Rest: The Forgotten Commandment
A devotional by Gena Anderson
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” – Exodus 31:12-13 (NIV)
Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your to-do list?
Have you ever wanted a break but did not take one because then nothing would get done?
In my life the list of tasks is never-ending and I’m guessing yours is similar, yet God insists on rest in His Word. An interesting contradiction to what life demands, the idea of resting does not come naturally to me, and the execution of a day of rest is challenging.
While I’d like to say I cannot rest because I’m busy feeding orphans and caring for widows, being the hands and feet of Jesus, the reality is not quite that noble. What keeps us from resting is often one of these not so flattering reasons:
● Self-reliance over God-reliance
● Putting our identity in our work
● Valuing achievement over relationships
● Insecurity, or the fear of not having enough
Contrast this with children. I often think how nice it must be to have someone provide for you, do your laundry and cook your food. They have no problem stopping work, none at all. We often have to bargain and threaten to get them to work. Somewhere in the transition to adulthood that changes.
We all learn to be self-reliant and not dependent on others, but we take that too far and try to function independent from God. Some are wounded from a childhood with unmet needs and don’t know what it means to have a dependable parent. As a child of God we are dependent on Him, whether we think so or not. He is our Good Father.
We need to stop striving for self-reliance and choose to be God-reliant.
What does God-reliance have to do with rest?
Resting on Sabbath on a weekly basis reminds us who God is. He is our God, our provider who will meet every worrisome need. The things on our to-do list are nothing compared to His great plans. A relationship with us is one of His greatest desires, and more meaningful than any accomplishment. When we rest we are choosing to make God a priority over everything else.
When we don’t rest we feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, and exhausted. Perhaps we should trust our Creator, who actually designed us, and operate by the manual.
Making rest a priority and setting aside the Sabbath is one of the most productive and beneficial things we can do.
How can you make rest a reality in your life?
When the Sabbath comes, make an active choice to rest. Plan for physical rest, and do things that recharge your body. Schedule a nap or a family bike ride! Recharge your emotions through creation and relationships. Refocus your spirit through intimate time with him without outside interference.
Watch what God does in your life when you prioritize Sabbath rest. You will undoubtedly benefit from remembering who He is and allowing Him to make you holy.
Let’s Pray: Dear God, you are so good to give us the gift of a command to rest. Help me to set aside time for you and go before me to enable me. Forgive me for the ways I’ve neglected rest and ignored your instructions. Help me to abide in you more and more through every Sabbath with you. Thank you for the opportunity to rest in your goodness, grace, and mercy. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Gena Anderson is a Jesus-lover, writer, nurse practitioner, and blogger who loves to share wellness information and inspiration with the world around her.
She is the author of The Well Woman: A Journey to Wellness Through Loving Jesus, which is available on Amazon.com.
Gena proudly holds the title of wife, mom, and the world’s most average CrossFitter. She loves writing, reading, traveling, and brownies. She's working on that last one.
Gena lives in Hutto, Texas with her husband and two children.
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