Focus: Remembering the Sabbath
Exodus 20:8-10a (NKJV) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.
Hardly anyone would resent the idea of having a day off after working for six days, yet how many of us actually honor that day off as a holy day, set aside for worshipping God, rest, and acts of mercy?
I don’t want to go into a detailed exposition of everything the Bible has to say about what we should or shouldn’t do on the Sabbath, but I would like to spend a little time contemplating the benefits of observing such a practice and its possible effects on our well-being in the context of recovery from depression and addiction.
Simply stated, the observance of the Sabbath calls for us to ‘not work’ on one day of the week. Further, the expectation is that we would rest on that day and spend time focused on the Lord.
You might wonder how not working one day a week could possibly help your productivity or income. It seems that getting some odd jobs done around the house would be more honorable than doing nothing. It’s also hard to imagine that a person could actually be blessed for not grabbing an opportunity to work an extra day and make more money. Shouldn’t taking a day off result in more stress? From a human standpoint, there is no explanation. God’s ways are not our ways.
We blame stress as one of the known causes of depression and dependency, but what if stress comes as a result of not taking the proper time to rest and recuperate from six days of working? What if we truly spent one day a week resting in the Lord—free from all of the physical and financial pressures that life puts on us?
True rest would be not working and also not worrying about what you’re not getting done and not earning.
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But before we go any further, let’s take a step back for a moment and have another look at Exodus 20:9. It says, ‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work.’ Could the reason we sometimes feel like we can’t afford to take a whole day of the week off for rest be because we spent more time ‘resting’ than we should have during the six days we were supposed to be working?
It’s normal to come home from a day on the job and figure we deserve a break, right? Hard to say, but maybe we don’t—if it means that we have to work on the day God told us to rest…
Most people who are trying to recover from depression suffer from fatigue. Many tasks that wouldn’t normally require that much effort seem to wear us out—physically and emotionally. So, how do we keep up? The only way I know of, is with the help of the Lord. He gives us the strength we lack, if we seek Him for it.
During one of the worst periods of depression in my life, I had a job singing approximately six hours a day, six days a week. Singing is one of the last things you feel like doing when you’re depressed, yet the Lord gave me the ability to do it, and I became stronger because of it.
If our life is out of control and we aren’t able to get everything done in six days, maybe we should consider simplifying. Possibly a smaller house and fewer possessions would require less of our attention.
God’s expectations are not that complicated. He really hasn’t asked much from us in return for all He has done for us. To give Him one day out of seven is a small thing, really.
If it seems like something you’re not willing to do, it’s probably time to do some soul searching. In the first place, it’s actually a gift from God, to be given one day off every week. Think of it like a ‘paid holiday’. You may not see the actual bonus dollars on your paycheck, but you can be sure the blessing will come in other ways, if your heart is right about it.
I believe that the observance of the Sabbath is ‘waiting on the Lord’. It’s waiting to do what you could have done, and giving that time to Him, instead. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Declaration: I will find new strength by taking steps to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.