The Gospel Coalition

My oldest son started high school this fall. At his orientation the counselors spoke to parents about the greatest challenge they see students face in school. I expected to hear about poor study habits or substance abuse, but to my initial surprise, these were not at the top of the list. Apparently, the greatest challenge presenting itself in the office of the high school guidance counselor is a growing number of kids struggling with anxiety and depression. Can you guess why? A combination of over-scheduling and sleep deprivation, linked to two main contributors: electronics use and extracurricular activities. We were encouraged as parents to go home and talk to our teenagers about setting boundaries in these areas. Parents across the auditorium scribbled notes furiously as the counselors outlined some suggestions: limit texting, monitor bedtimes, cut back on team practices. I couldn't help but think to myself: tonight there will be many demonstrations of teenage angst when mom shows up with her new list of suggestions.

What is unfolding at my son's high school is a clear illustration of spiritual truth: the need for regular periods of rest in our lives. From the earliest pages of the Bible we find God instituting patterns of activity and rest---not just any kind of rest, but rest with the intent to engage in worship and community. The concept of Sabbath weaves its way through the Old Testament and the New, occupying a prominent place among the Ten Commandments and informing our understanding of heaven.

Despite biblical precedent, few Christians understand or practice Sabbath as a regular part of life, and consequently, neither do their children. Christian parents bear the responsibility of teaching our children the value of rest, through our words and through our actions. Children don't set the calendar in our homes---if they are overscheduled or sleep-deprived, the fault lies with us. How can we better discharge our duty of raising children to seek Sabbath? To value down-time to reconnect with God and family?

While I admire the high school guidance counselors' optimism, age 14 is probably too late to start imposing boundaries on our child's rest habits and schedule. We need a plan, and we need it early. How will we safeguard for our families the key Sabbath concepts of rest, worship, and community? Here are a few suggestions that have helped our family to honor God in our rest.

Electronics


Late-night texting and TV watching, online chatting, surfing the internet---all can rob a child of rest. Children between the ages of 7 and 12 require a whopping 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. This is the very age range during which most acquire the electronics to rob them of needed sleep. Parents can guard their children's rest simply by keeping electronics in sight. We made a rule in our home that no electronics are allowed upstairs: no TVs, computers, phones, or games in bedrooms or rooms where their use cannot be monitored.

Each night, those of us who have phones leave them in a spot on the kitchen counter. These measures give us accountability to each other, keep electronics as a shared rather than an individual privilege, and force our electronics to obey our family's Sabbath priorities of rest, worship, community. Well-rested kids bypass many of the unsavory habits of their tired counterparts: fits, backtalk, forgetfulness, drama, isolation, and yes---anxiety and depression. Guarding your child's rest actually gives them a running start at Christlike behavior, even during adolescence.

Activities


So many to pursue, so little time. Don't be fooled: the proliferation of activity options for children reflects our cultural affluence, not our child's need to be well-rounded or socialized. Gobs of money are being made off of our misplaced desire to expose our kids to every possible talent path. How can we choose activities for our family in a way that doesn't compromise Sabbath principles?

Because the four Wilkin kids are close in age, our schedule and finances forced us to limit activities to "one or none" for each child. Not all families need to impose a limit this low, but we have re-learned something our grandparents probably knew: children who participate in no organized activities at all still lead lives full of activity and joy. To many parents the idea of a child on no sports team, in no music lessons, at no club meetings is completely foreign and a little frightening. Won't they get bored? Won't they drive me crazy lurking around the house? Won't they miss out on an NFL career and blame me? Or, my personal favorite: Won't other parents think I'm a bad parent? I would answer all of these questions, "Maybe, but who cares?"

As is often lamented, parenting is not a popularity contest. With that in mind, here are some good (and highly unpopular) questions to ask when evaluating which activity to pursue:

  1. Does it sabotage weekend downtime or worship?

  2. Does it sabotage family dinners?

  3. Does it sabotage bedtime?

  4. Does it pull our family apart or push us together?

  5. Is it an activity my child can enjoy/benefit from into adulthood?

  6. Can we afford it?


Notice that "Does my child enjoy it?" is not on the list. So often I hear parents justify keeping a child in a time-sucking activity because "He loves it so much." Kids love Skittles and Mario Kart so much, but they don't get to decide if, when, and how much to consume. Because children possess a limited range of life experience, it is difficult for them to conceive of happiness outside their current circumstance. It is our job to help them learn.

