“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:2-3. These versus are the foundation of what has been known through history as the Sabbath. Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” which is one of the Ten Commandments God gave through Moses. There is a lot of misunderstanding of what the Sabbath truly is and what it was meant for. Many treat the Sabbath as a day for going to church and keeping holy by going to worship.
Jesus reminds us of an important fact, however, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” There is a misunderstanding that points to what it means to really keep the Sabbath Holy. As Jesus says, it was made for man. How do you truly keep it Holy? That is by resting. By taking time to just step away from the busyness of everyday life and to do lists. Letting your soul rest, letting your spirit rest, letting your body rest, and letting God come in and restore and renew you. Something we all need.
I’m not advocating staying away from worship and your church families. I believe this is still an important part of our life and having connections with others in the faith, but we still need to set time for ourselves to unplug from the matrix and as John Eldredge reminded me at his latest Men at the Outpost event, to just think about nothing and let the soul do nothing but rest.
Be honest with yourself, when is the last time you truly experienced a Sabbath in this sense? Experienced a day where you could just completely rest from the norms of everyday life. The problem is that in the society we live in today, we are constantly bombarded. Bombarded with information, with to do lists, and demands. Think about how many WiFi, radio, and cellular signals that are just filling the airwaves. Information is everywhere and our society is all about getting things done now, done faster, winning and winning faster (whatever that means). It is an unrelenting barrage and quite frankly, most of us never take the time get away from it. Think about it, how much anxiety would you feel if you were told you could not touch your cell phone or any other technology for a day or weekend. I’ve felt it. It’s difficult.
This is one big reason why I have just grown to despise the big city. I literally cannot stand the city any longer. It is too much chaos. Too much busyness. I go when I need to, but the more I can avoid it, all the better. I know many of you won’t see eye-to-eye with me on this, but it’s just the way I’ve grown to see things. My wife and I decided nearly 10 years ago to move away from the city and did so, and now prayerfully, eventually will settle into our own land in the country to just give us space and peace.
In “The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God,” Mark Buchanan stated, “Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” Our lives need rest. God gave us the Sabbath so that we could have rest. Again, it was made for man. And as Buchanan said, you cannot fully come alive in busyness. If anything I find that continued busyness pulls you away from life. It pulls you away from keeping guard over your spirit, soul, and body, and your heart, mind, and will. You can’t actively engage and walk with God if you are constantly caught up in busyness. You can’t be fully prepared for spiritual warfare. You can’t gain the counsel your heart needs. You can’t have restoration and healing of your heart. Again, you can’t come fully alive. The glory of God is man fully alive.”
I think this is such an important aspect of our lives. Stepping away from the chaos and the constant coming and going. As John Eldredge likes to say, unplug from the Matrix. I was talking to one of my brothers at church a couple of weeks back and he shared with me that someone counselled him to take a weekend to just get away. Even leave his Bible, maybe bring a journal and just get away alone. The restoration and power of that is so rich and amazing. It’s something God intended for everyone of us. Real rest from everyday life. Real restoration of the soul.
Take some time to think about this. If you are thinking to yourself, “I just can’t drop everything and get away,” that right there is an indication of just how connected we are to the Matrix. Trust me, I’ve felt it too, but God is also stirring in me the need to change this way of thinking. I need to make it more of a habit to unplug and rest. Yes, there are responsibilities and things that need our attention, but we cannot neglect our hearts either. If we get so lost in everything, we can’t watch over our hearts.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). I quoted this verse last week, and it’s very relevant. It can be so easy to lose heart and shrink to complacency. To just let life run you down, but as this Proverb states, the springs of life flow from our heart. We have to care for it. We cannot neglect it. Part of caring for it, comes from rest and seeking God for restoration, for healing. This is an offer to every single one of us, but we have to choose whether to accept it.
So again, just think about it. When is the last time you truly had a Sabbath? Truly had rest and was able to do nothing and unplug. I realize that even when I go to the beach as relaxing and wonderful as it is to sit in front of the ocean and watch it do it’s thing, I still don’t unplug. When I have been hunting, phone is still in my pocket. Wild at Heart was my first time truly unplugging. It’s what we need, otherwise, why would God have even made that time. If He rested, I’m pretty sure we need it too. Think about it.