Our culture is sick with busyness and constant connectedness. Almost everyone seems exhausted just trying to keep all the plates spinning and, for many, this gets to a very unhealthy point and leads to a lot of destructive tendencies and patterns. Enter the Sabbath. If I’m honest, it kind of feels like an antiquated idea. Who would take a whole day out of every week to intentionally rest and recharge when there are so many things to get done? In reality, the Sabbath properly observed is not simply one of the Ten Commandments, it is a salve for our tired-sick souls. There are likely bountiful reasons you could come up with to NOT observe the Sabbath, so I’d like to give you five reasons why you should abide in Christ by observing the Sabbath.
5 Reasons to Observe the Sabbath
1) The Sabbath will restore your body.God has designed our bodies, our emotions and our minds such that we work best on a rhythm of work and rest. Our bodies are not wired to break the Sabbath, and things start to break when we do.
In reality, the Sabbath properly observed is not simply one of the Ten Commandments, it is a salve for our tired-sick souls.
Over-work and a lack of rest is the cause of a lot of the anxiety we feel, and it might not seem like much when you spend a day in rest, but the long-term results of a rhythm of work and Sabbath rest are very rewarding for your health, joy and sanity. Sabbath has this amazing, centering, rejuvenating effect on us. Sabbath humbles us by telling us we are not God and we are not invincible. The pace that many of us try to live by is unsustainable, and we have to rest and be renewed physically. 2) The Sabbath will reorient your heart to the gospel.We tend to derive our meaning and significance from what we achieve. We believe, deep down, that we have to earn our identity. That we have to justify the square inches of dirt we are taking up on this earth, and time God has commanded us to rest could be used to achieve.
Sabbath humbles us by telling us we are not God and we are not invincible. The pace that many of us try to live by is unsustainable, and we have to rest and be renewed physically.
The good news is that God has accomplished both our salvation and our identity. The Sabbath is a very literal way of acting out the gospel and rebelling against performance-based living. The Sabbath teaches you that you are not what you accomplish. Isn’t that so freeing? Our accomplishments don’t make us who we are—Jesus does. 3) The Sabbath fosters rebellion against cultural shallowness. Our culture moves at light-speed. Sabbath says, “Slow down and enjoy a rocking chair.” Our culture values noise, but the Sabbath values stillness and quiet. Our culture is frantic and our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter. Sabbath encourages us to think about something for longer than the flick of a finger on a screen. Unplug. Be present. Turn your phone off so you can pray or talk to people without being distracted. Instead of reading tweets, read an article. Instead of reading articles, read a book. Think about something longer than 30 seconds. Focus on one thing for an hour, rather than thinking 1000 different thoughts in an hour. Sabbath is a beautiful way to rebel against the shallowness of our culture. 4) The Sabbath will help you remember what matters.Your relationship with the Lord. Your wife. Your husband. Your children. Your friends. Your church community. Your emotional and spiritual health. These matter so much more than that email, that client, that phone call, that project. Sabbath gives you the space you need to remember that.
Unplug. Be present. Instead of reading tweets, read an article. Instead of reading articles, read a book. Think about something longer than 30 seconds.
Sabbath also gives us a chance to pause and remember our motives. In the craziness of life, things you love can become work that you hate, as everything melts into one “enormous obligation.” Sabbath lets us zoom out, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, and reminds you of what really matters in life. 5) The Sabbath will increase your awareness of God.Sabbath is a day intentionally directed God-ward, and practicing it recalibrates our hearts to God relationally. On the Sabbath, we give our attention to God in a more focused and sustained way than we’re able to the rest of the week because our attention is less divided. Resist the urge to veg out and be intentional about your rest. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Read a novel. Cook a delicious meal without rushing with some friends. Watch college football (because we all know it’s Jesus’ favorite sport). Go on a hike. Do whatever you do with a Godward focus.
Sabbath lets us zoom out, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, and reminds you of what really matters in life.
What changes can you commit to making in your life rhythm to abide in Christ through the Sabbath? You better plan them now, because if you don’t before you click away from this article we all know change is unlikely to take place. Don’t refuse the gift!
Published February 11, 2016