Week 5: How to Live a Full Life
Last week, we looked at who we're becoming. This week, we're going to look at how God helps us get there.
Spiritual Practice: Keep the Sabbath (Holy)
Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice write, “Sabbath is the time when we remember that we are in the hands of the God who rules the universe with love.” The word ‘sabbath’ comes from the Hebrew shabbat, meaning ‘to cease or desist, to stop.’ The practice of sabbath is intentionally setting aside one day a week for four things.
First, stop. Stop doing. Stop being busy. Stop working as if it all depends on you. Because it doesn’t. God, who brought you to the place where you are now, has been at work before you even came along and will continue to be at work long after you’re gone. God’s Holy Spirit is at work and moving in mysterious ways that we can’t even see. Who we are is not wrapped up in what we do or how well we do it, but to whom we belong.
Second, rest. Sabbath isn’t only a day of rest. But it is a day to rest: physically, mentally, emotionally, vocationally. We’re designed to work from rest, from a place of peace. We’re created to love out of resting in God’s love, to show grace out of resting in God’s grace, to be at work out of resting in God’s work.
Third, embrace. Sabbath, as we’re beginning to see, is not passive; it’s not just sitting back. It’s active: it’s diving into God, it’s learning to appreciate life, and the breaths that we are given. So embrace intentionality. Embrace generosity. Embrace others. Embrace the world around us by spending time in nature.
And finally, celebrate. Reflect on the week that has gone before and what God has done. Share meals with friends and family — they don’t have to be extravagant, but take your time. Eat well, eat slowly, appreciate the food you’re eating, appreciate time with loved ones. Don’t rush. Be present. And, of course, celebrate God. Take time with him — longer than you normally get a chance to. Hang out. Sit in silence. Talk. Sing. Read his words in Scripture. Dwell on things that stick out to you. As Howard Thurman writes:
It is good to make an end of movement, to come to a point of rest, a place of pause. There is some strange magic in activity, in keeping at it, in continuing to be involved in many things that excite the mind and keep the hours swiftly passing. But it is a deadly magic; one is not wise to trust it with too much confidence.
Verse of the Week: Romans 12:2 (The Message)
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.