Restoring Identity

This past weekend, we started a new series, called Restoration. We serve a God who restores, a God who can take broken people and make them whole, who can take pain and turn it into joy, and who can take death and turn it into life. We all have areas where we need God to bring restoration, healing, and hope.

Maybe that’s why so many of us love TV shows that take something that seems of little value and transform it into something beautiful, whether it’s furniture, an old car, or an old home. That’s what God loves to do with us. He loves to restore people. He loves to restore families. He loves to restore relationships. Is there an area in your life that you would qualify as a fixer-upper? 

For the Restoration series, Seacoast’s video team created a short film that follows the journey of a family who definitely have their own fixer-upper types of situations going on. It’s a little heavy, touching on issues like drug addiction and depression. But we feel if we’re going have this conversation about restoration, we need to tackle the issues many of our families are dealing with today. 

Chances are everyone can relate to some aspect of that film, some area of brokenness. But if we’ll let him, God will work out a restoration process in us. 

Some of us may not have experienced full restoration—yet. We all want to put the family back together and restore relationships. But we want you to know it’s okay to still be in the “not yet.” God isn’t going to leave you there. 

In the film, you quickly pick up on labels. 

Pam was a drug addict; she viewed herself as a disappointment, a failure. 

The mom’s clearly wounded, angry, and bitter. 

The dad is obliviously optimistic. He wants to help, but doesn’t know how. 

The brother is an achiever, looking to find his value in his accomplishments.

The enemy loves to give us labels, and for us to label each other. Why? If we let that label define us, we begin to live as if it were true. The problem is that the labels we give ourselves don’t reveal the truth about who we were created to be.

I used to live under the label, “underachiever.” In school, teachers would say “If he ever learns to apply himself, he’ll actually be successful.” I began to think “underachiever” described who I was as a person. What negative label has followed you in life? What negative label have you spoken over yourself? 

Now for a harder question: What if some of those negative labels are true right now? I mean, if we’re being honest, maybe they describe how we’ve lived up to this point. But I believe with God’s power through Christ, what may be true of you today doesn’t have to be true tomorrow. We can exchange our identity for the one God has for us. God’s power is greater than anything from your past. 

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone and a new life has begun. God wants to restore our identity, not based on labels we’ve picked up over time or that people have given us, but on his thoughts about us.

God gives me a new name. 

God’s words over you can change your life. God gives you a new name—even if you don’t feel like that name describes you yet. God sees who you can be. If you’re in Christ, he sees the finished work of Jesus in your life. He sees you as a forgiven son or daughter.

God gives me a new purpose. 

We become a new person when we begin to live out of God’s strength and not our own. And he loves to turn our weaknesses into his strengths. God brings purpose out of our pain if we let him. As we walk through brokenness we desperately need God to restore, he will bring great strength out of our pain and then use it to help others. 

God gives me a new future. 

We are so often pessimistic about our future, but God isn’t. Jeremiah 29:11 says God plans to give us hope and a future. Maybe you feel like you’re always going to be this, or always going to be that. But God’s thoughts about your future are good, and they are hopeful.

Write down the labels you carry around and then write the opposite. God gives you a new name, a new purpose and a new future. My prayer is that God will restore our identities of who we are in him. God, we thank you that you are a God of restoration. We thank you that you are a God who has renamed, restored, given us purpose, and given us life. 

This article was adapted from Pastor Josh Surratt’s April 27-28 weekend message.