The New Covenant is a calling out of works into rest. We are called to stop relying on our works in order that we might rest in the faith of Christ. But what is this rest? The inability to understand what this rest is has caused many to indulge in sin in the name of grace, while those that try to avoid this end up going back into works. To explain what this rest is I will use something that we are familiar with in the secular world. I will use sabbatical leave in work.
Some may think it's only school professors that are given sabbatical. But other Some corporations offer a professional sabbatical as a benefit, too – in 2018, 15% of employers were offering sabbaticals (though only 5% offered paid sabbatical leave). This leave is granted to employees after they complete a certain number of years in service, usually more than five.
The sabbatical leave is separate from other kinds of leave. For example, you may be entitled to 20 days of paid time off per year plus a sabbatical after your fifth year with the organization .
Sabbatical leave is defined as “a break from work” during which employees can pursue their interests, like traveling, writing, research, volunteering or other activities (or even rest). During that time, the employee is still employed at their organization, but they don’t need to perform their normal job duties or report to work .
The benefits of a sabbatical leave are clear for employees: they get to take their minds off the stress of their jobs and focus on what they love outside of their work. They can also develop skills, both personal and professional. Employers benefit in various ways, too: for example, their employees are rejuvenated and return to work with new energy and motivation (and without the fear of employee burnout). Plus, offering sabbaticals is a great way to attract talent to your organization .
The whole idea of sabbatical is that employees get out of work for a while to go do something they enjoy doing. Majority of employees are doing works that are not their passion, they are just working for money. This can lead to burnout, and motivation may be drained. This same burnout is experience by religious folks. Religion is not easy, it is based on works. You are doing it for the sake of responsibility and a sense of religious obligation. But Christ is the sabbatical of religion.
In Christ you come out of religious works to pursue things that you are passionate about, things that you enjoy. What does this mean? I am saying in Christ you are not just called to pursue the things of God, but you are impacted with a burning passion for the things of God. You are given a grace (ability) to enjoy the things of God as you pursue them — that's what makes it sabbatical (rest). Rest is not about doing nothing, it is about doing fun, doing what you enjoy doing. Rest is all about pleasure and fun.
"For we who have believed do enter that rest... For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall." (Heb 4:3,10,11).
We often think rest is being inactive. No, we are called to be very active, but not active in works. We are to be active in rest. There is a difference between pursuing God in the effort of works and pursuing God in the effort of rest. In the effort of works you are simply doing it as an obligation. Your pastor says you should read your Bible and pray every day so you try your best to do it. You are a pastor and you need power so you engage in spiritual activities to grow in power. You are doing it as a responsible, it is your job, you are the pastor and you are meant to have power.
All of this responsibilities, obligations and works can lead to burnout. It is really not easy. Christ is the sabbatical of religion, you are not truly practicing Christ until you are enjoying it. Even under persecution and imprisonment, Paul and Silas were rejoicing (Acts 16:16-40). They were feasting on Christ and enjoying the pleasure of pursuing after him. The first time the disciples were beating and persecuted they came back rejoicing over it (Acts 5:41). Who told you that it has to be all gloomy and sad? If you are not enjoying it then you are not truly awaken to the reality in Christ.
Surely the flesh will suffer, but you are not the flesh. You are beyond flesh, you are sons of God from above. Those that are from above enjoys the things from above, they find pleasure in the things of God. God is meant to be enjoyed, he should be your delight. Come into the reality of who you are today and start enjoying the things of Christ. The flesh may not like it, it might be hard for the flesh, but do not forget to remind yourself that you are not the flesh, and then enjoy it. Enjoy dying to self, for it is sweet freedom for the sons.
The flesh has been preventing the sons from manifesting themselves, but when you are dying to self then you are setting the sons free — the real you is being set free. And there is nothing as sweet as freedom. Enjoy obeying God, take pleasure in doing his will. Enjoy the word and prayer, enjoy pursuing hard after God, for this is the Sabbath. This is the land of rest where we do the works of rest. The works of rest is pleasure and fun.
Jesus had drank of that bitter cup for us, he drank the sorrow and left us with a land flowing with milk and honey. This is our rest, anything Christian that you are not enjoying, it means you are not doing it in rest. As such, press into this rest and desire to find pleasure in the things of God. When you start enjoying it then you have become fully awaken to the reality of the Sabbath (rest in Christ).
1,2,4 Retrieved from https://resources.workable.com/hr-terms/sabbatical-leave-definition