Taking A Break
There are times when people choose to take a break from their given responsibilities. This “break” may come as time off, a vacation, a sabbatical, etc. Depending on the reason for the “break,” people might use the time to rest and to “recharge.” These breaks might even be a time for reflection or a time for healing. Most people understand the importance, as well as the need, to stop, pause, and reflect for a time.
While taking a break is possible in many areas of life, including one’s profession, there is one area where a pause, a timeout, cannot be observed. For the child of God, taking a break from serving God should never be an option. When a person becomes a child of God, that person enters into fellowship with God. This fellowship should both affect and direct a person’s daily life. Consider the apostles and their dedication and devotion to the Lord. The apostle Paul wrote, “and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3, ESV). The apostles’ faith in God and fellowship with God directed their daily steps. The apostles had a heart which desired to serve God (Matthew 12:35). They lived their lives holy before the Lord (2 Peter 3:11). The apostles walked “in the light,” no longer having fellowship with the “unfruitful works of darkness (1 John 1:5-10; Ephesians 5:8-14). To take a break from one’s charge as a Christian is to take a break from walking faithfully in fellowship with God.
Christians do not need a break from serving God. Christians do not need a sabbatical from serving God. The heavenly Father has provided for every Christian a daily renewal, a daily refreshing. The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2, ESV). Take notice of the phase “by the renewal of your mind.” This passage is not addressing the change one goes through when becoming a Christian. This passage is addressing a Christian maintaining his non-conformity to the world, his ongoing transformation, which comes through discerning the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Such discernment can only come through one spending time in God’s word as well as meditating upon that word. Let us consider a few more passages in regards to this spiritual renewal. In 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV). In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote, “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24, ESV). Reminding Christians of the need to put off sinful behavior and put on the “new self,” Paul wrote, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:9-10, ESV).
To help a Christian begin his day fully refreshed and renewed, there are four daily “helps” he should remember. Let us consider the first “help.” This daily renewal comes, in part, by spending time in God’s word. Since God has given us all things which pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) through His word, it stands to reason studying God’s word will help to keep us equipped with all we need to serve Him. The apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
A Christian’s faith in God, his trust in the Lord, is the second “help.” This faith should cause the Christian to begin the day renewed in the Lord’s service. Even in the most difficult of times, a Christian should gain strength and comfort by trusting in the Lord. The apostle Paul wrote, “. . . The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:5b-6, ESV). The Christian should begin his day having faith in the Lord and the will of the Lord. James wrote, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15, ESV).
Hope is the third great “help” or source of refreshing. Without hope, a person may be tempted to give up, asking the question, “What’s the point?” For a Christian, a child of God, hope always exists. Even in the times of greatest despair, a Christian always looks to God for a reason to press on. Building upon the truth that God cannot lie, the Hebrew letter reminds the Christian of the reason for this hope: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:19,20, ESV). A Christian should begin every day remembering Jesus is always present as the High Priest, standing before the heavenly Father. It does not matter how bad things may be here on this earth, there truly is a greater home and reward waiting for every faithful child of God.
The fourth “help” which will assist the Christian beginning the day refreshed is a godly reverence, respect and attitude. A Christian’s life can be filled with many distractions, such as fear, greed, immorality, indifference, apathy, anger, passions, etc. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy that godliness with contentment is great gain. Paul wrote, “. . . But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8, ESV). While contentment is extremely important, godliness keeps a Christian established in faithful obedience. When the world says do one thing, godliness reminds the Christian to stay the course.
When you begin your day, keep in mind that a break from God results in a godless life. When it seems life has turned against you, remember to trust in the Lord, have your hope established in heaven, and place your reverence and respect of God before all other worldly distractions.