Before moving on in our Refreshing My Soul discussion: Other pages are still under construction, but you can check out the About Me page to learn more about recent changes here.
Today’s Target: Refreshing my Soul, Psalm 23:3(a)
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
How do I go about refreshing my soul?
Aha! Therein lies the ‘Point of First Mistake’! How do I refresh my soul?? I don’t! Let’s start our rest right here! I do not refresh my soul because I am incapable of that kind of ‘magic’! Refreshment of soul is a supernatural power that belongs to God! The great news about that is we guilt-ridden goofs can get off the guilt-mobile right here. The power of refreshment and regeneration lie in the very capable hands of our Savior. (“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest“ -Matt 11:28,
[emph. mine.] Take a peek also at this in the book of Acts: “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” [emph. mine]-(Acts 3:20). We’ll talk about that in just a bit.
So while we do bear some responsibility, by comparison our part is the easier part. I’m not going to take us on a trip through the Bible for this point. The two verses given above are enough. Notice that Jesus started by saying, “Come unto me,” and in just these three words, we are given two instructions.
Refreshing my soul requires movement
To gain the refreshment we need and seek, we do have to take some action. We have to first, “come”, or move to/toward. Secondly, there is a specific target of our movement. We can’t just jump off the couch and run around the block! (Although that could bring bodily refreshment.) For spiritual refreshment (which leads to refreshment of the whole), our target is Jesus and I say so only because he says so, right there in Matt. 11:28!
In refreshing my soul, I must intentionally move toward Jesus. Remembering that “he is not a man that he should lie…”( Numbers 23:19a), I’ll look at what he promises will happen as I approach him… Oh, wow, I must go ‘far’ to find it! Haha! -All the way to the end of the verse! What’s that he said? “and I will give you rest.” [emphasis, mine.] And just to cement the understanding that we don’t earn that rest, look at the 4th word of that segment: “give”. He’s not paying us for a job well done. On the contrary, he’s giving us a gift. The only requirement is that we be at the party to receive it!
Refreshing my soul according to Acts 3: 19 & 20
We can refresh our bodies through pampering, diet and exercise. Doing so can bring some relief to our mind, will and emotions (soul). But without ministering to the core of my being, the relief is like…Facebook! Everyone knows the bulk of FB is about FACE. It’s a surface thing that shows only what we want shown. I’m not saying that’s a bad or good thing, I’m saying it’s not totally real. But when we’re talking about our personal refreshment, however, I think it’s safe to surmise we want our relief to be from something concrete. Does that seem a contradiction to you, to consider God as ‘concrete’ and not put so much stock into these things we can see?
Well, let me tell you something completely aside from this study (or maybe not so ‘completely’!) -This world that we see everyday is less concrete than the realm of God. Now, that’s where the reality of the universe is found. Reality lies within the spirit. That’s why the weapons of Christian warfare are not carnal. (2 Cor. 10:4) We just need to readjust our thinking of the term ‘concrete’ when discussing God. He’s as concrete as it gets.
Refreshing my soul comes with a prerequisite
Looking to Acts 3:20, we see again that refreshing doesn’t come from ourselves, but from the presence of the Lord. However, I’m convicted to go back and redirect our thoughts to the verse before Acts 3:20, for the sake of keeping conclusions within the context of God’s Word. It’s important that we understand that having the presence of the Lord hinges on repentance.
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” [emphasis, mine.]
The ‘R’-word must have for refreshing my soul
Oh! I said that big, bad, ‘R’-word, didn’t I? No apologies. I have stated on this blog (somewhere!) that although I am open-minded about many things, I try not to compromise the truth of God’s Word by ignoring what it actually says. And since we’re talking about rearranging our thinking, we may as well stumble into the veggies (See the analogy HERE) that we don’t like…namely that infamous ‘veggie’ of repentance.
What is your favorite vegetable? I hope to lead you closer to the revelation that repentance is that veggie! What is your least-liked veggie? Honey, repentance is NOT that veggie! So, here’s how to change your thinking: Look at the benefitrepentance brings to our spiritual health. But even before that, we have to remember that salvation comes on the wings of repentance. It’s why we needed John the Baptist before Jesus entered the scene. You can’t accept salvation or the one who brings it without first accepting the fact that you need saving. We don’t turn away from our wrong ways if we won’t believe our wrong ways are wrong, right?
Life is less without refreshment in God
For so many, this is scary, scary territory, so deep that I’m afraid we’ll have to leave full discussion to a later date. I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to believe I’m doomed without Jesus and I don’t know why it’s so hard for others to ‘fess up’ to it. That’s not pride talking. It’s grass-roots concern and dismay. My lack of understanding, however, does not mean there is a lack of love. It is my heart that every person alive would desire Jesus, know him and not have to suffer for the lack of him in their lives right now and in the future. I know many fear that folks like me are only concerned with getting more people ‘on their team’. But it’s not about that. It’s about getting people to understand how much spicier life is with Jesus as captain of your team!
It’s about what God does
The short and skinny of this verse is that it means just what it says, “he restores my soul…” That’s it in a nutshell, friend! All I do is acknowledge my falling short and my need for him to cover my back, and in he comes, refreshing, restoring and making me whole. We acknowledge our need. We acknowledge his authority and power to meet that need. Then we sigh with relief as our Shepherd faithfully gives us the rest we desperately need.