“There are worse things than our final departure to the grave. One is the slow strangling death that surely comes to those who try to live by bread alone. For when we live by bread alone, we die by bread alone … Not that we immediately notice it, however. Modern culture is engineered to cover up such death.”
One of the constant dangers the Israelites faced was the influence of the nations around them. Once a nation was allowed to live with Israel, it was not long before Israel began to break God’s laws. This was disastrous as it led to judgement and punishment. Why was this so disastrous? Because God was living in the midst of His people and he had stringent rules. These rules where not to make life difficult, but to make it possible for a holy God to dwell amongst sinful people.
Our modern society rejects this. It is a society that rejects any sort of absolute right and wrong, simply because it does not want to face up to the fact that judgement will ensue. It makes them feel guilty and that is not what they want to feel.
However, Christians should be different. We should be happy to embrace God’s requirements for the sake of having the living God dwell with us. Things have changed since the Old Testament. God no longer lives in a man-made building, but in the people themselves. This then is why we should carefully heed the Bible’s requirement on how we should live and behave. Herein lies the problem. If, like the majority of the world we never read the Bible, meditate on it nor bring our lives into line with its requirements, we will never know the indwelling presence of God through the Holy Spirit. We’re in the same danger the Israelites where in in that we are slowly absorbing the values of the godless world around us whilst lamenting the demise of true spirituality. This absorption is so slow it is almost imperceptible.
So what are we to do? First, we need to recognise that the sinful nature within us will always sabotage our internal compass of right and wrong. We all know that work equipment when used needs checking every so often to make sure it’s still working correctly. In fact the more frequently something is used the more frequently it needs re-calibrating. Our lives also need a regular re-calibration.
Our lives are filled with circumstances and situations that require us to make decisions. These decisions will be based on our internal compass. If that compass is not cared for and regularly re-calibrated our decisions will slowly take us off course. Sadly, this is evident in the lives of many believers who make appalling decisions.
How do we re-calibrate? Re-calibration is the idea behind God’s sabbath rest. The sabbath is not just about resting from work, but using the time to reflect on our past week in the light of God’s word. It allows us to ask questions such as, “have I been obedient to God this week?”, “Have I acted in any way that needs confession and repentance?”. There are many such questions we could ask. The sabbath also allows us to look ahead. We can bring our week before God. If we have failed in any way to live a pleasing life before God we can ask God’s help for the coming week and reflect on how we will accomplish this. This is how we re-calibrate. We do it away from the activity of the world and we use God’s truth as the measure for our lives. This should also be done everyday in a smaller measure. Those of us who re-align our compass like this regularly will find that we will increase in maturity and most of all we’ll know a greater measure of God’s presence in our lives!
When was the last time your re-aligned you internal compass? What are you doing with your sabbaths?