Setting a day aside for Sabbath rest is just not common, if anything it is looked down upon in our “always on” culture.
The world tells us we always have to strive for the next best thing and so rest just isn’t practical. I often feel like I am running on a treadmill – constantly moving but not going forward. I need to take time to rest and recharge but the daily demands of life require me to keep moving. I have to be doing something at all times or else it won’t get done. I find myself physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.
It’s in those moments that I realize that God created sabbath rest for a purpose. Sabbath rest is countercultural. When I heard in a sermon that it was rebellious to practice sabbath rest, I knew I had to dive deeper. The rebellious, set apart side in me wanted to take this act of rest on in a more intentional way.
What is Sabbath Rest?
God created the heavens and the earth – and then he RESTED! Rest is God ordained and God created.
There is a difference between rest and laziness. I used to think for the longest time that they are one and the same. I would choose laziness because I was so overwhelmed that I would distract myself but never fully “fill my cup” back up. While God tells us that working is a good thing, He also knows our limits and calls us to rest.
Sabbath rest is the biggest act of faithfulness and obedience. It’s understanding that we were created with limits and need to rely on a limitless God.
God calls us to embrace what is and rest in knowing that he is working out everything to be beautiful and good. Let’s stand out and create new ways of living by going against what the world says by embracing sabbath rest.
What does the Bible Say About Sabbath Rest?
In Exodus 16, we see that God led his people out of Egypt. Then he led them to wander in the desert where hunger and thirst threatened their daily lives. In the midst of the complaining, God provided for his people.
On the sixth day, the Israelites were commanded to collect just enough manna so they could set aside a day for sabbath rest. God provided everything they needed so they could commit to one day of complete rest. He even went so far as to bless this day and call it holy.
As with everything, Jesus is our greatest example of how to practice sabbath rest. He consistently took time away to spend with God. He used it as a time for healing and renewal.
Furthermore, He taught that God gave man sabbath as a gift (Mark 2:27). Jesus is the fulfillment of the rest. When we come to Jesus, we find true present and eternal rest.
5 Tips to Practice Sabbath Rest
Spiritual disciplines, like Sabbath rest, help us grow closer to God. This kind of rest refreshes our soul. It brings us back in communion with God. It gives us new energy to carry out His purpose and mission.
Worship and Talk to God
This is where you start with worship and talking to God. This is probably the hardest part to remember. Start with praise for all God has done for you then move to confession of what barriers are keeping you from this time and ask God to renew your heart of focus on Him as a daily and weekly practice.
Worshipping and talking to God puts life into perspective. Spend time shutting out the world and worship and talk with God.
Unplug from Your Phone
I hate to break it to you but sitting on the couch and scrolling on your phone is not restful. In fact it tends to bring more anxiety and stress into our lives. True sabbath rest requires you to put your phone down or as far away as you need, to truly spend time in the present. It requires you to silence the outside noise so you can tune into what God is saying.
Fellowship with Other Believers
This is probably one of my favorite aspects of Sabbath rest. Nothing fills me more or refreshes my soul then being in fellowship with other believers. It is a day to spend unhurried time with friends.
Recently, our community group started doing park days after church. We are able to just do life together outside our standard weekly time together.
Spend Time in Nature
Creation is a beautiful gift for us to enjoy. When we are always hurrying, we forget to stop and observe the beauty all around us.
I tend to feel closest to God when I am outdoors. The beach is my happy place. No matter where you go, when we spend time with God in nature, it brings gratitude and appreciation for all that God has given us to enjoy in the present moment.
Other Ideas for Sabbath Rest
- Meditate over Biblical affirmations
- Write in a journal
- Take a bath
- Read a book
- Go for a hike
- Take a vacation
- Turn off your social media and email notifications
- Take a nap
- Play a game
- Do what gives you life
- Have a dance party
Prayer for Sabbath Rest
Don’t feel guilty about taking time to rest and restore your physical, emotional and spiritual health. God commands us to rest and we should listen! When you create a practice of Sabbath rest, you will be able to show up for those you love and handle whatever life throws your way.
“Lord, thank you for designing us the way you did knowing that we would need to find rest. Quiet my heart, give my soul rest and renew my spirit. Help me to be intentional with taking sabbath rest and encourage me to find true present and eternal rest in you alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”