Do you have the SUNDAY SPIRIT?
Is your spiritual growth being held back because you unknowingly still have a Sunday attitude? Few members have clearly seen the self-centeredness that Sunday-keeping has caused in their lives — and how to successfully combat this most basic human trait.
by Jack R. Elliott
SUNDAY observance is of Satan the Devil. It is a COUNTERFEIT REST DAY. It is a SUBSTITUTE for God’s holy time. And, as in the case for everything Satan inspires, it is designed to tear down and nullify the GOOD effect of true Sabbath-keeping. Let’s compare the two.
God’s Holy Spirit is a spirit of love — love which flows OUTWARD in kindness and consideration to neighbor in worshipful respect and obedience toward God.
The spirit of Sunday is a spirit of SELF-INDULGENCE. This is a spirit of LOVE OF SELF which flows inwardly in SELF-CONSIDERATION and self-enjoyment. Just examine for a moment the typical behavior of a person on Sunday.
He isn’t required to do anything but to seek his own pleasure. He usually sleeps late, he reads the “funnies” in bed; if he wants to feel sentimentally good or if he enjoys displaying social status and self-righteousness before others, he goes to church. It is a day for large meals followed by lazy afternoons, joy-riding, leisurely strolling in the park, or a myriad of other “enjoyable” things.
The order of the day is to do just what one is in the “mood” to do.
The normal human mind thinks this is the way of happiness when, actually, it causes unhappiness and discontent. Self-indulgence does not bring happiness, as Solomon well said in Ecclesiastics 1:8. “… the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” As soon as we have seen a beautiful landscape, for example, we are ready to see something else. When we have heard a beautiful sound or flattering phrases we would like to hear more. The desire to taste good food does not end — the stomach wants to be filled to capacity again and again. We can never get our fill of “feeling good.” When excitement wears off, we are often left empty unless more excitement promises to follow.
The desires of the flesh are insatiable.
After a long day of Sunday self-indulgence, this world dreads “Old Blue Monday.” Why? Because, on Monday we are FORCED to return to work for others. In the minds of many this is proof that pursuing one’s own pleasure is the way of happiness.
God’s Holy Sabbath is different. It is a day to rest from labor. It is NOT a day of selfish pursuits. It is a day for doing good (Matt. 3:4-5). This certainly includes doing good through prayer, Bible study with your family, etc.
Since only God is good, the way we do good is to copy God and to obey the Laws of God, which show the way of goodness.
The Sabbath is a day to AVOID SEEKING AFTER YOUR OWN PLEASURE; a day to get your mind OFF YOURSELF (Isa. 58:13-14). It is also a day to learn of God (Luke 4:16 and Mark 1:21). In fact, you are COMMANDED to attend Sabbath services whenever it is possible (Lev. 23:3). The words “holy convocation” mean a COMMANDED gathering of those called out by God for a holy purpose. It means that you congregate with GOD’S PEOPLE. You will have no trouble telling God’s people by their fruits. Those who are God’s people obey His commandments (I John 3:3). This does not mean that they just obey MOST of them, but that they obey EVERY ONE of them (James 2:10).
Furthermore, God forbids members of the true Church of God to just decide to meet together on their own for “spiritual fellowship.” Past experience has taught that this does not work for good. It leads to selfishness. God did not leave this problem for individuals to work out according to their own understanding. He ORDAINED evangelists, ministers and elders to teach the people in the way that He, God, directs.
To go contrary to these directions is disobedience to God and cannot end in goodness. Therefore the true members of the Church of God hold meetings only when one of God’s ordained ministers is present to guide the proceedings.
When we properly keep the Sabbath, we actually have opportunity to REST from pursuing our own wills and laboring for our substance. It is a time to draw nearer to our Creator. We are given opportunity to learn benevolence toward God and neighbor, from which true happiness comes.
If we can remember the vital lessons which we learn every Sabbath and apply them every day of the week, our lives and the lives of those around us become meaningful and happy. We will have discovered the ONLY happy, joyful, wholesome WAY OF LIFE. The way of thinking and doing for others!
Those who have believed and trusted Him to the extent that they have obeyed Him fully, from the heart, have come to see that this is true. Yes, they who have proved God in this way have never been disappointed.
Yet, there have been SOME who THOUGHT they have obeyed God and proven His way to be unpleasant. From the very start their hearts were not in their obedience. They could not wait for God’s Sabbath to be ended, for example, so that they might go back to the pursuit of their fleshly desires.
Some well-meaning brethren make the mistake of continuing in the “Sunday Spirit” by reserving Sunday for themselves — as a sort of “rest day” wherein they are free to pursue THEIR OWN wills and satisfy THEIR OWN fleshly desires. They STILL KEEP SUNDAY just as they did before conversion.
The true Christian is the one who has changed from following after the ways of this world swayed by Satan, and who has COMPLETELY CHANGED so that he now follows every word of God, in complete subjection and humility to the RULER over his life — Jesus Christ.
He will no longer be trying to take a holiday during which he serves the fleshly desires in the same selfish manner that this world keeps Sunday. Ephesians 4:17-19 commands: “Henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
GOD KNOWS AND TEACHES THE WAY OF HAPPINESS. The instructions on “How to Live” are recorded in every page of your Bible.
If you are diligent to study them and obey HIM, you can enjoy this happiness for all eternity.