“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
I recently had the honor of marrying my best friend, and it was a dream come true! Although wedding planning was full of joy, it was also a ton of hard work. Months of planning and preparation, decision fatigue, and exhaustion made us crave rest, solitude, and Sabbath. The Sabbath was an Old Testament commandment, but is now a New Testament gift. The Bible says that “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy”, which means that this day—the Sabbath—was set apart from all other days to be a day of rest from a long week of challenging work. The Sabbath is a day to set aside time to pray, immerse yourself in the Scriptures, and listen to the Spirit of God. A day to create space to be with Him and delight in His presence.
The Sabbath is a deeper invitation than just bodily rest, but rest for our souls as well. It points toward Jesus and His coming Kingdom. One of my favorite pastors, John Mark Comer, teaches that, “Most of Jesus’ miracles and healings occur on the Sabbath, because it is a day for healing us from the stresses and pressures of life. A day to worship God and rev our batteries and do some self and soul care.” Jesus promises us rest for our souls because his yoke is easy and his burden is light, and there is no prerequisite to being loved by Him! I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the word “restore” begins with rest. Taking a day to rest reminds us that we no longer have to strive or perform because Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins when He died on the cross and rose again.
Rest can be an act of worship but, “Rest is also a weapon! You want to fight Satan? Then Sabbath. It’s really hard to tempt people who are happy, healthy, and well-rested. It’s really easy to tempt people who are tired and stressed out.” (John Mark Comer) It may seem counterintuitive that resting will help fight the enemy, but if God rested then I am going to trust that He knows best!
1) Are you craving rest for your soul?
2) What would an ideal Sabbath day of rest look like for you?
3) When practicing the Sabbath ask yourself, “Will this lead my heart to wonder or routine?”
I challenge you to take one Sabbath day of rest every week for an entire month. Resist work—even small tasks like checking your email. Do things that bring you joy, thank God for the gifts all around you that we are often too busy to appreciate, and press into God’s Word! Some examples of Sabbath rest could be: say “no” to technology for the day, go for a bike ride, hike in the beautiful mountains, read the Bible, enjoy a delicious meal with family or friends, sing, dance, paint! Examine your soul before and after and see if there is a change in your spirit!
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the invitation you’ve given us to find rest for our souls in You! Thank you that the Sabbath was your idea to begin with and that you created it for our good. Help us to immerse ourselves in your Word, and create space in our lives for your Holy Spirit to move, convict, heal, and reveal more of your heart to us. Thank you for your Son, Jesus, and the life of freedom we get to live because He died and rose again! We love you God, and pray all of this in Jesus’ name.