Less-than-Admirable Motives


Why do we have such a hard time as parents placing limits on electronics and activities? Both can appeal to parents for less-than-admirable reasons. Both can serve as a babysitter or a diversion. But the appeal of activities extends even further, to our very identity as parents. We actually want to be labeled "soccer mom" on rhinestone-studded tee shirts and coffee mugs. We carefully arrange our car decals so that every identity-marker is announced. The thought of removing or withholding our child from an activity threatens the very way we view ourselves.

Maybe our view needs to adjust to something a bit higher. Families that prioritize Sabbath fix their eyes on and find their identity in Christ, recognizing that their greatest potential for missed opportunity lies not in neglecting activities but in neglecting time---lots of it---spent together as a family in worship, rest, and community with each other.

God forbid we value the discipline of a sport more than the discipline of Christian living. Both require great application of time and effort, but one is worth far more than the other. Because time is our most limited resource, how we allocate it reveals much about our hearts. Our time usage should look radically different than that of the unbelieving family. We must leave time for slow afternoons, for evening meals where we pray together and share our faith and struggles, for Sunday mornings of shared worship.

God ordains Sabbath for our good and for his glory. May our homes be places where Sabbath rest is jealously guarded, that in all things God might have preeminence---even our schedules.

Ephesians 5:15-17: See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.




Comments:

[...] How to Guard Sabbath for your Children, Gospel Coalition [...]

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January 26, 2013 at 07:56 AM

[...] How to Guard Sabbath for Your Children: Because time is our most limited resource, how we allocate it reveals much about our hearts. A “Family Equipping” article at its best! Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in Children's Ministry, Family, Leadership, Life | Tagged Discipline, Family Equipping, leadership, life, Motivation, Story, The Saturday Assortment [...]

Friday Bag #22 | jonathancliff.com

January 25, 2013 at 06:02 AM

[...] How to Guard Sabbath for your Children - “Children don’t set the calendar in our homes—if they are overscheduled or sleep-deprived, the fault lies with us. How can we better discharge our duty of raising children to seek Sabbath? To value down-time to reconnect with God and family?” // This is so, so, so good to read as a parent. Make the time to at the very least read this first link! [...]

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January 16, 2013 at 04:01 AM

[...] [Note: This article was written by Jen Wilkin and appeared at The Gospel Coalition] [...]

Karen

February 23, 2013 at 06:07 PM

Thank you so much, Jen. Creating this kind of space in our lifestyle and family pace is part of hospitality...making it easy to hang out with people beginning with my husband & children and extending out to friends, unbelievers, etc. It requires intention and effort to preserve that open-ended available time.

[...] Protect Your Child’s Rest. This was a very special post for me in that I often see parents let their children have lives filled with activity with no guarded time of rest and reflection. If you are a parent, or know parents, read this article and help combat the harmful practice of making our kids schedules more packed than they should be. [...]

John Dunn

December 7, 2012 at 09:53 PM

Well said Lamar!

"There is no `legal administration of the Spirit' and there is no `spiritual ministry of the law.' The letter is the law. The Spirit is the gospel of grace. The letter (law) was a ministry of death by God’s specific design. The gospel of grace is the Law of Christ." -- Rodney Grey (2 Corinthians 3)

That blind reliance upon the now unglorious Law, carved in 10 letters on stone, will *only* be eradicated from people's hearts as they turn to the Spirit and discover his internal ministry of righteousness and life (2 Cor 3:7-17).

Only then will they see that the ministry of death and condemnation has been brought to a complete end, having been transcended by a far greater glory, even the Spirit of the living God written upon the tablets of their hearts.

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December 7, 2012 at 04:01 PM

[...] How to Guard Sabbath for Your Children  ”…the greatest challenge presenting itself in the office of the high school guidance counselor is a growing number of kids struggling with anxiety and depression. Can you guess why?” [...]

[...] How to Guard Sabbath for Your Children: [...]

Pam

December 6, 2012 at 08:14 AM

As someone who was raised in a church in my early years and then had our (my sister and I) "beloved" tournament softball take the place of church since in my parents eyes, we had made commitments to our teams to play on through to the Sunday championship games, I get this.
Church and Sunday are essential in circling the family wagons and brininging everyone together for some peaceful relaxation and togetherness.
It boggles my mind that children's sports are allowed to happen on Sunday at all! My parents are still learning that Church is not something we will just set aside so they can I something fun with their grandchild. (Maybe One day they'll start joining us)

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December 6, 2012 at 05:32 AM

[...] How to guard Sabbath for your children Jen Wilkins with some great questions to help you lead your family. [...]

