Sabbath Rest is spelled PLAY
Sunday, April 10th, I had the privilege to teach in the Middle School ministry. They just started a series on spiritual disciplines and I taught about the first discipline ever recorded – Genesis 2 – Sabbath rest! I will include my slides here and a brief review.
So that I would be sure to teach from experience, God had the power go off for most of Saturday so that i would practice!
Sabbath literally means rest. It is the original spiritual discipline.
Genesis 2:3 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.
Was God tired after creating everything? How many out there know that God didnâ€™t need to rest and take a break? God doesnâ€™t need sleep, and He doesnâ€™t need rest. No, God established this Sabbath day of rest not for Himself, but rather for His brand new creation. He doesn’t need rest – in fact the only thing He can’t do is stop thinking about you – you are His favorite!
After everything was created, God knew that those things which are created need rest. He isnâ€™t a created being so He doesnâ€™t need rest, but the things He created do need it. And these include (but are not limited to): the land, animals, and of course people. All of these things would need rest, and God established one day every week that all of these things were to rest. He blessed this day and set it apart from all of the other days for manâ€™s sake (and for His creationâ€™s sake as a whole).
Sabbath is the holiest and most special day of the week for the jews. It is like the fanciest meal or holiday gathering you can imagine and they do it every week. Before electricity humans were aided by their need for rest because the sun went down every night. But now we have figured out how to produce light 24 hours a day and we can see in the dark
In California we have no seasons so we go all year long at hyper speed.
God created this for us. Sabbath is a gift from God. It is a way of life that God has designed for us. This day of rest gives us a path to walk for life, so we can make it for the long haul, especially when we are busy from sun up to sun down!
Rather than seeing Sabbath as a restrictive day when we canâ€™t be productive (Think Pharisees & Laura Ingalls Wilder), we can view it as an invitation to celebrate the goodness of God. To enjoy Him, and to enjoy the family and friends around us, freed from the distractions that fill the other 6 days of our week. Rather than seeing Sabbath as unrealistic, we can start small and see what happens.
- What happens when you don’t get rest? Well, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ve all experienced periods in your life when you have had a lack of physical rest. Whether when you were playing a sport or during a particularly finals at school. During these times you didnâ€™t get the physical rest that your body really needed. Do you remember how you felt during that period in your life? Depending on the severity of your lack of rest you will probably remember one (or more) or these symptoms that accompanied your lack of rest:
- Distracted and unable to focus
- Clumsy (sometimes to the point of being a danger to yourself and those around you)
- A feeling of being drained and exhausted all the time
2. But what happens when donâ€™t spiritually rest? What’s the difference between physical & spiritual rest? Physical rest is vital to the nourishment of our bodies. But did you know that spiritual rest is vital to the nourishment of our souls? And speaking from a spiritual standpoint when we donâ€™t get the physical rest we need, we arenâ€™t as alert as we need to stay as Christians. The Bible says that we are to stay alert because the devil prowls around like a lion looking for those to devour (1 Peter 5:8). When we are lacking in sleep, we are often un-alert and more easily tempted into sin.
It can be a lot more difficult to detect if you are lacking in spiritual rest (versus physical rest). But there are symptoms that you can be on the look out for. Symptoms such as:
- A feeling of God being far away
- Thoughts of doubt seeping into your mind
- Forgoing fellowship with Christian friends and family
- Works of the flesh sneaking into your life (Galatians 5:19-21)
- Not bearing the Fruits of the Spirit in your life (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Sin becoming more prevalent in your life
- A diminishing (or non-existent) prayer life
- Trouble opening and reading your Bible
- Becoming less and less concerned for the things of God and more and more drawn to the things of the world
3. What is NOT biblical Sabbath? However, physical rest doesnâ€™t always have to be spiritual rest, and spiritual rest doesnâ€™t always equate physical rest. Sometimes physical rest can look like enjoying a hobby you have put down for a long time, taking a mid-day nap, or taking an extra long shower or bubble bath. And there are times when spiritual rest looks like serving the poor and needy in your community, or driving an hour away to visit friends who really need some Christian fellowship at the moment.
