Overworked, Overstressed, And Underblessed: Being Like God Is Knowing When To Stop

Hey, are you feeling like you’re at your end?  Sometimes, is it all too much?  I know I feel it; overworked, overstressed and definitely underblessed.  See, I hear you wigging out already.  No, underblessed is not an english word!  I know that, but I bet somebody knows what I’m talking about.  Forget all you grammar nazis anyway!  Look, I’m just saying, sometimes it’s all too much.  Isn’t it?  I propose that the reason we get to our end is because we forget how we began.  The answer has always been there from the beginning, from creation.

The most amazing event of the creation account is the seventh day.  God, systematically created the earth and all that mankind needed in order to sustain life.  God worked!  God also created man and woman and did it all in six days.  Now that’s hard work!  God does not sleep, nor does He slumber.  God works!!!  Yet, the seventh day, yes the blessed seventh day, God rested.

Many of us who practice the Judeo-Christian faith look at the 6th day as the climax of the creation account and I’m not necessarily arguing against that assessment.  Yet, the unintended result of that thinking is an under appreciation for the seventh day.  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The beginning initiates with God working.  Yet, on day seven, God, in all His holy creativeness created rest.  According to Matthew Sleeth, “God doesn’t need to rest after creating the universe because he’s tired.  He rests because he is holy, and everything that God does is holy.  God rests.  God is holy.  Therefore, rest is holy.  It’s simple math.”  As the creation story unfolds, we don’t experience rest until God creates it, participates in it and passes it on to us as a part of the character and image of God.  Again, God not only rested, he created rest, and a holy rest it is.

Sabbath, at its root means to cease, to stop, or to be absent.  Practically, there are two ways to participate in the Sabbath.  You are to rest unto the Lord and you are to celebrate the divinity of the Lord seen in creation.  The rest must be unto the Lord and the celebration must be unto the Lord.  Yet Sabbath itself is not rest, nor is it celebration, it is cessation.  It is an end to things.  In God’s context, Sabbath is a break from creation.  In our context it’s an end to our lives of business and work.  According to Walter Brueggemann, “Sabbath becomes a decisive, concrete, visible way of opting for and aligning with the God of rest.”  It’s a time of total and undivided devotion to the Lord.  It’s an imitation of the Father.  Matthew Sleeth words it this way, “The point is that something very important about the character of God is revealed on the seventh day: God stops.”  Did you hear that, simply stated, being like God is knowing when to stop.  Whew!!!  Mind blown!!!  See, the biblical ceremonial Sabbath was a day, Saturday, and it was the seventh day, the day that the Lord rested from creation of the earth.   Today, due to the freedom we have in Christ, and Jesus’ reassertion of the law, the principle of the Sabbath remains without the ceremonial restrictions.  Today, we practice knowing when to stop.

As I close, God created the world in six days and on the seventh He rested a holy rest!  I for one, want to celebrate and I need to Sabbath!  Matthew Sleeth says,  “Sabbath is like a redeemed holiday (holy day) fifty-two times a year.  It is a time to rejoice and celebrate.”.  I sabbath because I want to be fully human, I want to be like God, and I want to be holy.  One of my favorite verses is Leviticus 20:26, “And you shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that you should be mine.”  The personal and intimate call of God for me to be close, intimate and holy stirs my soul.  So, if being like God is knowing when to stop, then I want to embody and practice the Sabbath day fully.  Today, I want to practice knowing when to stop.  Walter Brueggemann exclaims, “We used to sing the hymn “Take Time to Be Holy.” But perhaps we should be singing, “Take time to be human.” Or finally, “Take time.” Sabbath is taking time … time to be holy … time to be human”.

Personally, I would add, take time to repent, because God is calling us to be holy.  Failure to have a Sabbath theology is at minimum an evidence of what sin has done to us.  We have to ignore God’s command in the Old Testament and Jesus’ example in the new in order to miss God’s will for us to rest.  We certainly don’t have to see this the same way, but to ignore it altogether, now that’s a “missing of the mark” against your body and your soul.  Let’s be like God, by knowing when to stop.  And of course fam, Be a bridge!!

 

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God’s Love Language: Christianity is A Love Relationship & It’s Love Language is Pursuit

Have you ever really thought about how crazy it is that we are in a relationship with Jesus Christ?  Have you ever wandered what language God speaks?  What would He say to you?  If you have or haven’t, stop and consider that for a moment.  Go ahead, I’ll wait…

OK, you’re back.  Listen, because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, we are in full on relationship with the entire Godhead.  Consider that.  We are intimate with God the Father, with God the Son and with God the Sprit!  Is that unthinkable or what??!  Come on, It’s crazy person imaginative little kid wishful thinking for mere humans to be intimate with God.  It’s bananas!  How could that even happen?  The answer is right in our faces.  God PURSUED us.

I can’t help but think about Gary Chapman who In 1995 came out with his signature book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.”  According to his findings the 5 love languages are;

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch.

These may work with people but I believe God has His own love language.  I think God has a way to express heartfelt commitment to His people and a way of receiving love back.  I believe that language is PURSUIT.

Ephesians 2 reveals that we were dead in our transgressions.  Let me scream that word, DEAD!!!  We were without life, without animation, without desire, expired, done and without hope.  Yet, Ephesians 2 reveals that God, with His “great love” it says “made us alive together with Christ!”  Wait.  Wait one minute.  Are you smelling what I’m stepping in??  We had no inkling to approach God and He pursued us!  Really, what kind of love is this?

This morning on my drive to work I’m listening to David Crowder Band and these lyrics wrecked me, “He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.”  It’s too much for me.  His love, His pursuit, His grace, His mercy, yes it all has me bending like a tree, at the mercy of the wind, under the weight of such “great love.”  A love that is jealous for me.  It’s an overwhelming flood of passion for you, for me.  It’s unthinkable!

This is not new, this is God!  God has always been in pursuit of us.  God has always gone out of His way for us and He wants us to respond in the same way.  You see, Christianity is a love relationship and It’s love language is pursuit.  Just like God has pursued us He calls us to live a life in pursuit of Him.  Back in the Old text in Leviticus 20:26, God says, “You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”  Can you feel how passionate God is for those who are His?  Do you see that He has done everything to be in relationship with you and He wants you to pursue Him back in return?  Be holy to me!  Be separate to me!  Be about me!  Can you feel God’s heart and desire to be in existence shattering love with His people, with you, with me?

You know, I see a guy like Paul in scripture and I think, see, he got it!  LOL, that may sound silly to some for me to say but that’s what I think.  He was in full on life pursuit of Jesus Christ!  Paul says he “pressed toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus.”  Paul never took his foot off the gas.  He, like us, was pursued by God and in response he then spends his life pursuing God back.  Listen to this line from Paul;

“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” ~ Philippians 3:10-11

This is not a statement of conversion.  Paul had been converted for 40 years already by this point.  Yet, he’s still striving to “know” Christ!  He’s still googly eyed!  He’s still in full on courtship.  He’s still pressing in for perfect intimacy.  If relationship with God was a jar of peanut butter, Paul’s scraping everything he can get out of that jar.  He wants the power of His resurrection which means he wants holiness.  He wants to share in His suffering which means he wants devotion.  He, like a son, wants to put on Daddy’s clothes.  That’s why he says, “becoming like Him in his death.”  He has no limits.  He has no pride.  He would do anything to attain the resurrection from the dead.  He would do anything to finish the race and be with the one he loves.  He PURSUES God with a passion that only love could produce!  Simply stated, he gets it.  He loves God, so he speaks God’s love language.  My God, give us all that pursuit.

For the love of God, be a bridge!

 

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