Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. Galatians 6:1.
…restore him gently
While reading chapter 6 of Galatians, the first words draw me back over and over.
…restore him gently
My heart softens and peace fills me as I allow the words to fill my mind. This filling only happens when I am still and quiet before the Lord.
Restore: to bring back into existence; to bring back to a former, original or normal condition; to bring back to a state of health, soundness or vigor.
Gently: kindly; gradually; not severe.
Paul was giving instruction to the Galatians who had strayed from their original teaching on faith. But, this morning, it was instruction for me. During my quiet, undistracted time in my prayer closet, something beautiful happens. The Spirit opens up my mind to the truth.
The leading, guidance, correction…restoration I read about in the Lord’s Word, brings me back to the restoration of my heart.
My step-dad restores cars. The cars enter into the driveway, rusted, gutted, shells of past greatness. My mom sees the pile of metal approaching their lives and wonders what they have gotten themselves into. But, Jan, my step-dad envisions the masterpiece it will be. No wheels, little paint, no windows, no mirrors, no steering wheel, no seats. But, Jan is able to see the potential. He sees what it once was and is confident it will shine once more.
For months, Jan spends tireless hours, carefully modifying the chassis to accept the new style engine. Months are spent making the body structurally sound and preparing the body for the new paint. There are times when we go visit that we are not to enter the garage because it is set at just the right temperature for paint to dry or some other critical transformation to take place.
The instruction for gentle restoration to the Galatians is for every believer. We are to restore our brothers and sisters gently. Much like a fragile old car is to be brought back to life, this restoration brings life to the believer.
If you are like me, you may struggle with the gentle part. Especially in parenting. I can point out the flaws…got that one down. I can teach the correct way…yep. I can discipline when the sin just continues over and over…uh huh. But, add in the gentle restoration? How Lord? Will they listen? Will it make an impact?
Rereading the verse once more, I am reminded of the Holy Spirit as my teacher, granting wisdom and understanding. Whenever I ask, “How”, the Spirit reminds me that I am not alone.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
The Lord graciously shows me how He “restores me gently” each morning when I come to Him.
I come to Him broken, rusty, and needing repair. I come to Him with a focused, quiet mind, I am open to His restoration. He lovingly shows me what He has for me that day. Through His word, He reveals to me what needs cutting away or building up.
Just like my step-dad, so carefully and gently restoring his cars in just the right conditions, the Spirit works on restoring my heart in the quiet of my prayer closet…just the right conditions for growth.
Also, like the effective restoration of a car, one area is restored at a time. Jan doesn’t paint, install the seats, and rebuild the engine all in one day. And, the Spirit doesn’t overwhelm me with the restoration He has for me. He reveals one or maybe two areas that need restoring. Or, He may call to mind something He worked to restore months ago which needs attention once more. There are times, I mistakenly think an area of sin is behind me, just for it to creep up once more. Just like when the car engine once more needs rebuilding. It was working well last year, but now, alas, it needs attention once more.
I am so incredibly grateful for this gentle, loving restoration. It’s all for my good. He never leaves me the same. And, He never overwhelms me.
When I come seeking, gradually, the Spirit brings renewal.