My husband and I recently took a vacation. After several challenging months, we were not seeking a grand adventure — just physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional refreshment.
Merriam-Webster offers several meanings for the word refresh, including: to restore strength and animation to (revive); to freshen up (renovate); to restore or maintain by renewing supply (replenish). Revive. Renovate. Replenish.
Vacation can offer refreshment. So can a special occasion. A change of scenery may revive our enthusiasm. A change of routine may renovate our mindset. A break from daily responsibilities may replenish our motivation. Sometimes we have to work hard to prepare for refreshment; the investment is worthwhile if it allows us to be completely immersed in the refreshing experience.
But vacations and special celebrations are inadequate refreshment. They are too short and infrequent to carry us through the whole year. Just like we cannot eat only a few days of the year and be healthy, we cannot run ourselves ragged most of the time and rely on an occasional day to revive, replenish, and renovate us. Instead, God has instructed us to build refreshment into our lives.
Remember the Sabbath (seventh) day to keep it holy (set apart, dedicated to God). (Exodus 20:8, AMP)
God not only gave a frequency for refreshment — every seventh day plus some holidays (Leviticus 23) — but also told us how to rest — setting apart the day for Him. He instructed the Israelites to refrain from work, giving their bodies a break. He also told them to refresh their mind and spirit by remembering, worshiping, and honoring Him. God knew we needed to regularly engage in these practices to find far more life.
Over time, the Jewish leaders added rules to define acceptable and unacceptable Sabbath activities. These rules became burdensome for the people and hindered their rest. When Jesus walked the earth, He declared:
…The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27, NIV)
God instituted a day of rest to bless us, not burden us. We have freedom to decide what will help us rest and connect with God. For many, one Sabbath component is time with a church family, engaging in group worship and receiving Biblical instruction. For many the Sabbath also includes time in nature, exercise, rest, interaction with family or friends, a special meal, hobbies, or entertainment.
Sometimes it is good to ask ourselves if our Sabbath practices are truly refreshing. Do they revive our body? Revive our mind? Replenish our spirit? If not, we are wise to consider what WOULD lead to true refreshment and make changes.
But we do not have to run on empty the other six days of the week. God offers to revive, renovate, and replenish our heart, soul, mind, and strength every day!
He refreshes my soul… (Psalm 23:3, NIV)
We need spiritual refreshment and there is no better place to turn for that than the One who created our soul. We live in a world that is spiritually darkened; the light of God’s Word, His truth, and His promises restore our strength so we can keep living righteously and purposefully. Far more life is found as we read and meditate on His Word, the Bible, every day to drink in His refreshment.
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV)
The context of this is God providing hope to His people. They were living in an oppressive environment, surrounded by people who did not honor God or value His ways. It was exhausting to remain faithful to God. God reminded Jeremiah that He saw their struggle and would provide all they needed to remain faithful as long as they demonstrated a willingness to follow Him. Far more life calls out to God daily for a replenished heart, body, and mind to live righteously.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7, NIV)
Our minds are susceptible to Satan’s lies about what is good, sensible, right, reasonable, or deserved. Our thinking is renovated and our spiritual vision is replenished when we look to God’s commands and instructions for guidance. Far more life finds refreshment in following God’s principles, believing our All-Knowing Father is wise, loving, and trustworthy.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (Acts 3:19, NIV)
When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as payment for our sins, they are wiped out. That is the ultimate refreshment! But as time goes on and we realize we will continue to sin, our refreshment may diminish. Repentance — making the choice to turn away from sin and turn to God — is a lifelong refreshing process. Every time we repent we are reminded of our position in Christ. We grow in far more life as we become aware of sins and repent; the grace flowing to our Spirits is replenished and we are refreshed.
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14, NIV)
Once the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, refreshment is always available! He renovates our mind so we can see with His perspective. He revives our excitement about His plans and purposes for us. He replenishes our strength so we are ready to join His work. We do not have to wait for vacations or holidays — far more life offers refreshment every day!
When have you felt most refreshed?
Is your weekly Sabbath refreshing? If not, what do you need to change to make it so?
How do you connect with God for daily refreshment? What barriers do you face to deeper connection?
Engage in far more life today, seeking out God’s refreshment and enjoying His purposes for your day!
Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso
Photo by Ray Damaso