Sabbath is Spiritual Warfare

Christians have an enemy, an adversary, an accuser, who is the father of lies.

This enemy wants me to worry and fret.

This enemy wants me to be busy and distracted all the time.

This enemy wants me to think that life depends on me and that I can control more than I can.

This enemy wants me to avoid prayer and quiet before God.

This enemy wants me to listen to the voices in the news and social media more than to the voice of God in his word.

This enemy wants there to be perpetual unrest in my spirit.

Sabbath runs contrary to all of this.

Practicing Sabbath is practicing spiritual warfare, to engage an enemy looking to deceive and bring harm.

Sabbath isn’t easy.

Sabbath challenges my underlying assumptions and unconscious fears.

Sabbath tells me that God’s got this even when I don’t.

Sabbath tells me my value comes from my identity in Christ, as a beloved child of God, in who I am and not through what I do (or try to do).

Sabbath tells me I can stop and things won’t fall apart.

And my resistance to Sabbath, the struggle to internalize the reality of Sabbath, only tells me just how much I need it.

Because I can stop on the outside while still being anxious and hurried on the inside.

As Jesus said, “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

It is Jesus who invites us to live a Sabbath-oriented life: Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

To say I need Sabbath is to say that I need Jesus’ presence. Thankfully, he invites me into his presence. May he, by the grace and power of his Spirit, enable me to accept and act on this invitation.

Sabbath is spiritual warfare, but I only need to recall what the Lord said to the Israelites at the edge of the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s army was drawing close: The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent (Exodus 14:14).

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