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Cultivating Personal Growth

Entering into Sabbath Rest

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The story of creation, found in Genesis, describes the beginning of life on Earth. In six days, the world was perfected. In Genesis 2:2-3 we read:

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Technically God does not need rest, and yet He did. He knew what we would need before we did – and so He blessed that day, so we would know it holds a special significance. The Sabbath gives us a chance to purposefully step away from the chaos that surrounds us… the troubles at our jobs, the stresses of our studies, the challenges with our relationships… and enter into spiritual rest. We have a chance to connect with God on a deeper level, which helps us to better understand His will.

Sabbath Rest is Holy

The Sabbath was so important, it became commandment #4 of ten. In Exodus 20:8-11, God said:

 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

God even added extra detail so we could really comprehend what it means to keep the Sabbath holy. Participating in the Sabbath is an active choice. We purposefully step aside from situations, activities, and emotions that consume us on a day-to-day basis. We give our time to God and enter into His rest. In the quiet stillness, we tap into the power of God, giving ourselves 24 hours of spiritual self-care. With deeper clarity, we are more prepared for the trials and blessings ahead.

How we spend this time matters

The fourth commandment specifically tells us to set aside our normal work activities, but what constitutes as work? How do we keep the Sabbath holy? I try to think about what I choose to do like this – do these activities help me grow closer to God, or am I distracted from Him? Do I have to do them on the Sabbath, or should they wait? God is not unreasonable. If you’re sick, and you need to go the doctor – go. If you have a chance to volunteer and do good – go for it. We are called to do good on the Sabbath, and that good may look different based on your personal connection with Christ. If in doubt – pray about it. God will give you the wisdom and discernment needed to make the right choices.

A Few Sabbath Rest Suggestions

  • Spiritual community is important. Church, virtual church, community service… connecting with others to foster spiritual inspiration helps us to lift each other up. We can learn from one another and grow, while honoring the presence and power of God.
  • Physical rest is also important. Often, we are trying to fit every spiritual activity into one day. We don’t have too. We have every day to spread the word of God. In whatever we do, let’s make sure we exit the Sabbath feeling mentally refreshed.
  • Weather permitting, spend time outside. I’ll be writing more about this in upcoming devotionals, but I cannot stress enough the power disconnecting from technology and plugging into God’s original source of rejuvenation.

The Original Day of Rest

God’s rest was originally introducing in creation, but it also was reinforced during Christ’s crucifixion. After the Son of God’s death on Earth, a man named Joseph (Luke 23:50) asked for Jesus’ body for burial. We learn that Joseph did this on the day of Preparation, as the Sabbath drew near. (Luke 23:54). In verses 55-56, we read:

And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

In such an important story, the mention of rest on the Sabbath reminds us that even during Christ’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, He still gave us the example of rest in Himself and those who worshiped Him.

The Sabbath has never changed. Found in both the Old and New Testament, we should remember to not lose sight of such an important part of our relationship with God, as we place emphasis on Christ’s resurrection. The holiness of the Sabbath and the time apart from our daily activities help to restore our hearts and our minds. God is calling us to draw closer to Him in these strange times… I pray that we each answer His call.

Thank You for reading. Please be sure to share your thoughts below!

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