Did you know that Sabbath REST is a Spiritual Discipline? Not only that, but it’s also one of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:8-11). Rest was something that God established from the very beginning (Genesis 2:2-3) FOR man (Mark 2:27). Jesus tells us that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Which means that it’s something that we need in order to function — both physically and spiritually.
This is why rest was established on the 7th day of creation — because it was just after man was created and God knew that we would need rest! It’s not a burden, it is a gift of God.
But having said all of that, it can be difficult to practice the discipline of rest. In today’s world we are so accustomed to living a go-go-go lifestyle, And that makes it hard to even want to just be still and just rest. However, it’s something that we all need.
The two types of rest we need
But rest doesn’t begin and end with sleeping. No, we need more than just a physical rest. Sure, physical rest is very important and necessary to our well-being. However, we also greatly need a spiritual rest in our lives. This is why Jesus says:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”- Matthew 11:28”
Because the Sabbath rest that God intended for us was not only a physical rest — that was only part of it. The whole Sabbath rest is both a physical and a spiritual rest. We need both.
What kinds of things can I do to practice Sabbath Rest?
So we’ve established that we need both physical and spiritual rest. And God created the Sabbath for us to have these essential and necessary forms of rest one day every week. But since it can be hard for us to discipline ourselves to rest with the busy and non-stop world we live in, let’s explore some ideas that you can try.
Ideas for practicing Physical Rest
Physical rest entails allowing your body to take a break from the regular stresses of everyday life. We push and extend our bodies to do the things we need done on a regular basis. And giving them a break one day a week is vital for your health and physical well-being.
So here are just a few ideas that you can do to allow your body to rest and relax:
- Let yourself sleep in
- Take a mid-day nap
- Take a long shower or bath
- Put your household chores off until tomorrow
- Cuddle up on the couch with a good book
- Pop some popcorn and watch a movie as a family
- Have a hot cup of tea (or coffee)
- Exchange massages with the hubby
- Go for a leisurely walk in the park
- Stay home all day long
Ideas for practicing Spiritual Rest
Whereas physical rest is allowing your body to rest, spiritual rest is allowing your spirit to rest from the things of this world. When we are saved through Jesus Christ our spirit is made perfect. But here’s the problem: it’s trapped inside your body still. And the Bible says that our flesh and spirit war against each other (Galatians 5:17).
The reason we will receive new bodies in eternity is because Jesus condemned our sin to our flesh so our spirit could be made perfect (Romans 8:3). And this is why we still do the things we don’t want to do and don’t do the things that we want to do (Romans 7:15-20). Because when our flesh is stronger than our spirit, we tend to do the things that it wants to do.
So spiritual disciplines in general are an exercise in empowering our spirit and dethroning our flesh in our lives. And practicing spiritual rest is no different. It is doing the things which our spirit wants to do but that our flesh often prevents us from doing. It is taking a break from the worldly and immersing yourself in the spiritual.
And here are just a few ways that you could do that:
- Spend some quality time in prayer
- Write down some of your prayers to God
- Do a DIY Bible study on a topic you’ve been interested in
- Start a new devotional or guided Bible study
- Take up Bible art journaling
- Turn on worship music and sing your heart out
- Watch a Christian or Bible story movie
- Read a Christian fiction or non-fiction book
- Turn off your phone and other devices the whole day
- Don’t let yourself think about life’s worries for the day
- Get into the eternal mindset instead of the temporary (worldly) one
- Do a fast from something that your flesh loves
- Don’t think about work or chores that need done all day
- Imagine Jesus is returning today: What would you want Him to find you doing?
- Spend some time in prayer confessing and letting go of lingering sins
- Fellowship with a local church body or other Christian friends
- Practice just being still with God
Rest isn’t hard, but saying no to your flesh can be!
Your flesh does not want you to rest. It wants you to just keep going and going until you completely burn out. But God doesn’t want that for you. And what you really need is regular and routine rest. Which is why God established the Sabbath day for you.
So will you try resting for yourself this Sabbath? You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it! If you decide you’d like to try, check out my post outlining the spiritual discipline of Sabbath rest. You might also love to develop a special Sabbath morning routine, which can help to get you into the mindset of Sabbath rest.