Perspectives on Restoration (6)
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3.1, 2
For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2.16
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4.8
As I write, a worker is in our basement, which we recently had finished to house my study and our bookstore. The work took several months to complete; and the finished product is lovely, eminently usable, and honoring to the Lord. It meets our needs both for now and the foreseeable future, as we consider other ways this room may be used in serving the Lord.
For now, the worker is busy tearing down sheetrock from the walls and ceiling, and preparing to rip up a portion of the floor.
A ruinous, corrupting, destructive power has found its way into our new basement. Rainwater. Sinful water, I’m sure. That beautiful design and finished work, that welcoming and productive space, that delightful décor are ruined, and are being torn down. Once the workers find how the water is coming in, and fix that leak inside and out, the work will begin to restore our basement to its original state of goodness, beauty, and comfort.
Of course, Susie I could just look at this mess and say, “Oh well, what do you expect in an imperfect world? Water happens. It’s going to take a lot of work and patience to restore this, and it will not be convenient to have to work around all that activity. Do we really need to worry about this? After all, we’re saved, our sins are forgiven, and we’re going to heaven to be with the Lord and leave this fallen, faulty world behind. Let’s not bother. After all, once this is fixed, there’ll just be something else, and we can’t spend all our time setting things right.”
But we have seen how lovely and good and praiseworthy that room was when our builders finished it. And we just can’t get that out of our mind. And this home has been entrusted to us, to care for it like Adam and Eve in the garden. So of course, we can’t just do nothing. We have to fix the problem and restore the study to its original condition, and bring back the warmth, beauty, and usefulness of this space.
So, we’ve set our minds to getting it right, and we’re trying to be patient as we keep focused on what we know will be the result of this restorative work. Some day.
Sent like Jesus
We have been sent to the world on a mission of reconciliation – just as Jesus was sent (Jn. 20.21; 2 Cor. 5.17-21). Wherever we are in the world, whatever aspects or niches or sectors of the world have been entrusted to us – all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities – have come under the corrupting influence of sin. Things in our world are not the way they’re supposed to be. They were that way when Jesus came, and He devoted all His time and strength to launch the great project of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration which has come down to us today, and will continue until Jesus returns to finish His work of making all things new.
So working to restore the reconciled world is not an option for those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. We have the mind of Christ. We understand that God’s original plan for beauty, goodness, and truth has been compromised and largely set aside. We look to Jesus, setting our minds on Him, exalted in glory and splendor and majesty, and we take up our daily work of ministering the Word of reconciliation into every place where sin has leaked in to weaken, corrupt, and destroy.
Every day we are presented with opportunities to do the work of restoring the reconciled world. We can see areas of needed growth in our own souls, and things in our lives that can be improved and made more honoring to God. We need to think and plan (“consider”, Heb. 10.24) various ways to encourage our believing friends to greater glory in whatever they do (1 Cor. 10.31). We must consider our homes, yards, workplaces, and all our material possessions, and ask the Lord to show us what excellence, goodness, beauty, loveliness, nobility, and glory will look like when these areas are being restored to God’s goodness.
So let’s get busy. Let us pray, “Lord, let Your work appear to Your servants. Establish the work of our hands. Teach us to number our days and make the best use of our time, so that you may be glorified in all that we do” (Ps. 90.12, 16, 17; Eph. 5.15-17).
Every day offers opportunities for restoring the reconciled world, by our words and deeds, following the Word of reconciliation entrusted to us.
Getting the right mindset
How can we make sure that our thinking and planning are aligned with our calling to restore the reconciled world? Let me suggest four import aspects of a restoration mindset.
God’s original plan. First, exercise your mind to understand God’s original plan for the world. Meditate and pray through Genesis 1 and 2. See the goodness of everything God made, the enormous potential for resources to be developed and put to good use, the suggestion of culture, community, collaboration, and the continuous presence of the Lord in all our endeavors. Let that vision outline and color your own vision for that part of the world to which God sends you each day.
See Jesus. Set your mind on Jesus, exalted in glory, reigning in radiant majesty and might, upholding the cosmos and everything in it by His Word of power, working by His Word and Spirit, in and through His Church, to make all things new. Set the Lord always before you in whatever you are doing (Ps. 16.8), so that all your time and efforts will go to His work of making all things new.
Think with the mind of Christ. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially the mind of Christ. We can always learn to think new thoughts, see our lives from the vantage point of being seated with Christ (Eph. 2.6), and allow His grace, mercy, and truth to be the guiding standards for all we do. Yes, we’ll have to work at this, but we’re not going to repair the damage sin has brought into this world without some inconvenience and effort, beginning with learning what it means to think like Jesus.
Be shaped in prayer. Susie and I have been praying about this basement since we first noticed the water coming in after a big storm, now some three months ago. We continue to pray about it, and praying keeps the vision of our beautiful study and bookstore alive, and keeps us calling and emailing and meeting with the people who can fix this, and looking forward to a restored basement, all the damage and corruption merely an unpleasant memory. Pray about your calling to restore the reconciled world. Nothing good or lasting happens apart from prayer; but by prayer and in prayer, we can do all that God calls us to in restoring the reconciled world.
1. Why is the work of restoration an important part of our calling as followers of Jesus?
2. Do you feel ready and equipped to take up this work each day? In what ways do you need to grow or improve?
3. How can you implement more consistently the four disciplines that lead to a restoration mindset?
Next steps – Preparation: Today, give praise and thanks to God that He has entrusted you with this great work of restoring the reconciled world. Then begin putting in place the four disciplines that can give you a restoration mindset.
T. M. Moore
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