Journal Entry // October 26, 2021
Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.Philemon 1:20 ESV
What benefit from the Lord do I provide to those around me? If a survey was taken of all my relationships, would the consensus be that their heart was refreshed in Christ through me? Is there a pattern of giving out of myself by serving, loving, and caring for those that the Lord has placed in my path? Do I need someone to confront me like Paul has done in this passage? How would I respond to this confrontation from Paul? How can I refresh the heart of another, when I myself have a heart in need of refreshment?
This is the question that confronts me this week (most weeks to be honest). I spend time with Christ and have deep intimate meaningful soul refreshing moments. My morning reflections have been revealing and challenging, but refreshing. When I close my Bible and journal, I feel at peace on the green grass beside still waters. But when I enter the world and the chaos begins to swirl, my heart becomes anxious and fearful. I doubt the goodness of God my Father. I forget all his good mercy and grace that filled me only hours earlier and I let the distractions of the world take all the peace that was in my heart.
I lose sight of Jesus and let my eyes drift to the world around me. I become self-centered and let anger, lust, coveting, and despair take root in my heart. I lose that refreshing of my heart so quickly, which means that I then lose my desire to refresh others in Christ. I even make this about me. I tell myself that I can’t refresh others in Christ because I myself am such a mess. What a complete falsehood. As if I was able to refresh others in Christ through my own strength. It doesn’t even make sense. Yet in my self-centeredness, I withhold and draw back as I isolate from letting others enter into my messy heart.
This is the tragedy of what is being asked. I withhold and isolate knowing that I am in need of refreshing and therefore unable to give refreshing. If I would only engage with those around me through Christ and love them as Christ loves them, then not only would their hearts be refreshed but so would mine! I think that refreshing my heart in Christ only happens between me and God. I forget that my heart can be refreshed by God’s people and as God uses me to refresh others, he will refresh me. There is this continued vertical and horizontal engagement with the gospel. Vertically between me and God. Horizontally between me and others.
Drawing near to Christ each and every morning is a great first step to take. But I need the continual movement of engagement throughout the day. I need to drink deeply of the reflections from the morning throughout the day, but I also need to put them into practice by engaging those around me with the truth I am learning about Christ. Watching God refresh the hearts of those in my path and feeling the warmth of his embrace in my own heart.