As a blogger/writer I cannot help but to notice the stats page. It is interesting to see how many people read about what you have written. As I was looking at my traffic from last week I noticed the most popular read to date is “Restoration in Failure.” The idea is even when we fail God restores us. He has a journey that He wants us to follow, and even if we get detoured, He will help us get back on the right path.
As I thought that idea I remembered that Jesus came to earth with the goal of restoring humanity. In Mark chapter 2, Jesus was having dinner with sinners and tax collectors. The leaders of the day could not understand why He would eat with these kinds of people. Jesus responded to them in verse 17 saying,
“When Jesus heard this, He told them, ‘Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.'”
The people who needed Him the most, Jesus wanted to be with. Too often we forget as Christians that we have been restored. The old nature that was in us is now gone. II Corinthians 5:17 says,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
When we decide to have Jesus be the Lord and Savior of our lives, that is when we become Christians. In that moment we are changed. The old is gone, and new things have come. While we have been made a new creation, there is still the struggle that comes after salvation. It’s not like we get saved, and then become perfect overnight. The truth is we get saved and a new struggle begins. The struggle is between the old sinful nature, and the new creation or spirit that inside us. Paul write in Galatians 5:17 saying,
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. (NLT)
We have these two conflicting sides inside us, but Paul does help us understand the difference between the two. Galatians 5 is well known passage about the fruits of the Spirit, but Paul before that gives of the fruits of the flesh.
So how do we as Christians remain on the path of restoration. I think Scripture has already laid out a plan for us. I have some ideas below, and verses that help support it. (1)
- Be involved in a local church. I don’t mean just show up on Sundays, be involved. Serve either on Sunday or during the week. You should also be giving regularly. An easy way to combat greed is to give God His portion. Colossians 3:16
- Be a part of a small group. If your church does not offer any form of small group that you can join and be a part of, then find one at another. This is where you can share about the struggle, and join people who are in the same struggle. Hebrews 10:25
- Give up something that leads you to sin. It could be a variety of things: people, job, location. You have to see and plan for when temptation is the strongest. Matthew 5:30
- Make prayer and Bible study a regular part of your day. If you have a smartphone, and you do not have YouVersion installed, then your phone is lacking. Not only do you have the Bible at your fingertips, you also have access to various Bible study and devotion plans. It even sends daily reminders. 2 Timothy 3:17-17
The four ideas above are only a start, and as you are on your path of restoration, you will see that God will guide you along the way. These are things that have helped me in life on my journey of restoration. When I first started to teaching we were at a church that did not make it easy to be involved with. It hurt my faith tremendously. When we changed churches that summer, I could tell that I was more focused on Him. Being part of a small group helped me make wise decisions. I almost left the school that I am teaching at two years ago. My small group leader pulled me aside, and asked me what benefit would I receive from leaving. It was from that conversation I saw God did not want me to change schools.
As we journey closer to Christ, there will be detours and stops along the way. Will we be perfect in this life? I do not think so (2). But if we have the right foundations in place, we will be able to grow closer to Him, and follow the path He has put ahead of us.
1. I did not type out the verses here, but I wanted to include references to encourage you.
2. I know some out there believe in the idea of Christian perfection. I do not, and that is an other post for another day.