Marty

December 6, 2012 at 03:42 PM

Amen Pam. Amen. I think Christians are 'freed' by Jesus to enjoy sabbath every day. But the first day, Sunday, the Lord's Day is a day of assembly and mutual family encouragement. Obviously the world as such does not share this. So Sunday (here in formally evangelical N Ireland) has fast become like any other day. Busy, noisey, consumerist. If I go for a coffee or meal, I'm not sure I've broken any 'law' as such. But I am freed by Christ and I am so thankful for the peace He gives my family together, both at home and in Church. With that freedom I therefore delight in worship not in shopping / working etc.

But sport - well that's a tricky issue. We're really involved in kids rugby. More and more kids rugby takes place across Ireland on a Sunday. It's crazy. It's not even a family based activity. What's wrong with Saturdays?!

John Dunn

December 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM

The frantic pace of our hectic lifestyles affects all of us. It's not just the kids that are depressed and anxious. Sadly, it is the worldview of our entire consumer-driven, capitalistic Western culture, which pushes all of us to extreme limits to work more, do more, build more, serve more, give more, produce more, buy more.

Ultimately, we are consumed with so much busy-ness (even within the confines of the church) that we have no time for anything restful, enjoyable, or communal. Consequently, we no longer have a proper Biblical understanding of covenant community or inter-relational Body life that exists to serve one another in love. We have been turned into a society of extremely productive but severely isolated individuals, with little joy, little rest, little down-time, and little meaningful interaction with others.

Jen Wilkin

December 5, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Shannon, that's very kind. Thank you.

Anthony WS

December 5, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Thanks Marcelo for your comments.

Outside of the use of the term "shadow" to reference the weekly Sabbath, I agree with all your points.

Yes I am from an Adventist background and growing up always looked forward to the day as a time to be in creation, worship, family, etc. So I absolutely agree the issue is one's motivation...connecting with the Creator rather than out of a sense of a binding law. The day and the way of Sabbath are both important and at times the Adventist community (in showing the validity of the day) has not done as well at the experience of the way of Sabbath rest. Both are important though as shown in the Hebrew word "Shamor" in the 4th commandment of both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. In reference to keeping it means both "protect or defend" and "celebrate". We should celebrate what God has called us to protect and protect what we take the time to celebrate.

Articles like this I find extremely helpful in celebrating - as well as protecting - the Sabbath as the means God has given us for weekly renewal. Again I really appreciate your thoughts, very clear and helpful. All the best to you!

Your observation that Jesus himself did not abrogate the decalogue but intensified it is spot on. This honors the new covenant without an antinomian attitude...i.e. Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly not because it's temporary but because it's an eternal expression of God's love which holds His universe together. Through trusting in Jesus we receive his perfect life and are set right with God.

Lamar Carnes

December 5, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Using the word Sabbath (Rest) for New Testament Saints who are NOT under the law lest we desire to place ourselves under a curse according to the Holy Spirit in Galatians, is perhaps not a choice word to use in our approach to proper life activities due to a misunderstanding of the term and its previous emphasis in the Old Testament. Hebrews teaches us clearly we who are saved have entered into REST with Christ. The New Birth is our place of REST today - rest from our works and labors and a total reliance upon Him in and through faith which produces a desire for good works. Resting in Christ who is our Sabbath moves us away from a legalistic "day" to deny ourselves various things as if doing so creates us "favorable people" in the sight of God because we did something we think may be meritoreous. Great care must be exercised in using legalistic law principles which were designed to show "NO ONE" ever could keep the law and especially the Sabbath day as perfectly as they should thus revealing they were sinners and needed a Savior who DID keep the Sabbath perfectly. Now, we rest from our labors in Him and in His right acts performed for us and are now imputed to our account. Certainly, we are to teach our children proper moderation in terms of activities of life which may block out spiritual good works which we are to engage in, but yet, we must recognize ALL of our moments of every day are to be lived UNTO HIM and IN HIM WE FIND the spiritual rest daily and in fact, every day is a sabbath day in HIM. No such things as secular vs sacred. All is sacred, holy and devoted unto HIM whether it is school work, exercise, sports, sleep, rest, eating, working, etc.! All to His glory and honor. Life is a GIFT both physically and spiritually! To Him be all the glory and honor and praise!

Steve Cornell

December 5, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Jen,

Thank you for this good and wise counsel. I appreciate how you offer advice without tones of legalism. This is so important when offering parenting advice in the Church!

I've led a parents of teens group each wednesday night for many years and I tell the parents how glad I am that when we raised our four children "Facebook" wasn't around! Apart from the youngest (20), even cell phones were only beginning to become mainstream.

