Practicing Rest

A note from Jamie Harms

Before we dive into the practice of sabbath rest, we need to clarify that how we hold the Sabbath day does not determine our salvation. We have been saved by grace alone and not by any works that we can do (Ephesians 2:8-9). In fact, we received the ultimate rest from our Heavenly Father as a gift while we were still sinners and considered His enemies (Romans 5:9). 

As sin distorted the good work we talked about in Genesis this week, it caused humankind in all generations to be separated from God. No matter how hard we try to work our way back to Him, no matter how hard we try to justify the actions of our hearts, minds, and hands, we cannot work hard enough to stand before a holy God.

When Christ, God’s own Son, came down from heaven to pursue us all the way to the cross, He provided the only way to be reconciled to God. In Christ’s work on the cross, we no longer have to work to earn our salvation by what we do, what we find our value in, or how we create our identity. Instead we experience deep rest that can only come from God, a rest from self-justification, from trying to make ourselves righteous. This is a rest with our value and identity firmly secure as His child.

Pastor Brett talks about salvation in terms of a one-time event, an ongoing event, and a future event all in one. We, too, can think about our practice of sabbath in this way. Our ultimate rest is found in the righteousness we receive in Christ. Yet, just as we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13) as we become more like Him, we can continue to practice sabbath rest. In this we accept the gift of our Father, the One who created us and knows us and our need for rest. As we practice sabbath, we spend time with Him and remember who He is, who we are in Him, and His faithfulness to us again and again.

Practice

This week as we practice sabbath, Brianna mentioned some practical ways to start turning off our ever-present work to start making rest a habit. One way to do this concerns our devices. She and her husband physically put their devices in a drawer for 24 hours. It might take removing the distraction of work to refocus our hearts and minds fully on other things like time in God’s Word, prayer, family, enjoyment of God’s creation, a nap, etc. Sometimes in order to put that work away, it will require a little forward thinking and preparation. It might mean sending out a few extra emails the day before and setting an away message. It might mean finishing up an extra load of laundry or prepping an extra big meal the day before, allowing the machines in our houses that help us do work remain silent. We might also want to have extra food in the refrigerator, so we don’t have to do extra prep and clean up as we enjoy a simple meal with our family and friends. How might you put away your work this week?

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