The Great Restoration: Part I “Newness of Life”
This week Pastor Charlie kicked off a new series called “The Great Restoration,” which focuses on this parable told by Jesus:
“No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. (Luke 5:36-38 NIV)
Although many of us carry scars from the past – whether they be from things that happened to us, such as abuse or neglect; addictions we have faced; or bad decisions we have made, we all have the opportunity to experience complete and full forgiveness in the eyes of the Lord.
Your Complete Restoration
We all have the potential to experience this powerful “newness,” which is more than just a patch covering the “old” us. It’s a complete and total transformation!
But what if we only desire God to “patch us up” or “fix” us in one or two problem areas, and not allow Him to completely take over? What if we hold on to certain areas that we think are “okay” and that God won’t mind us holding on to? What if we choose not to read the Bible or learn more about how we can change? What if we only say we want to become new, but don’t take a step of faith and trust God?
When we say to God: “I want to stay the way I am, I just need some minor repairs here and there,” we are limiting the full potential of God’s blessings and His plan for our lives. Do we want new blessings, a new future, a new life? Or just a little patch in a certain area?
Learning to Release
Sometimes we hold on so tightly to certain areas of ourselves or behaviors we have. Why is this? Is it for earthly comfort? Is it because we don’t know how to change? Is it because we are blaming others for our behavior? (For example, we might tell ourselves: “My dad always struggled with this issue, so I will to.” or “My family treated me this way, so that’s the only way I know how to treat others.” or “Everyone I know does this type of thing, so it must be okay for me to do it too.”). No, these excuses don’t have to be true for you! Recognize that that type of thinking is just the enemy talking to you, trying to break you free of God’s promises. The enemy wants you to live in a cycle of shame, self-pity, lack of self-discipline and belief in your failures.
But God wants to fully restore us and change us entirely. He has a plan for each one of us, but we won’t see it if we’re looking down at our failures and not up at Him! God has a plan for our regenerated heart! That’s why we need to know we’re forgiven and that our past is in the past – that it’s behind us and not ahead of us, that we can be made brand new.
Setting Our Hearts Right
God’s original intent when He created man and woman was for us to walk with Him. But something happened when Eve took a bite of the forbidden apple, and it’s never been the same since. There is sin on earth and life can get tough. It can feel old and stale, disappointing and exhausting. But walking with God gives of the feeling of being young and new in spirit, despite of what the enemy throws at us. It’s true. But do you know how? Many of us have forgotten what it’s like to feel excited and full of belief in positive things for our lives. That is why Jesus tells us to live like children – full of new ideas, excitement, energy, trust, creativity, and a desire to learn.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:3-5 NIV)
When is the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you felt creative and full of energy? When was the last time you had a new idea or learned something new?
Did you know that most of us relate more to our past than we do to our future? Why is that? Why don’t we realize how big and how great God is, and how many good things He has in store for us? Why don’t we live like children?
Restoration is of God
God will do new things in a regenerated heart. When we learn to release the old things we’re holding on to, and let God completely restore our thoughts, our outlook on the future and most importantly, our hearts, we allow new blessings to emerge. It could mean a marriage is saved and renewed, a relationship with a child is made right again, a financial burden is released, an old grudge is gone, or an illness is cured. Let go of the past, and allow God to restore you.