As I work at the mission and in the context of addiction recovery, I learn a lot about popular Christian psychology regarding addiction. I don't like what I see and hear because it is works oriented. At the core of this Pop Christian psychology you find that there are twelve easy steps to become like Christ. Someone out there took the 12 steps that Alcoholics Anonymous uses and applied a spiritual message to them. They are as follows:
(1) recognize your brokeness
(2) the birth of faith
(3) Allowing God to guide your life
(4) self examine yourself
(5) Confession of sins
(6) inner transformation - aka 'repentance'
(7) purification of character
(8) examine your relationships and prepare to make amends with others
(9) the discipline of making amends
(10) maintaining progress in your recovery
(11) prayer and meditate
As you can see it sounds really biblical. But is it? Is there such a thing as a roadmap to Christian living? 12 basic steps to be perfect. My main beef however is that halfway through the list of Christian living is repentance... Scripture teaches that all of life is repentance... Turning from our idols and addictions (they are synonymous) and looking to Christ. That is not recovery... The semantics of the word seem to stress that when you recover you return to your original state as a human. Instead repentance teaches that you turn from evil to good, from sin to perfection.
'Repentance is the way we make progress in the Christian life. Indeed, pervasive all-of-life repentance is the best sign we are growing deeply and rapidly into Jesus. The purpose of this kind of repentance is to repeatedly tap into the joy of our union with Christ in order to weaken anything contrary to God's heart. [read idolatry]'
- Tim Keller