Going Deeper with the Message:
Resting in God
by: Ben Biles
On Sunday, Pastor Josh talked about the importance of Sabbath rest saying that the “Sabbath is God’s weekly gift of rest, refreshment, and relationships.” We see that God’s desire for us to rest is strong. In the Old Testament, the sabbath was a day meant for taking a rest from labor and work, modeled after God’s own rest in Creation. He instituted that everyone stay home and enjoy their rest with their families. The command was so important, that anyone found breaking the sabbath was put to death.
God even states that there should be a sabbath for the land—a year of not growing any crops or working the fields (see Leviticus 25). This was a tough pill to swallow for a people that based most of their economy and security on their agricultural production. Yet, God promised that He would sustain the nation with previous year’ harvest. We come to understand that rest is important for all of creation. It is a part of the natural rhythm God created and God provides us a way to enjoy our rest without worry.
For many of us, our tendency is to be work-oriented, whether that is at the office or at home. We feel the strain and stress of various levels of work day after day. Without the capacity to rest, we would easily burnout and fall into despair. I mean, just think of how miserable we would all be without the weekend! Instead, work is punctuated with periods of rest so that we can be refreshed and ready for more.
The struggle we all face is being able to rest effectively. We often turn to phone screens or TV screens or computer screens (a lot of screens) for immediate happiness, but don’t always feel refreshed by them. Some people are refreshed by spending quality time with others while some just need a few hours to themselves. One thing remains true for all of us: we are always refreshed in the presence of our God. When we spend time with Him, we are comforted by His love, renewed by His grace, and reassured by His promises. If you don’t already have time in your schedule to spend with God, make it a priority to build this habit. We guarantee that you’ll feel the rest and refreshment your soul longs for and be empowered to confront life’s many challenges.
Living out the Message:
Setting a Sabbath
By Ben Biles
This week, we’ve been talking about the importance of setting aside a period of 24 hours at some point during your week in order to intentionally rest. Though the Old Testament Jews were required by God’s law to keep the Sabbath every week, believers are not so required. However, we desire to find time to intentionally rest in the Lord for when we do this, we are comforted by His love, renewed by His grace, and reassured by His promises.
The challenge we are giving to you this week, and continuing into the year, is to select a day of the week in which you can truly take 24 hours to rest, spend time building relationships, and being refreshed by whatever gives you refreshment. Then, communicate that plan to those that are able to help you keep to it. We are much less likely to hold to habits when we don’t let others hold us accountable to them. Make sure someone close to you knows and helps you stick to it, like your spouse or good friend.
Make sure to plan out your Sabbath so that you are maximizing your rest. If you need to, turn off your phone and shut down your computer. Get away from distractions. Now, the important thing is that you find some time during this rest period to spend with God in a deeper, more intentional way. We believe that He is able to refresh us more than anything else. This might look like a combination of Bible study, prayer, meditation, worship through music, journaling, etc. Personally, I like going on walks with God when the weather is nice. I just put some headphones in, listen to worshipful music, and pray while I’m cruising down the Rail Trail. But you need to find what will work for you!
Then spend the rest of the day doing whatever it is that fills up your soul, mind, and heart. Don’t feel like you are being selfish, for you are simply filling yourself up so that you are better able to love, support, and work in the coming days. We have noticed that when we don’t take time to rest, we have less to give and we struggle to excel in these areas.
We strongly encourage you to not pass this up. Make Sabbath rest a weekly habit and we guarantee that it will change the way you approach your relationships, your work, the way you spend your time, and so much more.