Wednesday 25 September 2013

Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted.”

1 Thessalonians 3:9-10 “For what thanksgiving can we render again to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face, and may perfect that which is lacking in your faith?”

The underlined words in the above two texts are the same word in Greek.  In one case we are exhorted to restore a brother who has clearly sinned against God.  In the other text Paul expresses his desire to come and to restore what is lacking in their faith.

This is the ministry that we have all received from the Lord.  It is not the ministry of judging one another, or trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong.  It is the ministry of restoration that we have received.  This is why when we try to walk in the role of a judge, things usually go dreadfully wrong in our lives, or in the lives of those closest to us.

However, when we walk in the spirit of restoration, we exude a peace and a grace that actually attracts others to us.  We exercise influence in their lives because they know that we are not there to judge them, but rather to restore them.

When we say, restore them, it implies one of two things:

a)  They are in sin.

b)  They are lacking in some area of their life.

The beauty in the ministry of restoration is that you can only give if you have received.  You never give out of expertise. As soon as you begin to speak from the theory of a matter, rather than from your life-experience, you step out of the spiritual dynamic that is essential to see people truly set free from their sin and restored.  Effective ministry happens when you give out from those areas where you needed to receive.  And friend, the more you receive from God, the more you have to give to others.

That means that the true key to restoring others is recognizing where you have sinned and where you have lack.  Humility is rarely easy and is often very costly; but it is never complicated.  It begins with your brokeness.  Only when you have truly met the God of grace and mercy in the area of your sin and lack, will you truly emerge as an effective ambassador of the God of truth and love.

Towards the end of his second letter to the Christians in Corinth the apostle Paul wrote about some personal trials he had gone through.  God spoke to him and said,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. “

To this Paul declared, “Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.” (12:9)

We are approaching the end of this fast.  And God has been working deeply in your heart to effect some changes.  Has He put His finger on any sin, and lack?  You must note these somewhere; for from these areas will arise the sweet aroma of God’s presence in your life.  And that, my friend, will lead you into the ministry of restoring others.

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