The ESV Bible uses the word “restore” 74 times and translates the original Hebrew and Greek with definitions like “to return, to renew, to be in a covenant of peace, to turn around, to be brought up, to be in its former, and to build anew.” This is what God is doing in you. God has already saved you, now He is changing you, making you a new person, helping you live into your new identity, freeing you so you can live fully in His peace. This is so much greater than simply becoming a better person, God’s plan is to make us holy as He is holy. Think back to the things we prayed on week 1… THAT is what God is doing as He restores you.
God compares our restoration to the refining of gold, where the impurities are burned out to make something beautiful and of great value (1 Peter 1:7). This process is also referred to as sanctification (1 Peter 1:2, 2 Thes 2:12). Biblical saints sometimes grew weary in the midst of the refining fire, but found great hope and perseverance as they looked ahead to the promise of Jesus (Heb 11). We have the benefit of looking back at Jesus’ victory for us and forward to the promises of His return where He will healed and whole, when God will make “all of the sad things untrue” (The Jesus Storybook Bible).
Look up with hope! Cling to the promises of God, which are as good as done in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20).
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” Romans 8:11 NLT
The same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead lives in you…! Think about that reality. Talk to God about it.
What area of your life do you need this real, miraculous power to bring change? Try to think less of changing your circumstances and more of a the heart change you need. Talk to God about this, ask Him what part of your heart He wants to change. Ask Him to do it by the power of His Spirit in you!
“Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.”
There are many wonderful gifts God gives us as He restores us, but the best and most important is that God restores us to Himself. Do you believe this? Do you tend to long for things like healing, freedom, and joy more than you long to be near to God? What does this reveal about your deepest desires?
Take this to God, ask Him to show you why being with Him is the ultimate act of restoration, more necessary and satisfying than the other good gifts He gives.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:5-11
What sins are you still living in? What sins have you not allowed to be crucified with Christ? Ask the Spirit to search your heart and show this to you. Confess these continued sins to God. Ask Him to help you turn from them so they can no longer enslave you. Ask God to help you live free, restored in your new life.
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you…And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live… For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off… But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Deuteronomy 30:1-3, 6, 11, 14
Does the thought of embracing a new identity and changing from the inside out feel impossible some days? Talk to God about this. Note in these verses, you are called to take action, to return to the Lord and obey Him. But God also said He will circumcise (or change) your heart. God says He has given you His Word and it will help you. Ask God to help you see what specific steps you need to take to return to Him, and ask Him to help you do it. Thank God for not expecting you to change on your own, thank Him for equipping and helping you.
“[The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me] to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” Isaiah 61:2-4
Pray these verses aloud to God. Thank Him for this picture of how He restores you! God is making you strong and whole so you can rebuild the former devestations of you life (i.e., the old hurts, the past struggles, abuse, your old baggage). He can restore these memories, heal the hurts, help you forgive. What former devastations in your life do you need repaired? Ask God to give you sturdy, deep roots in Him so you can rebuild these ancient ruins with Him. Thank God that He can heal you from your greatest hurts and darkest memories. Ask God to help you trust him as he does this painful work of rebuilding.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3
When you think of yourself, who do you imagine yourself to be? What are the good characteristics that define you? The bad? Talk to God about this. Does how you view yourself align with what God says of you here and throughout Scripture? God calls you His child, His treasured possession (Deut 14:2). His Beloved, the same name He calls Jesus (Matt 3:17). Ask the Spirit to show you how God sees you. Ask Him to restore your identity to match how He views you.
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Revelation 21:2-5
What is something you’re desperate to see happen? Something you think about often, dream about? Something you need? Talk to God about it.
How is that thing different from the picture of what’s to come that God presents in these verses? Honestly, do you hope more for this thing to happen or for Jesus to come back and restore all things? If yes, why do you think that is? Talk to God about it. Ask Him to restore your vision of hope. Praise God for the specific details He lists here. Ask Him to come back soon!