
darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish
and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.
This passage from Revelation is revealing in that it shows how stubbornly people can hold on to their idols.
The judgment of God is coming upon people here for their wicked deeds. But the judgment of God in this case
does not lead to repentance. It leads only to more wickedness in blasphemy and cursing of God. The lesson
for us as addicts is to not be like this. We have lived in wicked deeds before God. We have made something
into an idol that was never meant to have that much power in our lives, whether it was alcohol, drugs, sex,
pornography, food, money, status, a certain appearance, unhealthy relationships or any of a host of other
traps in our world. By the sixth step we should be fairly aware of how these things have harmed us and
brought the judgment of God upon our lives. Instead of being like those who perished in judgment in this
passage, we can learn from our mistakes, repent of our deeds and of our thinking of the past and find
protection and peace in the love and mercy of God through Christ Jesus.