Barbarians at the Gate: Entering into God’s PeaceSeptember 2, 2013
Garden Battle: Dying to SelfSeptember 2, 2013
“The Sabbath both dethrones and dignifies us.” Darrin Patrick
Last week we talked about Easter, and Jesus defeating self for us, in his Garden of Gethsemane battle. Let’s take this self issue back to our look at the Sabbath.
There is no better way to understand the demanding role of self in your life than to seek to keep the Sabbath. Keeping the Sabbath will show you exactly who is god in your life – exactly who insists on being in charge.
Let’s be honest, what has been your first reaction to all these Putting Greens about the Sabbath?
I know, I know, “Sam is a fanatic!” But after that? Has it been, “Oh boy, I’m going to learn how to please my Heavenly Father more?” Or “This is so great. This will enhance my focus on God and bring me so much closer?”
I doubt it. It has been, for every one of us, “How does this affect … me?”
Because you are the lead character in the story of your life. You are your own … god.
I’m wrong? I’ve gone overboard?
As I have attempted to paint the picture of the Sabbath being a refuge, not a restriction, a gift from God for you, to enhance your life, you have thought to your self: “This is just not realistic. Easy for Sam to say, impossible in my circumstances to actually do.”
Now think about that for a moment. What are you, in essence, saying? You’re saying God is wrong, and you are right. So that makes you … god.
To probe a tad further: On God’s day, Sunday, how much time does God actually get from you? About 2 hours: 10:15 to 12:15? And really, how much of that time does he actually get – maybe 20%?
After that it’s, “Whew, I got that over with. Now I can get back to doing what I (self) want to do.”
I have to admit, I’ve always been a bit suspicious of those who go to the ‘early church’ service: “Let’s get the church thing out of the way early so we can have the whole day to our … selfs!”
Seeking to keep the Sabbath will cure any illusions you have about who wants to be the god in your life.
Your Heavenly Father obviously foresaw what a combatant self was going to be. So he introduced the Sabbath, in part to give us one day off from trying to be god.
And, as with everything in your spiritual journey with the Lord, it boils down to trust and surrender. Trust and surrender is always the core issue.
And so it is with keeping the Sabbath.
When you seek to keep the Sabbath, you will run into the wall of self. Trust self, or trust God. Surrender to self, and what self wants to do … all the time! … or surrender to God, and his way.
Just as with tithing, the issue is not money, it’s your trust. God says to you, “Just trust me in this: give me 10% and I will do more in your life than you could ever do by keeping the full 100%.”
The currency in tithing appears to be money, but it’s actually trust and surrender. The currency of Sabbath-keeping appears to be time, but again, it’s trust and surrender.
Will you surrender being god of your life for one day? Or will your self continue to command all seven days?
God’s promise for seeking to follow his design in keeping the Sabbath is to overflow your life with joy and peace and energy and clarity and … contentment. His plan is for your one Sabbath day to then begin to overflow into the other six days with the same joy, peace, and contentment.
Over the years I’ve learned trusting and surrendering to my self has always, every single time, been a bad trade. But trusting and surrendering to God’s design, has every time, without fail, brought “streams of living water overflowing from within.” John 7:38
If You Want a Little More from C.S. Lewis about self:
We must not think pride is something God forbids because he is offended at it, or that humility is something he demands as due to his own dignity – as if God himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about his dignity. The point is, he wants you to know him: wants to give you himself. And he and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with him you will, in fact, be humble – delightfully humble, feeling the infinite relief of for once having got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life.
He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are. I wish I had got a bit further with humility myself: if I had, I could probably tell you more about the relief, the comfort, of taking the fancy-dress off – getting rid of the false self, with all its ‘Look at me’ and ‘Aren’t I a good boy?’ and all its posing and posturing. To get even near it, even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert. Mere Christianity