"He restores my soul." That short phrase in Psalm 23:3 is powerful. What does it mean to have our soul restored? Is the psalmist speaking of sinners who need to be restored to a right relationship with God, or is he referring to Christians who sin and need to return to a proper state? Could it be a little of both?
When it comes to having our souls restored, there is a great need for repentance. This is necessary for salvation and involves a purposeful decision and an act of our will. We have to willingly turn from sin and turn to Jesus if we desire to be forgiven of our sin (see John 1:12; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30). It involves a change of our heart, mind, direction and goals. And it's more than a one-time act. It's an attitude for a lifetime.
Restitution is also necessary to experience soul restoration. It's a "facing what I've done wrong" plus a desire to make things right. It's a desire to follow Jesus all the way and influences our relationships. In Luke 19, the tax-collector Zaccheus acknowledged that he defrauded his fellow countrymen in his work for the Roman government. But he went further. He repaid everyone four times over what he had stolen from them. That's making things right!
Then there is restoration. To restore means to repair; to make usable; to make complete; to make better than before. This refers to our relationships within the Body of Christ, His Church. We are to be reconciled to those with whom we are at odds. Jesus' teaching on the subject makes it clear that we are not to wait for others to come to us and apologize. We are to take the initiative and seek healing in the relationship. For instructions on how we are to do this, see Matthew 5:23-24, 18:15-18, and Galatians 6:1-3. When true restoration takes place, that which was once broken is made stronger.
Soul restoration is more than a make-over. It's a total change in every area of our lives. It's something to think about.