So physical rest and spiritual rest are not always synonymous. However, they can definitely occur at the same time when both are needed at the same time. I also want to stress that physical rest, in and of itself, is not enough. Itâ€™s fine to pursue physical rest on its own. However, a regular period of spiritual refreshment and rest is essential to living fully and closely to God. Sabbath rest does not mean laziness. Rest does not mean putting off your responsibilities indefinitely. In fact, proper rest should equip you to combat laziness because itâ€™s about setting aside a time to get the rest you need in order to be ready to get back to work after your rest is complete. Essentially spiritual disciplines, like rest, help you to grow stronger as a Christian and closer in your walk with God. They are essential for sanctification and cultivating a life that is God-centered and not me-centered.
I think this is why rest as a spiritual discipline can sometimes be hard to see as a selfless act. Because it feels like taking time for rest is a me-centered thing. And it certainly can be. But, when done correctly and with a God-focused mindset, it can actually be a ministry to our families, an act of worship to God, and a way to water our weary souls.
Isaiah 58:13-14 â€œIf 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.â€
4. What do you do for sabbath? PLAY What does it mean to you? Easter is the reason we sabbath on Sundays! SIDE note – Disciplines mean habits and so Sabbath is meant to be a regular habit!
- Jesus took time to rest. Mt:35 Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.
Mt. 14:13 â€“ He withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
2. He spent time with God When the disciples and JC were on a boat, he laid down for a nap. The disciples were freaked out and asked him if he didnâ€™t care if they drowned.(Mark 4:38) Jesusâ€™ sleep is actually a sign of his trust in the Lord. He knew God was in charge.
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.
3. He taught that it was made for us, not the other way around
Mark 2:27 And he said to them, â€œThe Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
When Jesus finished the greatest work he said â€œIt is finished.â€ there was Sabbath. Here is a little acrostic to help remember how Sabbath is
Pause. Stop working. Stop what you regularly do. Take a break. Sleep. You will become a Better student, sibling, artist, athlete, etc.
Worship- Reconnect. God loves us for who we are and not what we do
Use this as a chance to make sure you are right with God. Embrace your limits and learn to trust. Restore and realign.
These are 2 questions I ask myself on Sundays – both in the morning and at night.
This was the only word I could come up with to express fun. play. relaxation. Rejoice! Jesus said the Kingdom of God is a Party. The cat in the hat says it is fun to have fun but you have to know how. Intentional time doing something â€“ Make a plan
We know that Jesus is the one who changes everything. The Bible says that Jesus is our Sabbath.
Key Point: Jesus Christ is our Sabbath. Hebrews 4:9,10
All of the Old Testament laws were fulfilled in him. By making him our Lord and Savior, we fulfill the entire law and enter into his rest. This was what the Bible â€“Godâ€™s word- teaches. Salvation isnâ€™t found in a day. Salvation isnâ€™t found in a law. Salvation is found in no other name but the name of Jesus. Acts 4:12
And Iâ€™d like to share with you some practical tips that you can try to help you practice both physical and spiritual rest. It is not easy to keep any habit until you make them and then it is not easy to keep them unless you do it daily!
- Set aside one day each week to stop everything regular and just spend time with God and your family.
- Force yourself to rest from certain things for a given time throughout the week (like fasting from them) (i.e. your phone or Facebook)
- Take time each day to physically rest (even if itâ€™s only 5 minutes) from the hustle and bustle.
- Crank up the worship music, sing along and worship God freely.
- relax on the couch with a book or a movie.
- Get up to take time to pray and read the Bible each day.
- Make sabbath routine
- Practice spending one day (or any given time) meditating on the things of God (a scripture, concept, story, etc.) and put aside the thoughts of the world for that day.
- Improve upon and discipline yourself in your prayer life
Take my mind think through it
Take my lips speak through them
Take my heart set on fire for Jesusâ€™ sake