Restoration Road

What do you do when the people you deeply love continuously hurt you over and over again? I can only imagine what God must feel like when we make bad choices and move away from Him. This pain is deep. This pain is wide. This pain is leaving gaping wounds on my heart and in my soul. 

The road to restoration is a 2-way street but what do you do when you are the only one on it? Turn around and give up? Do you think that’s what God would want us to do? Maybe just park right where I am and wait? For how long? I know that’s what I need to do, pull over and park but it doesn’t make the pain go away or even lessen. 

I have been studying the beatitudes and they are coming to mind as I write this. How can I apply what I am learning from them to this part of my journey?

Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy.

Matthew 5:7

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they WILL see God.

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be sons of God.

Matthew 5:9

I can boldly come before the throne of God and seek HIS mercy and grace. But if we don’t show mercy we receive judgement. If we don’t see God, we are not in heaven. If we aren’t called the sons of God we are outside the family.

John 10:10 says:

The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance. 

When you are the only one on “Restoration Road,” I believe that’s exactly what the devil wants. He wants to discourage us to turn around and give up. He wants to destroy completely the relationships you so desperately want to heal. He doesn’t want you to park and wait. He wants you to turn around and give up.

BUT. . .

James 4:7 tells us:

So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. 

When we place ourselves under the authority of God, HE will give us the strength to resist the devil. HE will give us the endurance to stay parked, waiting for the opportunity to move further down the road, closer to restoration and the abundant life that Jesus promises!

 

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Attitude

Imitating Christ’s Humility

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:1-11

Politicians and other world religions point to unity as being key to a tolerant and harmonious life.

I find it interesting that Paul does not point the Philippians to the idea of Unity itself. But to a deeper foundation which is to be found in humility. Jesus Christ is God and man in one, indivisibly, meekness and majesty, the man who is God and Paul points us to having his attitude. The fact that Jesus was both God and man makes His humility that much more incredible to me. Christ had a higher priority than His own interrupted Glory. Christ did not give up the attributes of God by subtracting His Authority but He accomplished His plan by the addition of His humanity.

When we live with self being our priority and pride our conceit, disunity is born. It’s easy to miss what Paul is not telling us here, he isn’t giving us a list of things to do in order to be in harmony or unity with others, he is simply pointing to Christ and the fact that Christ did not hold onto His Authority but He made himself nothing, a servant. Don’t forget that God didn’t just speak to us from the heights of heaven but He spoke to us by walking with us and speaking to us right here on earth in the Form of Jesus Christ. And during His time with us, He established an attitude that is to be the attitude of His followers.

How does this relate to us in our lives? When was the last time you refused to forgive someone because you waited for them to make it right or you didn’t want to be the first to give in? When was the last time you refused to apologize because it wasn’t your fault? There are few things that we have control over but two are the effort we put into living our lives and our attitude. We must remember the example of Christ, we must live the example of Christ. Thankfully we are not without an unending supply of Grace because we are going to mess this up.

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