Sabbath :: What it Means

sabbath

I’ve never been a runner.

However, my mind and my heart constantly run faster and faster all day until my head finally hits the pillow at night. Sometimes so fast my energy just can’t keep up.

I don’t know about you, but more days than not I am exhausted from my heart of hurry.

Life is busy and, especially during the school year, I have to literally write time in my planner to do nothing. I realize how sad this is.

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Growing up in church, I’d always heard the word “sabbath” but always just thought it was another word for “Sunday”. What’s funny is that it literally translates to “Saturday”, so the only definition I actually had of it was wrong.

Maybe you’re in the same boat and are curious about what sabbath really means. And, my friend, I am so excited to tell you.

Sabbath is beautiful. Sabbath is freeing. Sabbath is needed. Sabbath is essential. Sabbath is important, crucial, commanded even.

Let me list for you three reasons why I love sabbath-ing, and then give you some practical ways I live out this commandment.

The Principle

Obedience: It takes being obedient to enter rest, being that it is something we do not fully always want to do or feel like we have to do. We get to the end of the week and see all that is still to be done ahead and convince ourselves that rest isn’t an option. But the beautiful thing about obedience here, or anywhere with God, is that when we choose to obey, He blesses us. When He sees that our heart is yearning for His, He finds favor in us. This command is for our benefit, for our freedom from anxiety and worry, and for the benefit of our relationship with God.

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 58:13-14

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” -Hebrews 4:9-11

Refocus. In Pastor Chris Hodges’s book, Fresh Air, he write this: “A day of rest allows us to get that ‘heavenly’ perspective, to get away from the natural and into the supernatural. When we have faith, we can remain calm and contented, but when we don’t have faith, then we worry and fret and get anxious over every little thing.” Being in God’s presence is not only a gift because of what Jesus did, but is our source of joy for our souls. After a good or bad week, let us choose to enter the presence of God and be intentional about our time with Him.

“Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.” – Ezekiel 20:12

Rest. God wants to give us rest, just as He set an example and rested on the seventh day after the creation of the world. He wants to give us rest for our bodies, our souls, and our spirits. Will we let Him? Will we stop and give Him one day of the week to give us rest that can only come from Him?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28

The Practice

Separate yourself. Get to a place where you can be alone with God. Go and just sit with Him for a while. Take some time to talk with Him about any worries or stresses you have in your life, as well as the joys. He already knows them, but He wants to hear them from you. Tell Him about the week you had and the week you’re getting ready to tackle. Rest in your conversation with Him and rest in doing restful things by yourself for a while.

Focus on Jesus. A lot of what I love to do on my sabbath days involves music and art. I love to paint and to pretend I’m good at lettering. I often worship Him by singing worship songs while writing them on paper. It helps me to focus my heart and my eyes back on Him, and to remember each week that He is my scope through which I see life. When I refocus my eyes and my heart on Him, I realize how big I’ve made everything else. He comes back on the throne of my life, and all those tests I’ve got in the upcoming week seem a lot smaller in importance.

Rest your body, mind, and soul. You work really hard during the week. Maybe you’re a student like me that works on homework and studying and life-balancing all week long. Maybe you’re a wife and a mother that often can’t find two seconds to sit down and rest. I beg you to fight for this sabbath time. Whatever that looks like for you, it is worth it. I promise. You need a day to stop and sit and breathe easy. God asks us to do it because it is good, friends. And that it is.

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So, what do you say? Let’s choose Sabbath together. If you’ve never done this before, right now is a great time to start. Plan your week with your Sabbath day in mind and choose to set that day aside. It probably seems crazy when you look at your planner with everything you need to get done. I know. But since when are God’s callings easy? Trust Him with this. He will bless you.

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