He restores my soul. A refreshing line from a much loved Psalm. Psalm 23.
“Self” care, self seeking, technology, culture, the great outdoors, hobbies, other created beings…they cannot restore your soul. Self seeking rarely has a place in the true Christian life. But those others? They are not to be utterly abandoned–but they are to be put back in their proper place. Under Christ’s authority. The One who restores your soul certainly has created the world in such a way that we should enjoy much of that list–but we enjoy culture, nature, hobbies, friends, etc. rather than turning them into idols.
How does He restore your soul?
The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. Another beloved Psalm; Psalm 19. He spoke creation into existence out of nothing. He commanded and it stood fast (Psalm 33:9). He speaks, and if we continue in His word, then we are truly disciples, and we find what we are looking for. (see John 8:31-37) It is when His word finds no place in you that restoring and reviving seem elusive.
But abiding in Him–He leads you in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake. He has shone in your heart to give the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God. He leads all of His own to put off what hinders and put on what fosters life (Romans 8). As He leads us to put on more of Christ (Romans 13:14), we are renewed, restored, more like Him and more of our actual self.
“I have come that they may have life!” John 10:10
Restoring and Reviving to true life
The Hebrew word for restore as found in Psalm 23, shuwb. This word does not necessarily mean to return to the life one had before, but to retreat, to turn back; often used of being carried home again. He restores my soul, by drawing me to retreat from what makes me weary, drawing me into my true home, Him. Turn back from all that does not give life, and be carried home, to Christ my home, my abode, our true dwelling place from all generations (Psalm 90).
The Hebrew word for revive as found in Psalm 138, chayah. This word carries the idea of keeping alive, nourishing, preserving, repairing and restoring to be whole.
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me…Your hesed, O YHWH, is everlasting…” Psalm 138:7-8
Where do you sometimes run, for a little reviving? Do you need a retreat? (see here!) Facebook will tell you–they know what you search for, what your online habits are, and then feed you ads to remind you of your gods. Facebook reminds me of my constant desire for an up-to-date wardrobe.
If I were a late night talk show host, I might write a thank you note: Thank you Facebook, for revealing some of my idols, and reminding me of how easy it is to run to them. So Facebook showed me the Old Navy Ad that asked me to believe that nothing compares to that new outfit feeling. My immediate reaction was to oooh and ahhhh and then to think about buying a new dress. That I do not need. I already have too many outfits. And with a pandemic lifestyle, I don’t even wear half of them.
On being led
We are easily led astray when our desires are given the wrong place in our life, when we believe we must obey them rather than submitting them to the obedience of the cross. Time meditating on Romans 6 helps with this.
We let our longings go unquenched, and then we let them lead us. We do not fully believe that at His hand are pleasures forevermore, so we forget to run to Him for the fullness of life we really want. He alone is sufficient to fill our souls deepest longings, yet we seek out that new outfit feeling [submit your own idol, ask Facebook if you need help figuring that out].
If we are children of God, then His Spirit will lead you to put to death all that is contrary, and to put into proper place all that ought to be enjoyed to His Glory. Are you seeking Him, His Kingdom? The promise for us who are, is that He revives. He restores.
He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. When our hearts are full from abiding in Him, then we can enjoy that new outfit feeling, that time outdoors, that hobby, those friends, that cultural experience, etc without giving them the place that belongs to Christ.
Abide in Him, He restores your soul.