Today we begin our new series that will continue on Tuesdays through January and perhaps into February a little bit as well: I am going to be taking a few New Year’s Resolutions from the list that I made last week and elaborating on them more.
I haven’t made final decisions about which ones to use yet (except for this one, of course), so if you have requests, be sure to let me know in the comments!
The Sabbath. Sunday. Rest day. Church day.
Whatever it is to you, it is obviously an important day. It’s the first day of the week, the day that God appointed way back in the first chapter of Genesis as His day.
I think a lot of Christian teens, especially teens who grew up in Christian homes being dragged to church every Sunday, have no real understanding of what this day is supposed to be.
It is meant to be special, set apart, dedicated to God.
A Holy Day of Rest
This is the commandment that God gave the Israelites when He was first establishing their Sabbath day:
“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.”
The Sabbath is holy. It is a sacred, set-apart day on which we must do no work. This is why we are called to work hard for the other six days: because we have this built-in rest day, so we have no excuse not to do our work thoroughly and diligently for the rest of the time.
What is the history of the Sabbath? It was appointed by God as a day to rest after he finished creating the world:
“And God saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good…And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy…”
Genesis 1:31, 2:2-3
It is meant to be a day of joy, of celebration. The week is over. The work is complete, and it is very good.
On the Sabbath, we thank God for our gifts, remember the week behind us with joy, anticipate the week ahead, and rededicate our lives and our work to the Lord.
This is what the Sabbath was supposed to be.
Now It’s a Chore
For most people in the world today, Sundays mean nothing more than another day to sleep in and be lazy in preparation for the work week. It’s simply another part of the cycle: work, eat, sleep, and then on the weekends you get to sleep in and watch TV.
I think even a lot of Christians have forgotten the purpose of the Sabbath. We fall into viewing church as a chore, a duty, a boring necessity, but not important or exciting. And when we get home, we just continue going about our dull, boring lives.
Here’s what Jesus had to say about this:
“And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'”
The Sabbath is not supposed to be some dull duty or chore that we do to get points with God. It was made for us, as a gift, a day when we can rest and recharge and refresh and restore our souls. We forget this so often.
Reclaiming Our Sabbath + Some Practical Ideas
On my resolution ideas list, I had this one: “Dedicate your entire Sabbath to rest and worship, instead of just the part where you’re at church.”
When you wake up on Sunday, get right into worship mode. Listen to some great Christian music while you get ready. Spend some time in the Word even before church.
At church, really focus on the words of the songs and the prayers. Let yourself enjoy the teaching. Really think about what God is showing you through the service.
Some things you can do on Sunday afternoons:
- Read the Bible (highly recommended)
- Sing hymns
- Set your prayer list for the week
- Spend some time talking to God about whatever is on your heart
- Read some good Christian books (happy to give recommendations if you need them!)
- Listen to a podcast from Breakaway. They put out new talks every week and they are really good!
- Walk your dog
- Call a friend who lives far away
- Spend time hanging out with your siblings
- Do some crafts
- Play music if you play an instrument
- Write if you’re a writer (this is a perfect time to get some writing in if you never have time during the week)
Things not to do on Sunday afternoon
- Watch TV or YouTube (unless your family all watches something together)
- Look at social media
- Play games on your phone
- and…you get the idea. Those things are not restful, they are time-wasters!
If you decide to pursue this resolution, I hope my suggestions help you, and even if this isn’t your formal resolution, try some of these anyway! Let’s reclaim Sundays as a peaceful, wonderful, holy day for God to prepare us for the week.
Leave a comment and tell me: Will you be using my suggestions? What else do you use your Sunday afternoons for?
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♥ love, grace ♥
Coming soon: a book review on Saturday! (and there may or may not be a special bonus post this week as well!)