Making Use of Our Spiritual Rest
Speaking of Christ on the Sabbath
We’ve heard a lot of difficult stuff in these early chapters of the book of Genesis. While we should never shy away from exposing ourselves to the realities of a world infected with sin and misery every now and then it is good for us to take a break from it and get some rest basking in the blessed light of gospel grace. There are plenty of chances to watch the news, go to the store, or doom scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat or whatever while seeing folks rejoice in their rebellion against God’s word. But we don’t need to do too much of it or we will grow to like it. We have a predilection to grow numb to things when we encounter them all the time.
There is a town near where my Grandaddy and Nannie lived and my mom grew up that stank to high heaven thanks to the pulp plant in town. We would go there every now and then and it never ceased to amaze me as a kid how people could live there. Yet if you asked them they’d say, “what smell?”. And I kind of figured that if your nose became accustomed to it, and especially if you worked at the plant, you wouldn’t really notice it much anymore. I’d imagine though you’d still have to take a run up into Pocahontas County to clean your sinuses out every now and then.
So what can we do to not fall into a trap of being so in the world that we become of the world?
Well, one of the ways the Bible presents for us is to do that is to make use of the weekly Sabbath. In many ways this one day in seven (Sunday in the new covenant cf: Rev. 1:10, John 20, Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:1, etc…) was made by the Lord for His children to have a day of spiritual rest, not just a physical one, though there is nothing wrong with a Sabbath Siesta to prepare for evening worship or just because you need to examine the inside of your eyelids for a little while. God has nothing to say against it, even if it is not the primary use of the Lord’s Day rest. Sometimes we need it.
Back to the main point for a second.
Cleansing our minds stained with the weekly grime of life through the opportunity provided by our Heavenly Father to spiritually and mentally rest is a non-negotiable in the Christian life. There is no doubt we need it. We all need it. As Ephesians 5:19 declares about the singing of the Psalms enriching our hearts with the words of Christ so to does focusing on the message of God to us in the Bible help us to find peace in the midst of all the noise of the outside world. There is plenty of time during the week to take care of all the needs of this life. Why don’t we take a break and go to the balm of Gilead and receive the comfort and care that we need? Sufficient for this day is the peace you require to face all the troubles that will come in the days of future passed.
Something I have personally found true is that the more time and energy I’ve devoted to thinking on the things of the Lord the less interested I am, sinfully or otherwise, in witnessing man’s inhumanity to man.
In Sabbath School yesterday we talked about one of the healing stories of Jesus where He takes a man who is blind, who is not seeking Christ by faith (while his friends are) and doesn’t seem overly interested in what is happening other than to maybe humor his compadres. To show him the weakness inherent in his own heart and soul Jesus at first only heals him half-way. He does that in order that the blind man might comprehend a little bit about the nature of his spiritual blindness. The man at best could see kind of, but he definitely couldn’t see the bounty in which he was participating. Sometimes even the most mature believer can get in a similar quandary in their walk with Christ. The crud of the world casts a shadow over their walk by faith to such a degree that they begin to try and move by sight. That’s no way to live let alone find your way forward.
Here we can be motivated to understand another positive aspect of the Sabbath rest afforded by God for His people. Each week we are blessed with a refreshing cleansing of the eyes, much like putting a car through the $10 wash to get all the grime off of it after a hard week of running around. Likewise if our clothes need a regular pass through the machine how much more so does our soul? That purging power of the Holy Spirit cannot be neglected and what better time and place to get that done than on the Sabbath, and with the people whom God has chosen to be your brothers and sisters in Christ?
I’ve mentioned before that the Puritans were fond of the phrase, “Godly Conference”. What they meant by that was two Christians talking together about the work of Christ in their lives. Not the scores of yesterday’s sports ball activities, or even what kind of nonsense got on at their jobs. No, the idea is to share with your compatriot all the ways in which Jesus has helped to comfort, to encourage, even discipline you lately. It is a great blessing for our own souls to hear how God has been working in the day-to-day of brothers and sisters. It’s part of the way Christ shows us how to find our own answers. Worthy is the prayer that ask the Lord to provide for you what you have seen Him do for others. Using wisely the time granted on the Christian Sabbath for this purpose is central to accomplishing this blessing for yourself.
It is a prideful arrogance that wishes not that others would know the truth of our lives. If we can’t be honest with our spiritual family than we can’t really find the help we need to the real problems that we have. When we come together for worship, for prayer, and for fellowship remember the gift of the Sabbath Day, use that spiritual rest for nourishment and renewal, because you’ll need that filling grace for the rest of the week.
Here is a bit to read on this:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church