Cap's Corner: 12-step program to Christianity?

by Cap McIlnay

No, I am not talking about AA. But I got this idea from there. You see, I think AA has a better “blueprint” of how to walk our Christian walk than what most churches preach and teach.

AA, better known as Alcoholics Anonymous, teaches a 12-step program to help people recover from alcohol addiction. Within that program are two very important truths. The first one is this: Only a higher power (God) can help you break the chains of addiction that keep one enslaved. The second is this: You only have the power to control one day at a time. In other words, only fight your battle today, and let tomorrow be tomorrow’s worries.

The former is incredibly important. None of us can live more than one day at a time. We can plan for tomorrow, we can worry about tomorrow, and we can prepare for tomorrow. But in reality, we have no power over tomorrow, today.

Instead of looking at the herculean task of staying sober forever, AA teaches its members how to stay sober today. It’s kind of like this old saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

In the twelfth chapter of Romans, we read: “2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.”

How do we do this? We do it every day.

Before a game or a match, most athletes will visualize what they plan to do during that game or match. You may have experienced this yourself, or you might have seen movies portray this in locker rooms right before games. It is quiet for the most part. You see most players looking calm or even sleepy with their eyes closed. But really, they’re visualizing what they plan to do.

Study after study has shown this to be a very helpful tactic not just for athletes, but for all people. Your brain cannot really determine the difference between reality and visualization, and this helps teach the body muscle memory. Studies have proven that simply visualizing yourself curling a dumbbell will increase your muscle mass slightly – all without even lifting the dumbbell. Your body doesn’t know the difference. Of course, the growth is not huge, but considering that all you did was meditate and visualize yourself doing it, you can’t complain.

So, how does this help us become better Christians?

I have challenged my church – and I want to challenge you as well – to take your Christian walk one day at a time, and to do it with intentional visualization. At some point in the early morning, I want you to “carve out” a few minutes to sit quietly and visualize what the best version of you as a Christian would look like just for today.

Today, I started off by first having a cup of coffee with my wife, and we opened up the Bible. We read some scriptures, and talked about what we had just read. Then we prayed and took some time meditating.

In your meditation, you might see yourself starting off in the presence of God, and thanking Him for all of your blessings. Stay in His presence until you truly can feel that love for God growing within you. Then, visualize yourself getting ready for work with that love for God still glowing in your hart. As you go to work, visualize seeing everyone through God’s love for each person. See yourself speaking to people while you are filled with God’s love. See yourself answering the phone while you are filled with God’s love. See yourself going about your daily business while you are filled with God’s love.

Now, I have to tell you this: Even though I called the challenge, I only did it twice last week. I forgot to do it the other mornings, and this is going to happen. But I must also say this: On those two days, I found more peace and tranquility than I had experienced in some time.

God created us. He created our brains, and he created them to be “reset” by getting into His word and visualizing it. This is not some mystic practice or some “new-age” spirituality. Meditation and visualization have tremendous strength, and they help us in our daily walks.

Join me as we try to become the best versions of ourselves through Christ – one day at a time.