Ruin to Restoration
By Laurie Mathers
Seven years ago, after five years of following Christ, a series of painful experiences shook my spiritual life like an earthquake. When the dust settled, all that was left was a firm foundation and a stable frame. The foundation was Christ, the framework my conviction that the Scripture is the word of God. So, with Christ as my hope and Scripture as my guide, I determined to rebuild. I began by rethinking the methods I had used before, to ensure I didn’t make the same mistakes again.
The ruins showed me that one of my biggest mistakes was in allowing God’s word to lose its priority in my life. The shift had been slow and subtle. I had gradually drifted from the Bible itself to books, articles, discussions, and debates about the Bible and doctrine. Though what I was taking in was by and large biblical and contained plenty of Scripture references and scriptural concepts, I had begun to rely on hearsay, so to speak.
Over time I accumulated my favorite group of authors and preachers, a set of pet doctrines, and my preferred attributes of God. Claiming to have the highest regard for Scripture and the God of Scripture, I picked and chose where to focus and mostly ignored the rest. Like a funhouse mirror, exaggerating this and minimizing that, I created a distorted image of God.
Not only is it blasphemous to treat God this way, as if we get to decide what kind of God He should be, it is destructive to us. Every attribute of God is not only essential to who He is, it is also essential to who we are. Christians are beings in whom God’s image is being restored, and this restoration takes place as “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
Restoration only happens when we see God as he really is. Christ has revealed God’s image and glory perfectly to us (Heb. 1.3, Col. 1.15), and his glory has been passed down to us through the teaching of his apostles. The teaching of the apostles comes to us through the Bible. This means our spiritual restoration is dependent on Scripture – knowing it first-hand, understanding it, and letting the power of the Holy Spirit rebuild our lives through it.