The Upper Room devotional reflection for Saturday, May 6, 2022 comes to us from Sarah Hopkins of Colorado.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Ephesians 4:17-28 NIV
“Rest for the Weary”
Every day I get a peaceful moment when my daughter has gone to sleep for the night and the house is cleaned from the day’s activities. This is the moment when my weary soul longs for rest. In the early days of parenthood, I sought this rest on our couch in front of the TV or scrolling through social media on my phone. I learned very quickly that this did not give me the rest I sought so desperately. I became aware that filling my weary soul with entertainment and counsel from the world yielded undesirable results – a quicker temper, shorter patience, and selfishness.
It was then that I read Paul’s words to the Romans to “be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” For me, that renewal comes from intentional time spent in God’s word and an effort to grow my relationship with Christ. Whether I exchange a TV show for a Christian podcast or replace time on social media with time spent reading scripture or quiet time in prayer; God is sufficient to sustain me. The things of this world may sparkle and promise rest, but only God can truly renew our weary souls.
Once again, I want to quote Bishop Linda Lee, who taught me, “Sabbath – it’s a commandment, not a suggestion.” Spiritual rest is crucial to our spiritual health. So, I encourage everyone to develop a habit of Sabbath rest. However, it’s important to remember that each of us rest in our own way. Perhaps, like Sarah Hopkins, it’s Biblical study and reflection. For others, it might be a long walk outside, some form of exercise, working on a favorite hobby, reading a novel, or competing in a sporting event. I invite you to consider which activities help you to experience rest and renewal. Do you practice them routinely?
Loving God, thank you for the riches of your word and for opportunities to rest. May our lives glorify you. Amen.
Those in need of renewal
Thought for the Day:
Time spent in God’s word gives rest to my weary soul.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect Romans 12:2 (NRSV)