We understand the sports component as our two younger sons were captains of varsity basketball teams (in a quad A high school). Sometimes it felt like their seasons never ended as they took their teams to league, district and state competitions.

As our children moved into adolescence, I shifted to more of a Deuteronomy 6 approach:

"And you (parents) must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you (parents) must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (vv. 4-9).

As they move into the years of 15-18, life might take twists and turns that demand creativity in applying the principles you outline. They get jobs and begin to push away. We must always remember that we raise them to release them. The most impotent thing is our being "with them" all along the way so that we provide mentorship as expected and welcomed parts of their lives. They might push away and this is natural but the important course to navigate is movement from control to influence. If we try too much control in these years, we'll lose influence. (I also see far to much effort to influence younger children when parents should be taking control).

But it's sheer delight to have them turn back to us repeatedly in their adult life. We are enjoying our adult children (and 2 grandchildren) and they often tell us how grateful they are for their home and upbringing.

Thanks again,

Steve Cornell
www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com

Shannon Mahoney

December 5, 2012 at 09:57 PM

Every time I read a blog on this site that I LOVE - you wrote it.... thanks for speaking my love language

[...] for raising a teen that understand the importance of slowing down. Read the original article HERE by Jen Wilkin, writing for The Gospel Coalition. I took the liberty of bolding a few things that [...]

Bill

December 5, 2012 at 09:08 AM

But John Dunn, even if one were to believe Sabbath theology exactly as you described, there is still a problem. If kids are over-scheduled so that time with Christ suffers, then we are not "resting with Him".
Even if the author has a different theology on the Sabboth, you can't deny the point of what is being said - Kids are depressed and anxious because of what parents are putting them through which is a situation other than Biblical.

Cap Stewart

December 5, 2012 at 08:39 AM

Thank you for the article. My wife and I enjoy practicing a weekly Sabbath, and we need help in preparing for the day when Sabbath rest involves not just the two of us, but also children as well.

John Dunn

December 5, 2012 at 08:39 AM

The OT Sabbath ordinance, grounded in the original creation order, was ordained of God as a shadow which has found its true eschatological substance in Jesus Christ alone (Col 2:17). The command of physical rest pointed Israel toward the true Spirit-wrought rest that would be found in the coming Messiah (by faith), wherein they would find final rest from their labours under the Law (Rom 7:6, 2 Cor 3:7-11, Gal 3:23-24).

As such, the Sabbath command for physical rest, grounded in the original creation order, has been set aside because the eschatological New Creation has sprung forth in Christ! The old creation order has received its death knell and is passing away. Jesus is now the fountain-head of the New Creation order, by virtue of his resurrection from the dead. He is "the beginning", the "firstborn of all creation", the "firstborn from the dead", the "Last Adam" (Col 1:15-18, 1 Cor 15:45).

In this way, Jesus is the Sabbath of the New Creation order. Because in Him, in his death and resurrection, God rested from all His redemptive labours . . . it was finished, once for all . . . and all who believe into Christ find true eternal rest and life by the Spirit.

Those who are united to Christ are his glorious New Creation (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15, Eph 2:10, Eph 4:24). And they appropriately find all of their deep, deep rest in Him . . . every waking moment of every day by a living, abiding, and communing faith.

Seth Fuller

December 5, 2012 at 05:19 PM

Wow. Good answer. Thanks Jen. Very encouraging.

John Dunn

December 5, 2012 at 05:04 PM

@Marcelo "But nowhere in the Scriptures is there any hint of ignoring anything that was at one time in the decalogue."

I would disagree, but not because the Law was not good and holy, but because the Law has been fulfilled and transcended by a greater eschatological reality which it pointed toward . . . namely the Spirit and his heaven-wrought fruit of love. Love, as it is the fruit of the Spirit, fulfills the whole Law (Rom 13:8-10, Gal 5:14).

The Law, as carved on tablets of stone, was the "killing letter", the "ministry of death", the "ministry of condemnation" which has been brought to an end AND has come to have no glory at all, by reason of the Glory which excells it, namely the Spirit, the "ministry of righteousness", not written on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (2 Cor 3:3-18).

The Law was the shadowy inscription of the Old Covenant marriage/redemtive agreement (Jer 31:32), engraved on tables of stone. The OC is now obsolete (Heb 8:13).

The Spirit is now the living inscription of the New Covenant marriage/redemptive agreement (Eph 1:13), written upon tables of human hearts (2 Cor 3:3).

