The truly godly and spiritual are called to a ministry of restoration. So, how “spiritual” are you?
When we get in the dirt with the ones who hurt, it might be messy and even a little misunderstood by others, but we never know when our act of mercy poured out over someone’s mess might lead to something miraculous and marvelous in their lives.
How are you doing spiritual one in your ministry of restoration? Or your ministry of reconciliation? How is your spirit of gentleness? How longsuffering are you with those who are in the process of restoration?
All believers are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We are all called to carry out the ministry of reconciliation and restoration as we follow Christ.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Oh So Spiritual Question #1?
Am I an ambassador or an accuser?
In John 4, Jesus encounters the woman at the well. After uncovering the fact that she had 5 previous husbands and was now living with a man, this Samaritan woman immediately recognizes Jesus is a prophet. Jesus goes beyond speaking prophetically to this woman who is not just physically thirsty, but spiritually in need, by offering Himself, The Way, The Truth and the Life to her. Immediately, with a living well overflowing from her new heart, she goes back to her town testifying of her experience with Christ as The Messiah.
In John 8, the oh so spiritual scribes and Pharisees lovingly bring the woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. We can already see how helpful and loving they are by their involvement with this type of public street ministry. How sacrificial, selfless and servant spirited of them. They even were so kind as to make sure she was able to sit right in the center of the crowd. This just happened to be the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, and so many visitors were still in Jerusalem to observe this random act of kindness. No, the Pharisees had the spirit in line with their name of rendering only what is “fair you see” and no, no, no mercy. They felt called to fulfill that glorious ministry of legalism, judging and stoning. On this day, the scribes and Pharisees were on a mission to recruit Jesus to help them carry out their mission by the letter of the law. Instead, Jesus, who fulfilled the law, demonstrates the highest law of love and mercy. And, yes, He did tell this broken and humiliated woman to go on her way and sin no more – mercy, truth, and the encouragement to get on the road that leads to a new way of life.
…for the letter (of the law) kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. James 2:13
Mercy triumphs over judgment when Jesus is present.
How many of us need to drop some of our unmerciful stones?
If we are going to throw stones, we need to follow King David and hurl them toward the giant accuser of all of us saved by grace brothers and sisters. Yes, there is a time for judgment and justice and laws and consequences, but that’s another topic.
Back to reconciliation and restoration and the ministry we are ALL called to. I can’t recall any verses calling us to the judgment ministry?
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Matthew 7:1
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
Often, even us oh so spiritual ones, are not so active in the ministry of reconciliation and restoration. When it comes to our own past failures and sins, and even our present ones, we seem to have amnesia or short term memory loss.
Here are a few other thought provoking questions to ponder?
- Am I following Jesus’ footsteps by offering truth, mercy, and words of life, or at least a prayer?
- Have I fallen into the prideful place of promoting myself as a judge?
- Am I stooping down in the dirt with someone who is broken, hurting, and needing forgiveness and redemption like I have received?
- Can I go low to help take another person higher?
- When I see a person who is caught in sin, addiction, or any kind of bondage, do I stand with fist clenched hands full of stones ready to beat them to death through hurling accusations of judgment over them?
- Am I ready with my wellspring of rivers of living water flowing from my heart and tongue to offer someone who has been caught in sin truth, forgiveness, and mercy like Jesus?
- Am I ready to help someone else fill their empty water bucket, which may be drained dry from their own sin, failures of their past, poor choices, or as a result of the victims they have become due to the lies and tactics of Satan?
- Am I a part of at least praying for or supporting ministries that restore people to wholeness and the opportunity to begin a new, productive and God honoring life?
Now, of course, some do not want reconciliation and restoration, or the kind Jesus offers them, or they may not recognize their need for His forgiveness and redemption. In those cases, we simply need to pray.
But for all the hurting, wounded, and broken that are hungry and thirsty for truth, forgiveness, mercy, redemption, and healing, we who profess to be the so called spiritual believers need to be ready to offer them words of life. We further need to be willing to lead them along the pathway of new life in Christ. Instead of throwing stones, we should be living stones helping those who desire restoration to rebuild their lives on The Rock of Christ. This ministry of restoration should always be carried out in a spirit of gentleness, love, and peace. Let’s be reminded, but for the grace of God, where would any of us be.
Lord, remind me today to recall and be thankful for ALL the amazing love, mercy and forgiveness You so lavished upon me. Thank You Lord. Help me, Lord, to be used in the ministry of redemption, reconciliation and restoration by the Power of Your Holy Spirit in my life. Amen.
John 3:16-17; 4:1-27; John 8:1-11; John 14:6; John 10:10; Matthew 6:14-15
Therefore if anyone is in Christ that is, [grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior), he is a new creature (reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit); the old things (the previous moral and spiritual condition) have passed away. Behold, new things have come (because spiritual awakening brings a new life). But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ making us acceptable to Him) and gave us the ministry of reconciliation so that by our example we might bring others to Him, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them (but canceling them). And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation (that is, restoration to favor with God). So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we (as Christ’s representatives) plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. He made Christ who knew no sin to (judicially) be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God (that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness). 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
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