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March 15, 2019

Perfectly Restored

“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39 (NIV)

How can I be perfectly restored?  Is that even possible?  Most of us are like cut flowers. We look good on the outside, but we lack what is essential to sustain us because we are disconnected from the Source of life.  How can we be restored? To be perfectly restored involves a paradox of faith.  Jesus put it like this in Matthew 10:39,

“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it.”  

What does that even mean?  If I’m to experience restoration in my life, I must lose myself to the Restorer of everything.  Eugene Peterson, in The Message, paraphrases that verse like this,

“If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to Me, you’ll find both yourself and Me.” 

So, what is your first concern?  If I want to find myself – to be restored to my true self, I must lose myself to the Restorer of everything.  He is the only One who can restore my soul.  Even when all that I hoped for fails, even when my body wears out, hope sustains me because I am connected to the Source of life!  Despite unimaginable pain and loss, the Apostle Paul said,

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV) 

When I lose myself to the Restorer of everything, I find hope and confident assurance in the final restoration of all things!  One day, I will be perfectly restored!    

To be perfectly restored, I must let go of my losses to the Restorer of everything.  It’s natural to grieve your losses.  Loss hurts.  Really, life is a series of goodbyes and loss when you think about it. The question isn’t whether you will experience loss, but are you holding onto your losses?  Do you see them as final?  When I let go of my losses to the Restorer of everything, something remarkable happens!  I discover that I haven’t really lost anything.  God is keeping it all in heaven!  When Peter wrote to Christ followers who had lost so much, he told them,

“… Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose from the dead. And God has reserved for His children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”  1 Peter 1:3b-4 (TLB) 

Peter was saying that, because Christ defeated death, nothing is ever lost!  He’s keeping it in heaven beyond the reach of change and decay!  Nothing is ever lost if you know where it is.  God has promised that He will restore all things!  But, here’s the thing – only those who let go of their losses to the Restorer of everything will experience the comfort and hope He offers.  Jesus said,

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4 (NIV) 

Loss hurts.  It’s painful.  We mourn our losses, and those tears are precious to God. When we let go of our losses to Him, we find restoration!  In fact, we join all of creation, longing for the restoration of everything!  Sin affected everyone and everything in our fallen world.  The Bible says,

“For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us.” Romans 8:22-23 (NLT)

In that final restoration, we will be perfectly restored!  The Bible says,

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (NLT) 

Hallelujah!  What a promise to hold onto!  The next verse adds, 

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:5a (NIV) 

Do you long for that day?  When faced with his own death sentence, the Apostle Paul wrote:

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV2011)

Paul knew he would be perfectly restored!  He longed for the restoration of everything.  And he said there is a great reward awaiting all those who share that same longing! Hope will not disappoint you!  We hope for that which we have not yet seen!  One day, everything will be restored, and all things will be made new!