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“He restores my soul.”
Can I be completely honest with you? That Psalm of David’s is my favorite, because even after knowing Jesus for decades, I still need my soul restored.
It wouldn’t be necessary if I always followed, if I always obeyed the way I should, or if I lived in Heaven now! When I was a newer Christian, you’d easily observe many of the ways I drifted away from living in the truth. As I’ve matured, many of those outward issues aren’t as troublesome. Now inward wrongdoing is my biggest problem.
There are always signs that something’s not right:
- I’m dissatisfied, ungrateful and complaining.
- I lack interest in spiritual things.
- I avoid Christians who’re spiritually healthy.
- I’m unwilling to admit there’s something wrong.
- I’ve somehow bought into the lie that I can’t be helped out of the place I’m in.
Over the years I’ve discovered several different ways that I fall into a state of being where restoration is needed. Many times I’ve traced my problem back to these things:
I’ve neglected spending time in the word of God and private devotion.
Regular prayerful time in the Bible’s pages, and in talking to God, brings about an intimacy with Him that causes us to mature in our faith. This is the part of the Christian life we can easily neglect; or we may do it, but we’re just going through the motions!
I’m hiding my sin.
This one’s tricky. I hate to admit it-whatever it may be. There are some sin issues I have no problem sharing, but every single one of us has inherited our ancestors’ tendency to hide our junk. We can’t hide from God though. He knows. The sad thing is, He’s waiting for us to come to Him with it, so that He can take care of that sin and restore us back into a close relationship with Him.
I’m failing to obey in some way.
This isn’t the same as hiding sin, but it’s sin, too. Theologians call it the sin of “omission.” We don’t do the things we should do. Saying “no” to our Father over and over again is rebellious. I’ve found that He’ll leave me to myself until I’m ready to do things His way. How can God use me effectively as a wife, a mother, or a friend, if I’m not experiencing the tender relationship He wants me to have with Him first?
When any of those things happen, I find my taste for spiritual things is off. I expose myself too much to the atmosphere of the culture, and find myself becoming hardened to spiritual truth. Thankfully, the Lord is the Good Shepherd who always goes after the wandering sheep and restores them to their place in the flock. That’s what He does.
How does God restore my soul?
Sometimes through the words of a friend, something I read, or a song. Most often for me, it’s walking outside alone. The beauty I see softens my heart, and leads me to repent of my condition: my hardness of heart, my anger, my resentment or bitterness, my weakness or failure, my wandering away from Him. Then, the Lord uses the truths I’ve learned in His word. He reminds me of the love He poured out for me at the cross, the redemption He purchased for me there, that I am His. He restores my soul.