“For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye that are such.” – 1 Cor. 16:18
I’d like to do just that—acknowledge those blessed saints of God who spend their lives refreshing the spiritual lives of fellow believers. And, oh, how you and I need to be refreshed in the decaying culture in which we live! Moses, ascribing human characteristics to God in Exodus 31:17, says, He rested from his creation activities on the seventh day, “and was refreshed.” We all need it. We need the ministry of those who bring a breath of fresh air, and who make it easier for other people to breathe.
Sadly, many do just the opposite; they knock the breath out of other believers by pointing to past sins and predicting future failure. They reduce the Christian life to a virtual exercise in abstinence in all things, forgetting that it’s moderation that should be it’s main hallmark. “Let your moderation be known unto all men” ( Philip. 4:5). Their advice looks more like a dead end than a way out of the forest. And when they leave, and we finally exhale, it’s a sigh of relief.
On the other hand, the believer who has chosen to be a spiritual “refresher” brings an infusion of Holy Spirit breeze into a room and a life, reminding us that the God who forgives sin has also made provision for victory over its power (Rom. 6:14). We may never be sinless as long as we’re in these bodies, but we can (and should) sin less. As children of God, we’re less like ourselves—our true selves—when we sin. It should no more be a commonality, but an anomaly. And as far as abstinence goes, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything to put under that category except for idolatry in any form (Acts 15), fornication (1 Thess. 4:3); those things that fall under the heading of “evil” (1 Thess. 5:22); and “fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11).
It seemed that Paul could not say enough about the “ministers of refreshment” that God put in his life, naming Onesiphorus, in particular, in 2 Timothy chapter one. He attributed their presence in his life to the mercy of God. And I would agree. Those people in my own life who have encouraged me in the things of Lord, breathing new life and fresh hope to my flagging spirit, I count as one of God’s most precious gifts to me. They remind me of past blessings, encourage me in my service for God now at this time in my life, and cause me to take a deep breath again, knowing that one day, the air I breathe will be celestial!
For myself, nothing refreshes like the living, breathing, Word of God, and the man or woman who is saturated in its promises and principles is always refreshing to me. I want to be such a woman. I want to be a breath of fresh air to those who have found the air around them to become stale and heavy. I want to become skillful in Spirit-anointed “heart-to-heart resuscitation.”
“In a world system darkened with the smoke of the pit, how we rejoice to meet saints who are fresh with the clean air of heaven.” – Watchman Nee