We are in a slumber. We’re asleep at the wheel. Satan has dulled our sensitivities to the things of God. He’s convinced us that our situation is hopeless. We’ve given up on some godly habits, some dreams, some relationships, maybe even the hope that we can have any more in our relationship with God than what we have right now. We’re just going through the motions, struggling with disappointment, confusion, even sin and doubt. Know why? Because we have allowed the enemy to steal what is rightfully ours as born-again believers.
For instance, as my children were growing up, we were very intentional about raising them in a Christian home, having family dinner together, reading the Bible and praying together as a family. We only listened to Christian music, guarded whom our children were allowed to spend time with, and monitored their tech time. As they have gotten older, we’ve relaxed our standards somewhat. And that is a prime opportunity for the devil to get a foothold.
But I’m here today to tell you that God is in the business of restoration. When we come to the point of hopelessness in any situation, He is saying,
“I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19b-20a, NIV).
We are at a crossroads. The choice is ours, just as it belonged to the Israelites on the day God spoke those words to them through Moses. There is a path that leads to restoration, but we must choose to follow it. Only God can bring restoration, but we can set our hearts on that road. It begins with the realization that something is wrong.
I think about the story of David and his downfall into sin. I’m sure he didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit adultery. He had a heart for the Lord, but he was human. He made a series of bad choices that led down the wrong path. One day the prophet Nathan came to him and confronted him in his sin. When David realized the weight of what he had done, he turned to God in repentance as recorded in Psalm 51.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge” (1-4).
You see, David had a choice. He could have made excuses or even denied that he had sinned. But instead he acknowledged his sin and agreed with God about it. Once we come to the realization that something in our lives is off-track, we have the responsibility to deal with it. That responsibility can lead us to repentance as in David’s case, or we may choose to take no action and remain in our slumber, being lulled to passivity by the enemy. Satan wants to keep us there, but God has so much more for us if we will just take hold of it.
Once we turn to God in humility and repentance, He restores our relationship with Him and fills us with the passion and fervor we once had. I love this part of David’s prayer in Psalm 51:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (10-12).
The Hebrew word translated restore, means to “turn back, return, or recover” (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary). God wants us to recover the joy we once had in serving Him and to renew our desire for Him.
Are there some areas of your life that need restoration? Maybe your relationship with Jesus has grown cold and stale; maybe you spend more time reacting to situations rather than being prepared through fervent prayer, Bible study, and worship. Maybe your faith has dulled and you no longer expect to see God act in your life. Maybe you have a broken relationship with a spouse, a child, or a friend that needs to be repaired. Don’t listen to the enemy who will tell you it’s too late. There is nothing beyond God’s reach and His ability to change.
Whatever your need, know that God’s desire is to bring restoration. But the choice to start down that path begins with you. When God brings the realization, take responsibility for your part and repent. As you come humbly before your God with a contrite heart and and a spirit of submission, He will restore to you all that the enemy has stolen. Once He does, you are free to worship with abandon, walk with passion, and work for His Kingdom with joy and peace. Then God will use you to help lead others down the road to restoration for His glory.
“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you” (Psalm 51:13).
Do you want to be more sensitive to the things of God? Do you want to get back the passion for God you once had, be on the offensive against the enemy, pray and expect God to work and bring life and hope back to your situation? Then you have been given the realization. What will you do with it?
“I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life.”