I took out a small trash bag early this morning and was pleasantly surprised at the temperature. It was significantly cooler and less humid than it’s been for some time. My wife’s word was “refreshing.”

“Refreshing” means “serving to refresh or reinvigorate someone” (Oxford). “Making you feel less hot or tired, or pleasantly different and interesting” (Cambridge). “Agreeably stimulating because of freshness or newness” (Merriam-Webster). 

I’m not a hot weather fan, so this morning’s conditions were invigorating, pleasantly different, and agreeably stimulating. I was refreshed.

There’s a pair of words in the New Testament which carries the same connotation. Literally, the words meant cooling or to cool. The adjective (anapsuxis) means refreshing or providing rest and repose. Metaphorically, it means to provide breathing room, relaxation, or relief. The verb (anapsucho) means to refresh. Metaphorically, it means to revive or provide breathing room. Each word is used only once in the New Testament.

The adjective is used in Acts 3.19, where Peter said, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” He was speaking about faith in Jesus of Nazareth, who was raised from the dead by God. Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament promise and prophecy who brought these refreshing times. Peter was talking about finding rest, repose, and breathing room in Christ. From a lifetime of carrying the burden of sin to a new life of refreshment in Jesus.

The verb is used in 2 Timothy 1.16, where Paul said, “The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me.” Paul commends his friend and fellow-Christian to Timothy for refreshing him while he was imprisoned in Rome. We don’t know the details, but likely Onesiphorus provided food and presence when the apostle was isolated and forsaken by others. 

Apart from Christ there is no refreshment, no rest, no repose, no breathing room. Sin has a way of smothering us and amplifying our misery. As Peter said, there is refreshment available if we’ll just repent and return. 

For those who are in Christ, we must remember what that refreshment felt like when we first experienced it, then make every effort to refresh others. We should want others to experience the breathing room, the rest, and the comfort we have known.

May God help us to find refreshment in his Son and extend it others in the name of his Son.