What are some experiences that you find refreshing? Some thoughts that come to my mind are: sipping a cup of coffee or tea with no time pressures, a shower after working outside or exercising, a long conversation with a friend, or a Sunday afternoon nap. The word refreshing is defined as: serving to give new strength or energy; to pleasantly reinvigorate. Refreshment is an important aspect of our lives.
Are you refreshing to other believers? As followers of Christ, we are called to build up the body of Christ. Romans 15:32 states the reason we fellowship, “Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other”. I have been told that on any given Sunday, the congregation preaches half the sermon. This half is communicated by how we love each other and how we demonstrate the unity we share in Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 exhorts us to continue encouraging each other, “Therefore, encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing”. We are instructed to be a source of refreshment for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Are we refreshing to unbelievers? Matthew 5:16 reminds us to, “Let your light so shine for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father”. I believe it is notable, that this verse does not just say christians or believers will praise God. Rather, it says that “everyone” will praise our Heavenly Father. Philippians 2:15 gives us a recipe for avoiding criticism from unbelievers, “So that no one can criticize you, live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights, in a world of crooked, preverse people”. Do nonbelievers see you as different than the world around you? Is your life inviting to them?
How can I be refreshed? It is my belief, that we are refreshed by drawing near to God. James 4:8 gives us this promise, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. It is in times of stillness that God speaks to us and brings refreshment to our lives. Psalms 46:10 confidently tells us, “Be still and know that I am God”. Our Heavenly Father listens to our prayers and answers with His refreshment. Psalm 116:2 states this beautifully, “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath”.
Our refreshing of others should be an out flowing of God’s love and grace in our lives. It should be our response to the gospel. What Jesus graciously did for us, should be the power source we use to refresh others. As we stare at the cross, may we never run out of grace for others, because of the unending grace we have been shown. 1 John 4:19 perfectly expresses how this works out in our lives, “We love because He loved us first”.