I wish to encourage you to be a refresher of others.
Most of us know the sweet experience of having someone refresh our spirit, to uplift us, to encourage and brighten our day. We can resonate with the intent of Isaiah 52:7; “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns.”
I relish the apostle Paul’s words to Philemon, exhorting him to forgive the returning run-away slave Onesimus; “I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ“ (Philemon :20). Forgiveness is a breath of fresh air in the lives of those touched by the stench of offence and unforgiveness. Paul speaks to Philemon in verse 20 as if he is entitled to this spiritual benefit of refreshment. The tone is one of expectation by Paul that carries a responsibility for mutual benefit for both parties in Christ. I admit this has opened my eyes as to my responsibility of being a man of refreshment. I do not have the right to withhold that which is beneficial to another. But how often my flesh thinks it is justified in depriving God’s people of this much needed ministry. This too is a form of pride that attempts to justify sins of omission. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James. 4:17).
Refreshing another soul is not only divinely designed into our spiritual DNA, but carries with it a wonderful reciprocal blessing; “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). When the apostle Paul was giving corrective instruction to the sin laden church in Corinth, he instructed the men to; “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love …I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, 17-18).
Refreshment does not focus merely on physical and emotional well-being, but on the spiritual life of its recipients also. What better occasion, than following restoration, to initiate the ministry of refreshment. The beauty that exists immediately following repentance, forgiveness and restoration, is that of purity with great joy and peace. Into this sweet environment the child of God will endeavour to breathe in the lasting characteristics of refreshment. The mature Saint will seek to interact with others in such a way that causes an awareness of being uplifted, encouraged, inspired, and motivated to live the life of Christ through the coming days.
Christ’s love enables us to implement this remarkable Holy Spirit energised blessing into hearts that are open to being refreshed. The ministry of refreshment flows out of a character that is strong, that stands firm, that abides in Christ, which looks to conduct itself in all of its affairs in love. Refreshment does not suddenly happen, as if one day you unexpectedly decide to become refreshing to others in the Lord. It is yet another facet of the fruit of a Spirit filled life that understands the nature of spiritual virtues that flow out from us into others. This is in essence at the heart of discipleship, taking another human soul and showing them how to follow Jesus Christ as Lord, for God’s glory.
I encourage you to find someone today who you can refresh with the love of Jesus Christ.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz