What is Spiritual Restoration?

What is spiritual restoration? What does it mean to be restored? When we think of everyday objects that can be restored, like a piece of furniture or a classic car, restoring it would mean returning it to a former condition, to make it like it was new. How does that apply to people? What does it look like to be made new?  These are questions we often discuss as a team as we seek to bring about spiritual restoration in the communities where we work. It doesn’t take long to look around and see that there is brokenness everywhere. In relationships. In systems. In our own lives. In our families. In our schools. In our churches. In our communities. There is an awareness that something isn’t quite right and there is a longing for things to be made right. When will it all be restored and made new? We invite you to dig deeper with us as we explore what God has already restored, what has yet to be restored, and how we get to be vessels to help restore communities and bring about His Kingdom here and now.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” -2 Corinthians 5:17

In order to understand restoration, we need to look back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2, before sin and brokenness entered the picture. Adam and Eve were able to enjoy God’s presence fully. They walked in a daily relationship with Him and had all they needed in the garden to flourish.  However, that all changed in Genesis 3 when they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They suddenly felt shame and hid from God. Their sin brought brokenness into the world and created a separation between humankind and God. This not only affected their relationship to God (they hid), but also how they thought of themselves (the shame), how they interacted with each other (the blame game) as well as their relationship with the rest of creation (the curses and removal from the garden). These are the same struggles we face today, but we are not without hope. The sin that once separated us from God was paid for when Christ sacrificed his life on the cross. Restoration and reconciliation have always been a part of God’s plan and we are invited to be a part of the process.

“We are all longing for Eden, longing to return to the dwelling place of God.” -Becoming Whole by Brian Fikkert & Kelly M. Kapic

There are a few aspects of spiritual restoration to keep in mind. First, when someone chooses to put their faith in Christ, there is an immediate spiritual restoration that happens (commonly referred to as justification). That person is reconciled to God and can have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Although the person is made righteous through Christ in God’s eyes, is this person suddenly walking in perfect obedience to the way God calls believers to live? Are they suddenly sinless? Of course not. They must relearn who they are as a child of God and daily choose to love the Lord and love others. This is the second part. God molds the believer much like a potter does with clay. Or someone restoring a piece of furniture. This is a lifelong process, commonly referred to as sanctification, where we are becoming who God originally designed us to be. We are active participants in the process and it is never fully complete on this side of Heaven. While God is at work in each person, He is bringing about His Kingdom here and now and invites His people to be vessels of change and transformation.

These are big concepts that we want to continue to unpack with you. The book "Becoming Whole" by Bryan Fikkert and Kelly M. Kapic has deeply impacted the way we think about restoration in the context of working in vulnerable communities. If you are engaged with working with the materially poor in your local context or globally, we highly recommend taking the time to read this book. We will be digging a little deeper using the following framework discussed in the book to outline how sin impacts these areas of our life and what restoration would look like in each.

Our relationship with GOD

Our relationship with SELF

Our relationship with OTHERS

Our relationship with the rest of CREATION

Our hope is that these topics would spark conversations and challenge your understanding of restoration. As we seek to bring about this restoration in the communities where we serve, we also recognize that each of us needs to continue experiencing our own restoration as we grow in faith. This is a journey that we are all on. We hope you will invite this process into your own life and then see how you can invest in the restoration of others while building God’s kingdom here and now.  Reach out and let us know how God is working in your life.  And then join us in our mission!

Other stories

Here are some of our other stories of change.