What is a Sabbath Rest… Really?

UPDATE

I posted this here, and already I can tell practicing a Sabbath rest will take some adapting and even some tweaking. Taking times to pull away regularly from social media and the internet will take discipline and practice.  But I know it is a way for me to make sure that I do not get depleted without taking time to refill. It’s about taking time to refocus and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the One who calls.  I originally posted every 7th week I would unplug. That will continue to be a guideline I will go by as the Lord leads along the way. I am looking forward to hearing quiet and listening to God speak clear, as I take time to renew. I will be hosting a guest blogger during this time. Thank you for grace. You are a beautiful gift to me.


I do not know much about Sabbath rest, I must admit. But as I have been reading through the Bible in 90 Days, it has come up quite frequently. I do know I need rest, but I wonder what kind of rest does the Lord mean here?


“It is a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and you must deny yourselves…”

Leviticus 16:31


The “deny yourselves” part captured my attention and my heart. I work everyday, as a wife, homeschooling mama, and now I blog, too. But, how much work do I do, selfishly, that I would have to deny myself?


That’s the question that quickly came. Although I know the implications here in this verse are a bit different for me than for the God’s people living in Old Testament times, it still is God’s Word. Somehow, it is applicable for me. It’s the “somehow” I have seeking an answer to. How is this relevant today?


Keep the Sabbath day holy.

Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,

but enjoy the Sabbath

and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.

Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,

and don’t follow your own desires.

Isaiah 58:13


There it is.


Don’t pursue your own interests. Don’t follow your own desires. Deny yourselves. 


These directives are foundational for us as a followers of Christ. How is it different specifically for the Sabbath? These thoughts and questions I am still pondering, saying to God, “I want to know what You mean here. I want You to find me obedient. Help me understand. I do seek its depth.” 

God has been leading me here, to learn how to take a Sabbath rest. I am sure I do not have the complete answer, but this is what I have found it means to me.

I do need rest. I pour out and I giveI give when I feel I have nothing left. What good am I to anyone in my family or even God, if I am running on empty? None will have the best part of me. I need time to reconnect to the Vine if I’ve gotten disconnected trying to connect with everyone else. I need to take time to clear the clutter and the noise in my head. When God is trying to speak and I need to find quiet to hear. I need to pull away to draw in close.


I do need to deny myself
. Sometimes I find satisfaction in my work — accomplishments all my own — feeling quite proud. Sometimes I don’t work as unto the Lord. I work as unto me — putting it all before Him. How, then, could my work be a true offering to Him? The Sabbath will be a time of surrender. 

As a homeschooling mama, it will mean I will have to prepare for it. Have the clothes already washed, and meals easy to prepare. My week ahead, already planned. I will have to let things go on that day, in order to rest in God, with all the family together.

I do believe it is NOT by accident that in verse 12, these words,

“…a restorer of homes.”

come directly before,

“Keep the Sabbath day holy.”


I long for God’s Abiding Presence to be in our home. I am believing there will be a change in the spiritual climate of our family. Our hearts and conversations turned more to God, and less to tasks or TV.  More peace and less bickering. More joy and less complaining. More unity as love increased, strengthens our bond. Perhaps even an increase in our efficiency and productivity. More done in less time because we honor God with our time.


Yes, these things I will believe for.


As a blogger, it will mean becoming unplugged. Not indefinitely, but set aside specific times for it. I will pull away from all things internet — all things World Wide Web.


1. Every Sunday

2. Every 7th week, for 1 week. (6 weeks online – 7th week offline)


Anyone who is purposefully building a ministry, and that’s what this space is to me, knows rest from it, could be lack of progress. So it’s going to take some faith to pull away. But in pulling away and in the seeking, I know that I will find the One who will do the refilling and the One who will do the building.


As I lean in and press in close, as I turn my eyes to Him and surrender all I am, over and over again, I know that nothing I offer to God is ever lost. Even a small gift offered and placed His hands, He can multiply into something abundantly beyond my fullest expectations. God will honor and satisfy.


Here it is found in the rest of the passage — His promise.


Then the Lord will be your delight.

“I will give you great honor

and satisfy you with the inhertitance

I promised to your ancestor Jacob.

I, the Lord, have spoken!”

 Isaiah 58:14

And in the Message, spoken plain,

If you watch your step on the Sabbath
and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage,
If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy,
God’s holy day as a celebration,
If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’
making money, running here and there—
Then you’ll be free to enjoy God!
Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all.
I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob.”
Yes! God says so!

Isaiah 58:13-14

 
Free to enjoy God! Ride high and soar above it all! Yes, in this promise, I will rest.

