Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Observing the Christian Sabbath {Part 2: My Story}

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Awhile back I shared a few reasons why Christian's should still observe a weekly Sabbath. As promised, today I'm sharing my own story of how my husband and I came to this understanding.

I grew up in a Christian home... pastor's kid, in fact. So you better believe we were in church every Sunday, every service. My parents are committed believers and really instilled in us commitment to a local body of believers. 

However we weren't reformed, and Sunday afternoons were pretty much free game for eating out or shopping or watching movies. My mom did ask us to have our homework finished by Saturday night, to free up the Lord's Day from that kind of work, and my parents always napped on Sunday afternoons. But that was the extent of "Sabbath" in our home.

Shortly after Niall and I were married we started attending our current church. It's Reformed Baptist and holds to the London Baptist Confession of 1689. For a church history point of reference, think Charles Spurgeon. 

We loved the Biblically sound, exegetical preaching. Every Sunday morning our Pastor works through a New Testament book, and Sunday evening an Old Testament book- wonderful for getting the whole scope of Scripture. We got to know people and became very connected to the body, and we knew we wanted to become members.

Only one problem. We had heard weird little rumors about something called "Sabbatarianism." It seemed like the prevailing ideas on how one should spend a Sunday were a bit Old Testament and outdated. We knew that this was something we were going to have to study and come to an understanding on before we could proceed in the membership process.

Niall talked with Pastor, and {as our Pastor has been fondly known to do} was handed a huge stack of books :). I mentioned the titles in the last post, but in case you missed them:  Celebrating the Sabbath by Bruce A. Ray, The Lord's Day by Joseph Pipa, and Call the Sabbath a Delight by Walter Chantry. So he began reading, discussing the concepts with me as he went.

I knew I would have to read these books too... but I was very reluctant. I didn't really want to make a change that would make us the odd ones out with most of our Christian friends. I wanted to be able to do what I wanted when I wanted. 



Eventually I read them. The arguments in favor of a remaining Christian Sabbath were, to my surprise {and chagrin?!}, pretty convincing. 

My only reason for not wanting to believe was because I wanted to spend the day my way. I wanted to choose how I was going to spend my time. I was afraid that committing to worship, fellowship and rest would mean long and dreary, boring Sundays. How would we even fill the time?? 

These weren't Biblical reasons for rejecting the 4th commandment. They were actually pretty selfish and sinful. Please be mindful that I am not pointing fingers here! If through your personal study of Scripture and the case for observing the Lord's Day you find that there isn't convincing enough evidence, that is entirely between you and the Lord. Specifically in my case, I found the Biblical reasons to be solid, and my only objections to be shallow and insufficient. 

Niall and I discussed and debated, I hemmed and hawed, but in the end I landed in the Sabbatarian camp with him, and we haven't looked back since.

At the time we had no children and were both working full time outside of the home. Weekends were completely jam packed- grocery shopping, cleaning, church, and as much social acitivity as we could possibly cram in. We lived in our college town and had tons of friends to hang out with. We were also tired all. the. time.

When we started reserving our Sundays for strictly rest and worship, we both experienced a major life shift. All of a sudden we were no longer exhausted! Each new week began with a day of spiritual and physical refreshment, and we felt energized and encouraged by it. 

This change in our theology bore crazy, life-changing fruit in our lives, in the best way possible. Which is why I don't feel burdened or restricted by it- it's a blessing and gift from the Lord to me, far more freeing than I could have ever imagined. Contrary to my initial fears, I have yet to be "bored" on a Sunday.

Stay tuned- when possible, I'll be sharing how we observe the day, practically speaking, and how you to can begin to make this blessed, gentle change. All grace friends <3. 


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