I was walking with a friend of mine in the Highlands of Scotland and we came across an old tumbled down cottage at the side of the road. Both of us had been involved in the restoration and modernisation of buildings before God led us to become pastors. We discussed the potential and the processes that would be involved in restoring this old dwelling into something useful. It would be a fairly major project we decided, as we walked on.
Sometimes our lives are in need of fairly major restoration after the damage of years of hardship and wounding and there are parallels to the way a building is restored. For us it’s about our relationship with Jesus, and how we come to be ‘in Christ’.
1. Review your foundations. Are they firmly built on confession and repentance from sin? Our trust in God can’t rest on the ‘shifting sand’ of how we feel. In Jeremiah 15:19 God says ‘if you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me’.
2. Restore the structure. A solid house needs good walls, floors and roof, but it’s good mortar that holds the building together. Forgiveness is key to our relationship in God (Psalm 103:3 says that God ‘forgives all our sins’), and when forgiveness of others is not in place in the structure of our lives they become unsafe. Unforgiveness can be a major weakness in our ‘superstructure’.
3. Reconnect the services (the water and power). This could mean experiencing for ourselves the acceptance by the Father in Jesus. Whatever the past He welcomes us back to Himself, because of the cross. We are reconnected. The story of the Lost Son in Luke 15 reminds of this wonderful truth.
4. Refurnish the dwelling. An empty house needs facilities for daily living, and the filling of the Holy Spirit is an essential part of our restoration process. Jesus said in John 14 that He would ask the Father and the ‘Counsellor’ would come to be with us forever, just as the Father and the Son also come and make their home with us.
5. Return to Life. The building needs to be lived in. Not only does the Lord live in us, but we need to be ‘alive to God’, as Paul says in Romans 6. The dynamic inter-action between God and ourselves is the outworking of the relationship we were created for in the first place (both as individuals and with other disciples as community). We are ‘God’s temple’ (1 Peter 2), ‘a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:22) - a living relationship with the Lord.
Restoration takes time, but as we allow God to work in these areas of our lives, so He restores us into the intimate relationship He intends for us.
Prayer: Oh Father, thank You so much for Your desire for relationship with us. Help us to examine ourselves to see where restoration may be needed, and to follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit as we seek wholeness in the broken down places of our lives. Amen.
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