I would love to know what your thoughts and convictions are

for the Sabbath Rest.

I am still learning. Will you share in comments?

 

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  • http://www.thisjourneyourlife.com Rachel

    I love the fact that you’re choosing to set aside time for a “Sabbath Rest”…I believe the Lord will honor you for doing what He’s placed in your heart to do.

    Right now I take a break from social media, blogging etc only on Sundays but I’m praying about what the Lord would have me to do concerning a regularly scheduled break more than just my once a week on Sundays (I did take an previously unplanned, but much needed break this summer).

    And I must say…I do love your idea of the 7th week since that is when God rested after creation–on the 7th day!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Rachel,

      Thank you for this encouragement. There is just a twinge of doubt for me sometimes — maybe I am crazy to do this in the blogging world, but then I know that He is my portion and my reward. The blessing I receive with time with God and family far outweighs any loss.

      I have no doubt that God will make clear your way before you :)

      Blessings to you as you journey on for His glory,

      Michele-Lyn

  • Vicki

    I enjoy your blogs because I appreciate your heart and what God is doing in your life. I also appreciate the comments from the other ladies.
    My comment isn’t on the Sabbath but what caught my attention was in the beginning of your entry you stated, “It’s not a ‘law’ that I am living by.” Not too long ago I did a word study on Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving my soul…”
    The Greek word and meaning for law is teaching. That changed the way I saw and thought of the “law” when I read it in His word.( which is usually in a negative tone when I read the LAW, must be the rebel in me) “The teachings of the LORD are perfect…” So if He teaches me to have a Sabbath, that must be what is best for me. I totally agree that we are under the newness of Christ, but I also believe that God tells us to take a day of rest and have some “Mary time” with Him because He knows what we need and what is best.
    Thank you for your blog Michele-Lyn :)

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Vicki,

      Oh, you shed some beautiful light with the truth you shared in your comment on the blog. I love that I can think of the law – as teaching. I often think of the verse that says… “or whoever keep the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10) And this one “Do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” Galatians 2:21

      That is why I desire to find what His teaching under the Old Covenant, means for me, us, under the New Covenant. I am no Bible scholar, but definitely will always be a Bible student. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.

      I am looking forward to taking time to rest next week, and sit at His feet.

      Blessings to you,

      Michele-Lyn

  • Nissa

    We are also doing the 90 day challenge and the Sabbath is something we have been talking since we started. Honestly we have not kept the Sabbath. Sunday’s are busy, busy but the 90 day challenge has called us to slow down in general.
    My husband is a nurse and is not always off on Sunday. I have read about Pastors and people required to work who choose another day, we are still praying about this. Thank you for this post and I look forward to the Homeschooling posts.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Nissa,

      From what I know, and it’s not a lot, we can choose any day of the week to be a Sabbath rest. I think you are right, the key here is to take time to pull away and slow down. I know that pastors work very hard on Sundays. I cannot even imagine how exhausted they are after. But my heart’s desire is to stay connected to the Vine, because apart from Him we can do nothing.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. We journey together — for One.

      Blessings,

      Michele-Lyn

  • http://www.encourage-1-another.blogspot.co.uk Wendy @ E1A

    This is a tremendous post! Thank you for posting what the Lord has been challenging you. I believe this will benefit so many who read this post [if we obey by putting in into action]!

    I especially love what you observed re: the following:

    “I do believe it is NOT by accident that in verse 12, these words,

    “…a restorer of homes.”

    come directly before,

    “Keep the Sabbath day holy.”

    I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to add this post to my Inspirational Posts page?

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Wendy,

      Thank you for this encouraging comment. I am still learning what this means for my life in God. I want to rest in Him during these times I step away from online community — so I will have more to pour out into my family and encouraging others. It’s not easy :)

      Blessings to you,

      Michele-Lyn

  • http://www.journeywithd.com Deanna

    I’ve also been convicted about resting, specifically unplugging and drawing near to God. I feel like I am on the brink of something amazing…all because of my commitment to unplug!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Deanna,

      God is speaking to my heart so much about how important taking times to rest are. I am still navigating may way through finding how, but I know He is faithful to lead…

      Blessings to you,

      Michele-Lyn

  • Sandra

    Great blog! My husband and I have often talked about this topic of “Sabbath”. With leading two (possibly 3) children church services on Sunday, it’s more of a workday than a day of rest. Moreover, Sundays are the only guaranteed days off for our extended family, so we plan all of our family birthdays and get togethers on Sundays. Putting all of that aside, as a mom of 6 kids, a day of “Sabbath” would definitely have to be planned out in advance…cooking and cleaning the day before.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Sandra,

      Oh, so glad to see you here. I didn’t know it was you, Sandra, until I saw your email. I cannot imagine what it’s like for pastors on Sunday. It’s hard just for us, at times, but you all are so faithful.

