A former Japanese boss of mine was fond of saying, “When you think you’re done, you’re half done!”
Perhaps nowhere is this truer than when striving for a change of heart!
My boss used this saying to dispel a common misconception that once you have demonstrated a ‘working’ product, it is basically complete and requires little more effort. Life is not so simple. Unless testing is performed over extreme environmental conditions and a device is put through all of its operating states, it will likely contain hidden fatal flaws. And beyond testing, the quality of the parts used and how they are put together also affect reliability.
So it is with us. If we become comfortable with being marginally functional, we will live with the fears, regret and constant struggle of maintaining a life far below our potential.
When we know we aren’t our best, our spirit cries. Spiritual lethargy is dangerous for any of us, but in addiction recovery it can be devastating. The first five steps, give emancipating power, providing hope, turning hearts to Christ and bringing one to recognize and confess sins. But changes in behavior are temporary unless one undergoes a true conversion and receives a new heart. This is the sanctifying blessing of true recovery.
Step 6 is the invitation to “Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses.“ It is an invitation to everyone to finish the rest of the steps.
Gaining a new heart requires the sacrifice of all our pride and all our unholy and unclean thoughts, feelings and inclinations. A new heart means becoming “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and become… as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love”. (Mosiah 3:19)
President Benson puts it beautifully (Refer to the ARP Guide, Step 6):
“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. . . .
“May we be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, choose to follow Him, be changed for Him, captained by Him, consumed in Him, and born again” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985)
Here is what the Lord promises:
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness…
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
There is no substitute source for a perfectly healed heart than our Savior, Jesus Christ.