Prophetic words are great, aren’t they? Who doesn’t like getting revelation straight from heaven about the good things that God has planned for your future.
Yup, they’re great…unless God uses a prophet to get after you.
Recently, I received a word from a leader that I trust telling me that I was being disobedient to the Sabbath.
After receiving the word, I did what any good Christian would do… I went to DEFCON 1 … denial, religious analysis and defense.
- Maybe she heard wrong…
- Maybe she was in a bad mood…
- We were all crowded together pretty tightly…maybe something bounced over from the person next to me. That’s possible, right?
- How am I in disobedience to Shabbat? I’ve spent most of my life as a Christian. I’m sort of a professional at this.
- Maybe she was right?!?
After getting over my initial (read: religious) response, I had to stop and look at my life. Taking the Sabbath seriously is something I have genuinely been working on. I come out of a background where work was considered the closest thing to godliness. I spent YEARS (God help me) working seven days a week, riding the edge of burnout. More than once, I fell over the edge, so I’ve come to understand the need for rest. I don’t always get it right, but I try to set aside one day per week for Sabbath.
So, why did He call me out for disobedience?
I think it’s because I’ve been obedient in action, yet missing the benefit that true Sabbath brings.
The Holy Spirit Or The Hustle
In our world, we wear work as a badge of honor. It’s the single most important piece of our identity. What do you do when you meet someone? Ask them what they do for a living. So we’ve engaged in the hustle to prove our worth through our work.
God knows our nature…how we are driven to build and create, just like He is, but He also knows that without proper focus, the thing that makes us like Him can corrupt us. That’s why He modeled the Sabbath for us – to teach us how to slow down, stay connected and find joy in our calling.
Think about it…even as Christians, we work and worry and carry things God never asked us to carry, all in His name. In our heart to serve others, we say yes to things we shouldn’t. We get a directive from God and push forward, head down until we get to where we think He wants us to be…doing it all in our own strength.
In the midst of all the serving and giving and building, we find that we have lost God’s original intent for our work. We’ve traded our joy for anxiety.
Letting go of work is related to letting go of our independence. We’re not living by how well we can hustle, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As you know, the world doesn’t work that way. Success is all about striving and making your own luck.
If we are going to bring God glory, we can’t do it that way. He gave us the Sabbath to help.
Sabbath Is God’s Way Of Hitting The Reset Button
So what’s God’s intention for Sabbath? God began the concept of Sabbath in the garden. I think we can learn a lot from that.
Sabbath is all about relationship. The Garden symbolizes intimacy. Adam and Eve talked daily with God in the garden. In the midst of all they were doing, they took time to reconnect with Him. That’s what He wants Sabbath to be for us. We’ve messed that up, so He gave us Sabbath as a way of hitting the reset button.
Here’s what I mean:
We humans are willful, impetuous, self-serving and rebellious. And that’s just us Christians! Like dogs chasing squirrels, we’re easily distracted from the things and people that matter most. We need something to get us back on point, and Sabbath does that. Here’s how:
It resets our timing: Every week, we have an opportunity to refocus and get back into His timing and purpose for our lives. If we made a wrong choice that took us off track, we can quickly make a course correction.
It lightens our load: True sabbath is an opportunity to let go of burdens that God never asked us to carry. We can’t do what we need to when we are weighed down with work, concerns and frustrations that we shouldn’t be carrying. At the heart of Sabbath is the concept of rest.
True rest is not a physical state; it’s a spiritual state. It’s all about trust.
Do I trust Him with:
- My emotions
- My finances
- My reputation
On a good day, yes…all the others, not so much.
Sabbath resets your joy: God stepped back from His work of creation and took a moment to BE PRESENT in what He was doing. He took time to find joy in the midst of His work. He wants us to do the same. When we Sabbath, we can enjoy His goodness, in the midst of our chaos.
For too many of us, our work product is a calendar at maximum capacity, paper-thin emotions, fragile families and disconnect with our Creator.
Are we going to change the world around us by being better schedulers? Really?
Making The Exchange
My dear friends, I’m convinced that Sabbath is key to our survival. If we are going to fulfill our call, the heat in our lives is only going to get hotter. You and I are called to big things, but if we don’t find a way to stay in a place of rest and joy, we’ll burn up in the process. At the heart of Sabbath there is an exchange. Look at Matthew 11:
28 Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30 (VOICE)
Our striving in exchange for His rest. Sounds like a pretty good trade (perfectly fitted to my curves, no less! What a great translation) It’s out of this place of rest…of trusting Him implicitly…of operating in the power of the Holy Spirit…of connecting to the reality of Heaven…of walking in a consistent joy, that we will begin to make a mark for Him in this world He dearly loves.
We know we love Him, but do we trust Him? Maybe it’s time to hit the reset button.
How about you? What does Sabbath mean to you? How do you incorporate it into your daily life? Do you struggle with the hustle? I’d love to hear your thoughts.