      I think the important thing here, is rest. We all need that day to refresh. Perhaps, once a month for you and your husband and precious family. You all are such diligent workers in God’s kingdom. What blessings you are storing in heaven!

      I love you all so much!

  • http://unstuckandunstoppable.com Karen

    Taking time to rest and fellowship in the Lord is a wonderful thing, so do enjoy it! Sabbath rest makes me think of what it might be like in heaven– worship, peace, joy, restfulness.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Karen,

      These are great words here! Thank you for them :)

  • http://workinglearningmommy.blogspot.com Student Mom (Jenn)

    Wow! I’m also doing research into the Sabbath! My understanding is that nothing income generating is to be done on that day (and that day is any day you choose, so long as you dedicate it to rest, remembering God, and that this day is His gift to you).

    The world view is to rush and hurry and make as much as you can, work all the time, prepare for tomorrow, etc. God’s plan is so completely different! He wants us to rest every week because you can’t be effective if you’re warn out. Not only that… you are rewarded with rest for a weeks work well done. Once you begin to see the rest as a reward it makes the rest even more enjoyable.

    God loves me enough to reward me for six days of hard work! How cool is that?! It makes you want to put the extra effort into those six days too.

    In from Lisa Jo’s.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Jenn,

      Thank you for all the great teaching and insight here. I like how it’s any day I choose. I did not think of that. I do want to see it as a gift, and I am already starting to.

      I am surrendering this, and since it is a free-will offering and not a mandate for us in the NT, I pray that God does bless it.

      Thank you again for all of this truth.

      Blessings to you,

      Michele-Lyn

  • http://unstuckandunstoppable.com Karen

    Hi Michele,

    Thoughts on Sabbath Rest — what a loaded one! :-)

    I used to be Seventh Day Adventist, and in that denomination, there was plenty of talk about Sabbath Rest. The Sabbath Day was to be taken and observed literally — no work on the 7th day of the week, which is (per the Jewish calendar), Friday sunset through Saturday sunset.

    To observe the Sabbath day as described in the Old Testament, this is what would have to be followed, if the commandment was to be observed literally (which is what I believe it was intended for prior to New Testament revelation).

    In the New Testament, however, we see some clarity given to the concept of Sabbath. The Sabbath day was a type or “shadow” of the rest we are to have in Christ’s work for our salvation. He IS our Sabbath rest.

    Is there still benefit to setting aside time a day for just you and the Lord? ABSOLUTELY!! And if there is one thing I miss about being Seventh Day Adventist, it’s the “mandatory” Sabbath rest and fellowship. It was a wonderful spiritually rejuvenating time.

    But are we in disobedience if don’t keep the seventh day Sabbath? No. Not if we believe that Christ is our Sabbath rest.

    Are we in obedience if we keep another day as a Sabbath?
    No. Not if we believe that the commandment is still to be taken literally today (7th day = Saturday, not any other day).

    This topic can get so very deep for those who are personally attached to the concept of a Sabbath day.

    I no longer am, and thankfully, due to revelation from the Lord through scriptures shared by others, I recognize and celebrate that Christ is my Sabbath rest, and I rest in his finished work on the cross.

    Here are a few scriptures that helped me in this realization.
    Matthew 11:28,29 Christ will give us rest
    Acts
    Romans 14:4-10 If you give a day, you give it unto the Lord
    Colossians 2: 16,17 Don’t let others judge you by Sabbath Days
    Hebrews 4: 1 – 11 If there was rest in the Sabbath Day, why would the scriptures continue to speak about different “rests”

    There is so much more, but considering that this is supposed to be a response to a blog post, and not a blog post in and of itself (LOL!), I’ll stop here.

    Hugz,
    Karen

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Karen,

      I am so glad you shared, especially your experience in this. I love how you pointed out the truth of Christ being our Sabbath Rest. Oh, yes, we can rest in His finished work in the cross!

      I hope that as I take this time to rest, intentionally and with purpose of seeking God, that it will not be something that I take a make a “law” and come out from under grace.

      I am taking time to rest, in order to draw nearer to God, and be refilled so that I may have something to pour out.

      In all the 18 years that I have known Christ, I have not ever had Him lead me to such a thing. I know it’s timing — perhaps I will need it more for the road ahead.

      God knows.

      Thank you again for sharing! Walking by His grace,

      Michele-Lyn