A lifestyle of distraction is not learned in a day… neither is reversing its trend. We concluded last week by introducing “baby steps” as a way to begin standing against the power of distraction. Such efforts may initially seem insignificant—30 second prayers, 60 seconds of stillness, or short walks unplugged from technology. Nevertheless, with persistence we can find the freedom we seek. But, how can we stay motivated for a freedom we haven’t yet fully experienced? We need a foretaste.
We need to experience what freedom from distraction feels like. Somehow we need to taste that which we will later feast upon. Even the briefest encounter with God’s peace and contentment can spark a growing desire to free up time and space for longer moments. God has made a way for such encounters—Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11).
While we believe that any day or moment is an opportunity to meet with God, there is something to be said about planned meetings. Most of us have jobs and daily responsibilities that don’t lend themselves to frequent times of quiet waiting on God. This is why a scheduled Sabbath is so important—one day in seven to pause from our distractions (whether good or bad) to simply listen and wait on God. On this consecrated day we practice the discipline of focused listening so we can truly be still and know he is God (Psalm 46:10).
Sabbath is a doorway of sorts; it opens us up to sacred time and holy space that God fills with his presence. While physical rest is a part of Sabbath, it’s purpose is better understood as peace (shalom)… a deep centering peace that comes from being in God’s presence. Such peace is not possible when we are bound by distractions.
Sabbath is a powerful way of exposing our learned practice of trying to meet our needs with people and things. It forces us… even if just for a day… to look not to them but God. Therefore, when we practice Sabbath, we visibly remind ourselves that God is our source.
Sabbath is a way of life for those who know that Christian growth does not happen by accident… it must be intentional and it must be planned. Just like our baby steps, so too does Sabbath teach us how to be quiet, listen, and wait on God. Soon we realize how often he is willing to meet with those who are earnest to meet with him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Sabbath will rarely feel “convenient” but we practice it anyway as a declaration that our lives belong to God not us… we are only their steward. Such declarations serve as vital reminders when our faith is tested and suffering raises its unwelcomed head. Next week, we return to the theme of Christian suffering, hope, and the sovereignty of God.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever implemented a Sabbath into your week? What did it look like? Did you feel restless? Have you continued this practice? If not, why?