Over the past year and a half I have been on a journey of spiritual and personal growth. It seems I have been seeking wisdom constantly. I have become a total sponge, gleaning anything and everything I could from heroes of the faith I have been blessed to be surrounded by. Throughout this journey, the Lord has gently been nudging my heart to really pray about the significance of a Sabbath. Along with God’s Word, I’ve read countless books on this journey of growth that have influenced me in some way or another to begin seeing this day of “rest” as a critical spiritual discipline not to regarded lightly. This is very different that the the optional day I had made it out to be. Previously, not working on anything that was for my job and intentionally scheduling time with my family was basically what my Sabbath was to me. God has so sweetly been renewing my heart and my mind over this matter.
Through prayer, many mentors, and Scripture I have come to have a different view on the one commandment that we regard as optional. In Deuteronomy 5:12-15 we see only one of many mentions of the Sabbath in Scripture. “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.”
God commanded the Israelites to remember everything that the Lord had done for them, as a spiritual discipline that would protect them from returning to slavery. Reflecting on their story of their continual return to captivity, we tend to think we wouldn’t return to our sin just as easily, when we are all to familiar with forgetting the amazing things God has done for us as well. When we don’t take time to remember what God has done for us, we sacrifice the potential God has for us because we begin to rely on our own strength. I love what the apostle Mark writes in his Gospel, Mark 2:27: “And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Making the time for a Sabbath helps us be intentional about remembering what God has done for us in the past and meditating on what God might be asking us to do in the future. Often the enemy deceives me into believing that rest is earned, but really it is freely GIVEN and even commanded by our Father, so that we may be fully in tune with what the Spirit is doing in our lives. This is extremely powerful for a follower of Jesus to tap into, and Satan is constantly trying to mask its importance in our lives. The enemy does not want His people to be intentionally centering their days and lives around what God has done for them and what He can do through them for the Kingdom. In his book Ordering Your Private World, Gordon MacDonald writes, “When we rest in the Biblical tense, we affirm our intentions to pursue a Christ centered tomorrow.” It is one thing to say we want to live for Jesus, but actively engaging in spiritual disciplines like taking a Sabbath will be what bridges the gap between good intentions and real results in our spiritual growth.
Stand firm in the faith,
Why is it so hard to observe a Sabbath and what are some ways you can envision overcoming those obstacles?