Are you constantly running on empty or are you being refreshed during
each day? How might we ‘run without getting weary’?
Do you long for a daily experience of being rooted in a settled spirit; a sense of always being at rest in your heart and mind?
Isaiah says that we can run without getting weary, through waiting on the Lord. Paul says we should enter into the Sabbath Rest that still awaits the people of God. What does this all mean, and how should we do it?
Let’s get to grips with the life-changing meaning of Sabbath rest.
No, we are not talking about anything like so-called Lord’s Day Observance movements. It goes far deeper than that and questions our very understanding of scriptural Sabbath. Let’s continue to learn kingdom principles so that we live according to His will for us.
When I was a child there were severe restrictions on our experience of Sundays. The shops were closed. We went to church for the morning service, afternoon Sunday school, and evening service; add in Sunday roast Lunch and afternoon High Tea and that more or less took care of Sundays.
As children, we were not permitted to play in the street, and definitely not to go out on our roller skates. We could not play with our friends, buy an ice cream from a van on a hot day or make any kind of noise in the garden. This was all in the name of being Christians and honouring the Sabbath, and it certainly made a Sunday culturally different to other days, but of course it all completely missed the mark.
The meaning of Sabbath is so much deeper than that and instead of being limiting,
properly understood it is able to liberate us into a whole new way of living.
Jesus tried to deal with the misunderstanding of Sabbath by explaining that man was not made for the Sabbath, but Sabbath was made for men. It was a gift for our benefit. It wasn’t about what you cannot do; it was about what you can do. It was about understanding the new kind of rest that flows for you and me through the Kingdom that is designed to change the quality of our life – not once a week, but every day! Like most things to do with the Kingdom of God, it seems completely upside down to us.
Rest, for most of us, is what we desire when we are tired. The more effort we have been expending, the more we long for rest. Like many other intentions, the upside down Kingdom turns our concept of Sabbath upside down. Yes, when we are tired we want to rest and that is perfectly valid, and it also absolutely natural. That in itself is not what we are talking about here.
So, what is Sabbath really about?
Let’s look to Jesus.
The great cry of Jesus on the cross, ‘It is finished!’ marked an eternal change to the basis of the relationship we can each enjoy with God. It seems to me that far too many of the Lord’s people have not gripped the depth, the sheer immensity, of that cry. What do we need to do in order to earn God’s favour? We cannot do anything; it is already finished!
What can we do to deserve God’s forgiveness? Nothing at all; it is already finished!
All that needs to be done could never ever be done by us.
Only Jesus Christ was able to destroy the spoiling, separating power of sin and its penalty.
His saving work was finished/completed, and he has opened a new and living way to the Father for you and for me.
He is resting from all his work and you and I are invited to enter into his rest with him.
We do not enter into God’s presence carrying the burden and evidence of our works in order to qualify for his attention. We enter into his presence because Jesus has done for us everything that needed to be done. It is finished.
The finished work of Jesus is true Sabbath rest.
We rest in Him in order to live. And we need to consciously and intentionally enter into His rest every day. Not just at the end of each day but right at the start.
If we can start each day by taking a few moments to say ‘I am not my own; I have been bought with a price’. To acknowledge that the work of Jesus on my behalf is finished, complete, forever. That I am known, loved, accepted, a child of God and there is nothing I can do today to help God along!
Jesus called out “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”.
The more modern and colloquial Message version puts it like this:
Once we understand the Sabbath Rest that God has provided for us, we can let go of driven-ness to perform, status seeking (how ridiculous when we are children of God!), busyness to persuade ourselves that we are important. It is only through looking at the Cross that we can see how important we really are.
This is the true rest that restores our soul and holds us in a place of security and joy, and a peace inside beyond comparison with anything the world, the flesh or the devil can offer.
Come on, child of God; lets enter into that glorious rest and live our daily lives from that well of the finished work of Jesus. Learn to live freely and lightly within the unforced rhythms of Grace.
Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing Jesus to come and finish your work to redeem me and set me free. Thank you that I am acceptable to you just as I am because everything that was necessary for me has been done. It is finished.
Please forgive me for all the times but I have tried to show that I am worthy to have your forgiveness. Please teach me to respond to you out of love and not out of fear. Forgive me for my foolish status seeking and desire for recognition. I accept that it is finished!
Please help me to enter into the rest that Jesus has won for me and please enable me to live day by day at peace and at rest, because I am immersed in your sovereign love forever.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Would you bless us by sharing this blog with others? Thank you. Has this blog encouraged you? If so, please drop us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org and encourage us? Go to roygodwin.org and Subscribe, to receive each Word For The Month straight into your Inbox.
The Blessings Course and Roy’s books, and other resources, are available from roygodwin.org
© Roy Godwin 2022