How We’re Learning

by Kori Yates

The Sabbath has been a topic of conversation since Old Testament times. If you’re expecting a clarification of all of those discussions and definitive guidelines of the Old Testament versus the grace of the New Testament, you might be sorely disappointed.

The secular definition of Sabbath is pretty easy. Merriam-Webster defines it this way: “a :  the seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians; b :  Sunday observed among Christians as a day of rest and worship.”

Pretty easy to understand from the outside, right? gives a more biblical and detailed definition of Sabbath. It goes into detail about Old Testament references and purposes of the Sabbath as well as how Jesus and the early church dealt with the Sabbath. Reminders of God’s sovereignty and provision, joy in His presence, worship and reverence, all part of the Sabbath. You can read all about it!

The question I wrestle with, though, is how do I observe the Sabbath? Taking all that I know and understand about the Sabbath, what does that actually look like in everyday life?

I am a busybody by nature. If we watch TV, I want to be doing something “productive” with my hands, anything from folding clothes to working on the computer. Take a nap? I feel horribly guilty. Surely there are things I should be doing! Read a book for fun? Not usually. Shouldn’t I be learning something?

All the “shoulds” and “coulds” get right in the way of my Sabbath.

Sabbath does not come naturally to me, but I believe it is necessary nonetheless. So, this is how I Sabbath.

How to Sabbath:

  1. Plan – Time with the Lord, to focus on Him, and to rest from daily activity does not happen by accident. Make sure to set aside specific time, preferably each week, to take a break from regular life, gather with other believers, focus on the Lord, and slow down.
  2. Recognize – Taking a Sabbath can remind us of God’s sovereignty. I know many times I feel like I HAVE to do things, and sometimes that’s the case, but in the end He is in control of it all. Recognize who He is as Lord over all. In this mindset, we truly worship and honor Him and His faithfulness to us.
  3. Rest – Rest is not a matter of taking an afternoon nap. Rest can be both a body and spirit thing. I know here in Germany, Sunday afternoons are spent out walking with families. Although it is more of a cultural thing here, spending time away from our regular activities, allowing both our hearts and minds to breathe, gives us an opportunity to ponder and remember the blessings and gifts of God.
  4. Repeat – A Sabbath isn’t a one-time or every few months kind of thing. It is a consistent honoring of our time with the Lord. We need these moments. God called the Israelites to such things long ago for their good. Taking a Sabbath is for our good as well.

Your Turn:

Determine a time to set aside to the Lord this week and then work to honor that every week for the month. Decide how you will use that time beforehand. This is also a good practice for the whole family! Make sure in that time you spend time with a local body of believers for mutual edification and accountability.

Deuteronomy 5:12: “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.”

Mark 2:27-28: “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’”


Lord, help me to honor you with my time, to make time to honor you and rest in both body and spirit. Show me how you would have me spend that time and help me to do so consistently.

Additional Resources:

Breathe Study Journal by Priscilla Shirer

Planner (I use a paper planner from Erin Condren, but there are some great planning resources for your phone and computer as well!)

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Join Kori at our next Strength2Thrive Conference in San Diego on October 28! Found out more information and register here – you’ll be so glad you did!