Shabbat keeping is a choice.
There is a growing movement of people who serve Yahusha as their Messiah and who have decided to start honoring Shabbat, including most readers here at Land of Honey. Most of us weren't born into homes where the seventh day of the week was set apart. So what caused us to make this change in our lives?
My route was probably easier than most. Growing up my family never really found a Christian church that was a good fit for us, which caused us to bounce from place to place and hear wide ranges of doctrines, opinions, etc. on Scripture. This in turn forced us to constantly evaluate what we believed and why. I strongly believe that if someone is studying Scripture for what it says - and separates that from what they have been told - they will eventually get to a point where they see YHWH's commandments and instructions as life-giving and not burdensome. And that's really what it was like for our family, and by that time, small group. After admitting that what we had been taught wasn't consistent with what Scripture actually says, it seemed so obvious that this was a change that needed to be made. My husband and I were engaged at that time and were both willing to try this together. Our small congregation then changed it's meeting time from Sunday morning to Shabbat afternoon, and the 'peer pressure' of that was helpful. We began with just attending service on the seventh day, and then slowly realized other elements of setting the day apart like having time off from work, not shopping or eating out, and intentionally resting.
This is the point in the story where many of my Christian friends, coworkers, or relatives interject with something like, "You know that's legalism and Christ did away with that, right?" And I know where they're coming from because when I first considered the possibility of keeping Shabbat those were my thoughts too. Up until then my faith, though growing, was pretty mainstream (albeit with an extra dose of 'the Holy Spirit is real and does stuff'). I went to FCA at school, saw Rebecca St. James in concert, went on a couple of mission trips, attended youth group and summer camps, interned at a Bible college, and was on staff with several churches and non profits. I had the 'normal Christian' beliefs. We didn't know anyone who kept the Sabbath day on the seventh day of the week. We certainly didn't decide to make this change because it was convenient. This wasn't a decision made on a whim. It came after months of Scripture study, listening to teachings, reading books, and praying and asking for understanding. It was a decision we made because we felt very strongly that YHWH was asking us to do this, even if this idea was unpopular and misunderstood.
This is one of the best changes we have ever made! Shabbat adds so much peace to our lives, something wonderful to look forward to after a hectic week. I have more energy and feel like my time is more under control. And after experiencing this you can't feel like a day of rest is a burden. It's a gift.
Why did you choose to start keeping Shabbat? Remember that Shabbat survey I asked you to participate in a while ago? Well, I am going to share some answers from that today. :) I hope for those of us who are in the Hebrew community that it will be edifying to hear of others who have made the same choices we have. For those of you who are new to the idea of Shabbat observance I hope it will clear up any questions you may have.
Why did you start keeping Shabbat?
"Because Scripture clearly states and stresses the importance of it."
"It says in the Bible to keep the Sabbath, which is on the seventh day. We figured God did it, Yeshua did it, and he told us to, so why not?"
"Reading Scripture convicted me. If I'm grafted into Israel, and Israel was commanded to observe the Sabbath for all their generations, then the commandment now applies to me."
"We (my wife and I) started observing Shabbat because we did some research and found out that the Catholic church changed the day and meaning of observance."
"We realized it was the Biblical day and God commanded it."
"My mom had been convicted off and on almost her whole life.... She eventually just put her foot down and said she was going to keep it. My sister and I thought it was an okay idea at the time too, but now we would never go back!"
"I could read it in the Bible in black and white that it was for me to do if I was grafted into the Vine. It had never been removed. And why would we only keep nine out of ten commands?"
"It was a part of my kids homeschool curriculum. It was a beautiful teaching and I wondered why Christians stopped so I've been reading and researching on my own."
"My wife showed me in the Bible."
"Because I realized the beauty of what it means to disconnect in order to reconnect with what actually matters in life."
"Out of a hunger to show obedience as a fruit of my relationship with YHWH."
"God woke me up and revealed to me [Shabbat] is not Jewish and it wasn't done away with after Christ."
"I began worshiping with a congregation and learned the importance of keeping Shabbat."
"Learned it was the right thing to do, that Sunday is not the Sabbath."
"My husband told me to! Haha!"
"After some studying of Torah and [the] commandments, we saw it made perfect sense that this is something He desires us to do."
"My family came to the understanding that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that in keeping His commands we find blessing."
"I knew by Scriptures that Saturday was Sabbath. I have lost a lot to observe it but it's been worth it."
"To have a richer family life and to share the old ways with our children."
"We keep Shabbat, because we love our Father, and want to obey His instruction on how to live."
"I grew up in a Christian church, and also a Messianic congregation. I decided upon becoming an adult, that I wanted to embrace my Messianic side. Observing Torah, and consequently, keeping Shabbat is integral to that."
"I read my Bible from front to back and was convicted."
"My husband and I received the revelation of Torah over seven years ago, and Shabbat is one of the most obvious/important things that you find when you first start reading and learning Torah."
"To experience more gratitude and intimacy with YHWH."
"I felt convicted to start setting Saturday apart. To truly use it as a day of rest, a day of connection with my kids and husband, a day to get into deeper study."
"I started studying the Word of God from a Hebrew perspective and saw Christianity from a whole new light."
"My husband started it at home... I wasn't happy with the idea.... but I did what I know best - praying. I asked the Father if this is good and is Yours, lead me to understand, manage the time, enjoy, rejoice, and love your Shabbat."
"God tugged at my heart about the commandments and to keep Shabbat."
"I got my eyes opened to what Yah says is a sign between us."
"Once I learned that it was really Biblical, not only for "the Jews," not abolished, and not changed/abrogated, it was the only choice I could make."
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Shabbat survey! So many responded that it's not really feasible to share everyone's answer but I have so enjoyed reading each one. Thank you for sharing your story. How do you guys feel about posts like these? Is it fun for you to hear from others? I know I love it.