Friday, April 1, 2011

"The Root of Restoration"

In times of waning faithfulness on our part, the Holy Spirit restores born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ by leading us to remember and affirm the abiding faithfulness of God.

"He abideth faithful" (II Timothy 2:13).

"Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:3).

We add insult to injury if we attempt to restore ourselves by fleshly means or determinations. Indeed, our spiritual enemies' primary attack may not be the initial temptation that seemingly fells us, but rather the deceiving enticement to work our way back into God's good graces. Such delusion sets us up for further failure by focusing us on ourselves rather than the writer of Hebrews' clear admonition to "consider Him" as the remedy for times of declension.

"I'll pray more. I'll obey more. I'll keep the Lord more in mind. I'll live more unselfishly devoted to God and others." Surely we will fulfill these attitudes and actions of faithfulness as we experience restoration and cleansing. However, prayerful and deliberative obedience to God and devotion to others are fruits of the Holy Spirit's redeeming work in us. If in our minds such acts of our own faithfulness become the root of restoration rather than its gracious expression, we set ourselves up for further waning of genuine godliness and devotion. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63).

It's a hard truth and often seems counterintuitive, but the spiritual dynamic that began our relationship with God also provides the means that empowers its continuance. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10). Waning faithfulness therefore results from waning remembrance and affirmation of the person and work of the Lord Jesus. The temptations come in a myriad of fleshly forms, but at the heart of all is the attempt to distract us from "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). God's faithfulness is the issue, both for restoration and for the subsequent life of faithfulness to which He calls us. In this moment, forgiveness, cleansing and renewed love for God and others await only our fresh remembrance and renewed confidence in our Lord's devotion and determination...

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

(Philippians 1:6)

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