God is in the business of restoration, and as believers in Christ, He wants to make us whole in every area of our lives. This process transforms us into the new creation that 2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMPC) describes as "(a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away …."
I remember when I desperately needed to recover from the abuse in my past. I had thought that when I was old enough to leave home, I would leave the pain behind, but the problem was in my soul — my thinking and emotions. I needed healing and restoration so I wouldn't continue to be poisoned by things that had happened to me all those years growing up.
I came to this realization after a woman came to speak at our church and shared her testimony of how she had been abused and God had healed her. My husband, Dave, bought her book for me, and when I started to read it, it was so painful that I threw it across the room and refused to pick it up.
But then I clearly heard the Holy Spirit speak to my hear
God had a much better life for me than what I had known up to that point, and He wanted to restore my soul so I could experience it.
Double for Your Trouble
Isaiah 61:7 (AMPC) says, "Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs."
This scripture shows us that God can completely restore us — no matter what we've done or been through. And He wants to bring us to a position that's better than we would have been in if we had never gone through the messes in our lives. He wants to give us double for our trouble!
Notice the phrase "instead of your former shame." Do you know what it's like to have shame in your life? I had a shame-based nature for many years because of the abuse I experienced from my father. It made me feel like something must be wrong with me for him to do the things he had done to me.
But the first thing Jesus gives us through our relationship with Him is righteousness, or right standing with God (2 Corinthians 5:21). It's so important for us to get this, because the enemy wants us to think about everything that's wrong with us so we'll focus on our faults. And when we do this, it just gives our problems more strength over us.
We need to learn how to "walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]," because then we "will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God)" (Galatians 5:16 AMPC). This is what it means to be transformed into the image of Christ. And while it's not an easy process, we can do it with God's help.
The Process of Restoration
Think about it like this: When a person restores a used-up, beat-up piece of furniture, the first thing they do is strip off the old layers of paint or varnish.
We all have things that need to be stripped away in our lives. Maybe it's old attitudes and mindsets that don't line up with the way God thinks and acts … or unhealthy relationships that are holding you back from God's purpose and plans for you. Whatever it is, you can pray, "Lord, strip me of everything that's not good for me, and everything that's hindering my walk with You. Do what You need to do to get it out of my life."
Sanding is another step in the process. Is there anyone in your life whose personality just grates on you? They're like sandpaper, and God uses them to get the rough edges off of us so the good things He has put in us can be developed and demonstrated in the way we live.
And after the sanding, there is sealing. For us, that means we're sealed with the Holy Spirit, "marked, branded as God's own, secured" (Ephesians 4:30 AMPC).
After all this, the furniture must be dusted and polished from time to time. I feel like God is always polishing my life in some area. Our walk with Christ is a lifelong journey that brings us closer to Him and makes us more like Him. That's why we should be thankful when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, or the mistakes we make; it's how He's polishing us to help us stay in God's will for our lives.
Wherever you are in the restoration process, I want to encourage you to set your mind today that God is healing you, and stay focused on following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Trust God to lead you in the way that's right for you, bringing you to wholeness in Christ in every area of your life!