In a world of relentless activity, we desperately need to rediscover God’s gift of rest. God has given us one day each week as a window in time to gain a glimpse of eternity, but so many of us do not accept that gift. Furthermore, we can also seek refuge and relaxation with God so we can relax on other days of the week as well. Yet most of us decide to stay wrapped up in our to-do lists, instead.
Never did a culture need the Sabbath as ours does today. It pressures us to be productive 24/7. Everything we do has to look good and accomplish something, and nothing encourages us to slow down or stop. By contrast, the word "Sabbath" literally means stop, pause, cease, and desist. Discover how you can fulfill God’s purpose and enjoy God’s rest by choosing to slow down.
Bible Verses on Rest
There are many Bible verses that talk specifically about the importance of rest.
- "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him" (Psalm 62:5).
- "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1).
- "Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you" (Psalm 116:7).
- "The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble" (Proverbs 19:23).
- "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
- "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'" (Mark 6:31).
- "This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence" (1 John 3:19).
- “He said to them, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded: Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD…'” (Exodus 16:23).
Commandment of Rest
Have you ever felt guilty resting? Maybe you've gotten frustrated at your spouse for sitting and reading a book with so much to do. Simply, the idea of rest is something you just don't think is obtainable. Have you ever stopped and asked yourself why, though, that you feel guilty in trying to keep one of God's Ten Commandments?
This commandment to rest came even before Moses received God’s law on stone tablets. It started shortly after God freed the Israelites from 400 years of slavery. Before the Israelites arrived in the Promised Land, they spent decades wandering the desert. That’s where God cared for His people so much He provided manna in the morning and quail at night (Exodus 16:12). However, God only provided food six days of the week. Moses said, “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none” (Exodus 16:26). God had a very special purpose for this - He wanted them to pause and rest on the last day.
In the midst of meeting their physical needs, God made a request that would start to meet their heart’s needs. Before God ever gave them the Ten Commandments, the very first trust-training exercise had to do with not working one day a week. The Israelites, however, also had a huge difficulty following this commandment. Despite knowing all of God's miracles and promises, even they wanted to work on the 7th day. They didn't trust Him at first.
Many times, we don't trust God either. We are so afraid that things aren't going to get done on time that we push ourselves to work harder than ever before. God can, and will, make sure that we get what we need done so that we can have time to rest and relax, but we have to trust in His power to let us do so.
How to Get More Rest
Time is one of our most precious resources. Each day our calendars are packed with appointments, chores, fulfilling obligations and responsibilities, and more. We don’t leave ourselves much time for rest which leaves us feeling frazzled and often unproductive and more exhausted than the day before. God demands our best in everything we do and that we are bringing Him glory in our days, but it is hard to do so when we are struggling with to-do lists and daily chores.
One huge way to make sure you give God attention is by turning off technology. Taking a sabbatical from your phone or the internet isn’t new, and for many it isn’t possible to completely disengage from technology. Instead of taking a drastic measure of completely cutting off technology, try a small step. Choose a block of a few hours one evening where you won’t answer emails or non-emergency texts and calls.
Another important way you can get more rest is by choosing to make the conscience effort to do something nice for yourself. Order your favorite, fancy coffee drink that you never get because it’s too expensive. Have a lunch at your favorite restaurant with your friends. Read a few chapters of that book you’ve been dying to dive into. Do one thing to remind yourself that you’ve worked so hard and you deserve a small break.
When you really haven't been giving yourself any time to relax, you might want to even consider taking time to get away from it all. Sometimes that might only mean a walk in the park for a few hours, but when able think about taking a small vacation. Either way, this practically means stepping back from our daily lives to recharge. When you return to appointments and tasks, you’ll find that you have a clearer and calmer mindset.
God wants us to relax, enjoy the wonderful world around us, and appreciate the small blessings He has given us. We cannot do this when we never stop burying our heads in work to-do lists, home chores, and kid’s endless schedules. We should accept that God gave us an entire day to just come and praise Him, and in doing so we will build a better, more trusting relationship.