Making Space for Rest

Jul 20, 2018
Jeff Vanderstelt

How can you observe your own Sabbath?
True rest replenishes your soul, and Jesus showed us what it means to enter the rest of God. In Luke 6:5 Jesus stated, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Some of us aren’t resting because we don’t realize that the Sabbath isn’t a day; it’s a person. The Sabbath is Jesus. He’s our rest. We must learn to rest in His work on our behalf.

Jesus’ work was perfect because He rested the entire time He worked during His earthly life. He rested in what the Father said about Him:

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. ” Matthew 3:17

Jesus never did any work to be accepted. Jesus did all His work because He was accepted. He wants you to enter that rest by affirming that the Father loves you in Jesus Christ, who died for the forgiveness of your sins, including all the ways you have lived without rest and have gone to the wrong places to find rest. Jesus died so that you could rest in His work on your behalf, knowing the Father says over you in Jesus, “This is My beloved child, with whom I am pleased.”

Jesus has accomplished more for your life and soul than you could ever strategize, plan, or labor for. Moments of rest in your life allow you to realize that truth. You can set aside such moments by engaging in a Sabbath.

Observing a Sabbath is a means of teaching yourself how to rest. A Sabbath involves deliberate disengagement from your normal world to remind yourself that Jesus is the Lord of your life, your work, and your world. But a Sabbath is also a deliberate engagement in the gifts and presence of God. During a Sabbath you observe God’s control, work, mystery, grace, and favor by taking time to see them apart from your control, work, and drive. To experience a Sabbath, you plan and observe a day in which you watch God work, hear His voice, and realize His faithfulness.

A twenty-four-hour period is strongly recommended for a Sabbath. If this practice is new for you, it will require some planning because true rest doesn’t come naturally. You’ll have to set the day and adjust your schedule.

There are three simple components in a Sabbath: inactivity, prayer, and enjoyment.

1. Pursue true inactivity. Take time during the day to be still and practice silence and solitude. Mentally reflect on all God has done during the previous week and on the burdens you carry.

2. Engage in prayer. Take time to read a psalm, reflect on it, and pray. Plan prayer times beforehand and make prayer a constant priority throughout the day. Give thanks for who God is and what He has done.

3. Do things you enjoy. A Sabbath is a sweet gift from the God who loves you. Consider ways you can do truly fun, enjoyable things. Go on a hike, swim, ski, paint, write, do woodworking, and eat good food, remembering that all of these activities are ways you can worship God.

At the end of your Sabbath, reflect on your experience. Which component of observing a Sabbath was most helpful for you? In what ways did you see and hear God? How does your Sabbath experience change the way you look forward to your usual routine?

The deepest need of every human heart is to be at rest with God. The rest you long for has been given to you through the restorative power of the gospel. God has raised you to new life in Jesus and has seated you at His right hand (see Eph. 2:1-10). You’re now and forever alive with Christ. Therefore, Jesus has become your rest (see Heb. 4:9-10).

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