40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 21 – Sabbath


When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. (Matthew 14:13)

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. (Mark 6:45-46)

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. (Luke 4:42)

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. (Luke 6:12)


Our Feature Friday Discipline is the Discipline of the Sabbath, which does not show up in many of the books on Spiritual Disciplines.  This is understandable because the topic of a specified day for the Sabbath is hotly debated in Christendom.  We will not enter into the debate.  Instead, as we have done with the other Disciplines we want to examine this Discipline through the lens of love.

We need to challenge ourselves to consider the habits of resting, refueling and reflecting.   To discuss the Discipline of the Sabbath, we will consider a few passages (captured above) from the life of Jesus, our perfect example.  Please prayerfully read the passages and answer today’s questions.

Today’s Questions for comments:

  • What major point do you take away from Jesus’ example in the passages above?
  • How do you practice this Discipline without becoming legalistic?



8 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 21 – Sabbath

  1. The words withdrew, privately, solitary are repeated for a reason. If Jesus thought it necessary to get away so should we. It’s interesting that even though He and The Father are one he still sought his special alone times with God. Though our Father has prior knowledge of what we need, it’s still important to have that undivided time with him.
    Having that special time with The Lord should be out of a love relationship and not out of a compulsory attitude.

  2. What major point do you take away from Jesus’ example in the passages above?
    If I love The Lord as I ought to and truly recognize that my existence and the effectiveness of anything I do is absolutely dependent on God there will be a desire as well as the recognition of the need to spend time alone with Him. Jesus in his humanity also evidenced a passionate love relationship with His Father, something that clearly translated into this ongoing practice of speaking to, and speaking to others about how whatever he did was to please his Father, and was what His Father wanted him to do. There should be no surprise then that the person who his public life evidenced that he had this ongoing love affair with, would be the one we find him often times spending quiet moments with. This topic has not only challenged me in the area of my relationship with Jesus but also my relationship with my wife and even my children. I wonder if there is anyone else who has been challenged likewise.

    How do you practice this Discipline without becoming legalistic?
    I believe the more I recognize the truth of the perspective mentioned above (i.e. my need for what The Lord provides and that without Him I can do nothing, as well as the love relationship that ought to exist between me and Him) wanting to and actually spending quiet time with The Lord will (or should) gradually become a normal activity. When I haven’t done for a while something that I love doing I miss it. This ought to be the same principle when it comes to my relationship with Jesus, but of course to a much higher level of importance.

  3. What major point do you take away from Jesus’ example in the passages above?

    It’s just example after example of Jesus taking the time to be alone with God – no distractions, no confusion. Sometimes that means sending your friends ahead and sometimes it means finding a secret prayer closet.

    How do you practice this Discipline without becoming legalistic?
    To me, this discipline is about priority – does hearing from God directly matter to you or not? If you mean to show how pious you are then your motivation is inherently legalistic, but if you are like Jesus and simply seeking peace to hear God’s voice then there is no danger. This is not a show but rather an important relationship builder between you and God. I agree with Cuaco that when you haven’t done something you love doing then you miss it. Having a real relationship with God means that you work on cultivating the strength of that relationship by having uninterrupted access.

  4. The major point I take away from Jesus’ example is the absolute importance of prayer, the need to consistently pray, alone with God.
    To not be legalistic , for me, is to ‘hunger and thirst’ for that relationship with God, through ‘ the lens of love’ and obedience to his Word.

  5. I hear you loud and clear commentators. If it was good enough for Jesus to practice this Discipline, it is good enough for us. Cuaco, in sharing how you were also challenged about your relationship with your family, you made transparent a challenge that many of us have. Our inability to get off the treadmill not only affects our horizontal relationship (with God) it also impacts important vertical relationships.

  6. The major point for me is that Jesus modeled the importance of prayer and connection with God. I wish i can say beam me up God, let us have a conversation. I would be very happy and then beam back to earth. However, i have the opportunity to do just that by isolating myself and connecting with him, anywhere, any time through prayer. The strength of any relationship is dependent on communication and trust. My prayer time is to strengthen my relationship with God.

    It is not legalistic to be intentional and systematic about anything that is important. I would prefer to use the terms discipline and priority.

  7. Major take away? The importance of making time to be alone with the Lord, and focus on Him; plus the fact that scheduling what’s most important goes a long way towards making it happen. Or perhaps it is better to state it conversely – that without scheduled time our priorities would not be reflected in the way we spend our time – alas, part of the human condition.

    How do I practice this without being legalistic? Well in terms of church on Sunday, I have no problem. I savour the opportunity and time to focus on Him. I also know how much I need it. But the challenge is more difficult in terms of giving Him ‘Sabbath time’ on a daily basis. Life gets in the way, as does the flesh, so I try to insist, and that can present the temptation of legalism, but really I think that any time really spent with Him is so precious that I don’t really feel legalistic about trying to make it happen.

  8. What major point do you take away from Jesus’ example in the passages above?
    Jesus, who is one with God, knows Him personally, while He was flesh dwelling among us had and practiced quiet time. He needed fellowship with God. His times alone with God the Father were done with regularity, were intentional and purposeful. Mine should be the same.
    How do you practice this Discipline without becoming legalistic?
    I looked up legalism and found this:
    It is a term Christians use to describe a doctrinal position emphasizing a system of rules and regulations for achieving both salvation and spiritual growth.

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-Christian-legalism.html#ixzz3UMPU1rpH
    My desire is to practice these Disciplines consistently until they become habits. Know they won’t give me the salvation I recieved as a free gift but that the consistent behavior will help develop my spiritual maturity.

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