We all know what it is to go forth in the morning fresh for the days work, and what a difference it makes when it is otherwise. If you have spent a sleepless night, or suffered pain, or from some cause failed to get that repose and refreshment so necessary to the body and mind to provide vigour and freshness for the next days toil, you feel at once the lack of it. Things drag along slowly and heartlessly all day.
There is a striking similarity to this in the Christian life. There may be freshness, or there may be languor of the soul and spirit, as well as of body and mind. And the difference is nowhere more felt than in the service of the Lord. There is a word in Job that may help us to see the secret of freshness and fruitfulness in so serving the Lord. Job says, "My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand" (29.19-20).
Roots drawing up refreshment from the river, dew falling on the branch, give freshness of glory and renewed strength. Roots spread out to the waters speak of hidden freshness flowing into the depths of the spiritual life from habitual abiding in communion with God. Passing droughts may affect and parch the leaf, but so long as the roots are spread out to the river, there will be no lack of moisture, no vital decay in strength or fruitfulness. Such is the value of genuine fellowship with God and His Christ. As the soul abides in the secret of communion, the inflow of Divine life and love keeps the soul fresh and green.
There will be no lack of fruit there. In addition to the hidden refreshment that comes from the roots, the branch enjoys refreshment that comes from above. Isaac, in blessing Jacob said, "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven" (Gen 27.28). The branch spread out to receive the dew may well point to the appreciation of the outward means of refreshing and reviving appointed by God, such as the ministry of the Word, the fellowship of saints, the gatherings for prayer, and personal meditation on the Word. Secret fellowship with God will never lead us to ignore these, but rather encourage us to make full use of them. And see the result: "My glory is fresh in me and my bow is renewed in my hand". The evergreen leaf of a Christ-like life, the freshness and vigour of devoted service are a testimony to the world. The renewed bow ready in the hand to shoot forth the Kings arrows, bringing sinners to His feet, are all the result of deep, abiding communion of heart and soul with the living Christ. He is the source of all power and grace, the fountain from whom the streams of life and refreshing flow. Whatever would rob us of this let us reckon as a foe.
We may be assured that whoever or whatever draws the heir from Christ, and causes the inflow of freshness to cease, no matter how religious or pleasing the garb it may assume, is a sworn enemy of the soul. It is the emissary of Satan sent to wither us and steal the freshness and sap from our spiritual life and service for God. And when these are once lost, they may never be restored to their early fullness and freshness, as alas there are too many witnesses of all around us. To keep fresh for God and fit for service, it must be our habit to be true to Him, and allow nothing to come in to deprive us of soul health.
Let us, therefore, ensure that our spiritual roots run out deep to the waters of His supply and that the branches are raised ready to feel the refreshment of the dew of heaven. Only then can we have the strength and vitality that will be a blessing to us and to those with whom we come into contact. In this way the blessing of Psalm 1 will be ours: "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (v.3).