Now, those in Christ are completely dead to the old enslaving Law-union which once ruled over men in condemnation. We are now married to another, Jesus Christ, so that we now serve Him "in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code" (Rom 7:1-6). To return to Law then, and forsake Christ and His internal inscription of covenantal righteousness (the Spirit), is to return to the former husband, thus committing spiritual adultery, trampling the blood of the New Covenant and outraging the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29).

The Spirit-wrought love of Christ which has been poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5) fulfils and transcends the entire decalogue, causing the righteous requirement of the Law to be fulfilled in us as we walk according to the Spirit (Rom 8:4).

Ben

December 5, 2012 at 04:33 AM

Thanks! Practical and important article!

Jen Wilkin

December 5, 2012 at 04:32 PM

Seth, I agree completely with your comment. The heart issue is always the goal. In our parenting class we define godly obedience as right actions plus right motives. Because small children learn by doing, we start them with right actions and point them toward right motives as we train. Without training right motives and praying for heart change, we're just a bunch of cranky legalists. The suggestions in this post are just intended to open up space for those discussions of motive (and many other discussions and shared experiences) to take place.

[...] the article here: How to Guard Sabbath for Your Children – The Gospel Coalition Blog. Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintPinterestGoogle [...]

Marcelo Plioplis

December 5, 2012 at 02:52 PM

Anthony,

I believe you are referring to Colossians 2:14 and not Galatians when you talk about the "law that was nailed to the cross". In fact, the bible does not say that a law was nailed to the cross, but "the charge of our legal indebtedness".

In fact that word in the greek is not a word for law, but of a binding contract, a promisory note, a title. Therefore, what was nailed to the cross was the "charge" that WE brought upon ourselves as humans, when Adam took of the fruit and rebelled against God, and when the children of Israel said after hearing the law from Moses, "everything you said we will do."

That's what the new covenant argument from Hebrews states, "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people..." (Hebrews 8:7-8)

The fault of the Old Covenant was not the law, but the people.

However, on the other points, I have to somewhat agree with John, but yet not entirely agree.

If you are Adventist (your arguments sound Adventist), you should know that Ellen White herself states that the law in Galatians that was added was both the ceremonial and the moral law. In another place she says that it was especially the moral law that was of concern in Galatians.

There's an entirely different reason to keep the Sabbath weekly than "commandments" demanding we do it.

The reason is "is it a good or bad thing to Remember?"

When we consider that the weekly Sabbath (though a shadow of the true Sabbath in Christ) reminds us of Him as creator (Gen. 2:2-3; Exodus 20:11), it also reminds us that He's the one who delivers us from bondage (Deuteronomy 5:15), it's a reminder that God is the one who sanctifies us (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12, 20). Finally, it's a reminder that God was the one who gave us ultimate salvation, redeemed us not just from bondage of Egypt, but from bondage to sin. And He rested on the tomb during the Sabbath. The significance of that cannot be overstated.

So, despite any "legal demand" to keep the law or not, in the new covenant, those things inherit in the law will be in our hearts and minds.

A much stronger argument then, in my opinion, is to reframe the Sabbath in the New Covenant terms.

Lest we think that any "shadow" serves no purpose anymore, let's remember how Jesus led with such "shadows" in the moral law, it's not enough to avoid adultery, but not even for us to lust after another woman/man, it's not enough to avoid murder, but we shouldn't even be angry with our brother.

While the ideal situation (no lust, no anger) is extremely important in the new covenant, the "shadow" (the acts) of the Old Covenant must not be ignored.

Now, obviously, there are things that in the Old Covenant we're told explicitly to ignore, like "actual" circumcision, sacrificing animals, and etc...

But nowhere in the Scriptures is there any hint of ignoring anything that was at one time in the decalogue. Not that it is binding as a rule, but now it must be internalized as our mode of living, because that is how a changed person lives from now on.

Besides, the clear explanation of Paul himself about the need and purpose of the law, "it was added because of transgression" (Galatians 3:19)

One should not discount the significance of a day set apart at Creation, that was done entirely for our benefit. It is one of the safeguards against apostasy, because of all that it teaches us.

Jesus purposefully broke many of the needless burdens and exactions the Jews had put on the law through their "additional laws" like the Mishna. In the commandment, God had simply said "do not work", but the legalist jews devised at least 40 kinds of work that were not allowed on the Sabbath.

He, however, never denied the significance and the holiness of the day. We hear of no disrespect to the commandment coming from Christ.

The weekly Sabbath can be a very heavy burden when looked upon in different eyes than these, and mainstream evangelicals have this misguided notion that Sabbath keeping was correct as done by the Pharisees and that could not be further from the truth.

While the true Sabbath-like rest of Hebrews 4 is not the weekly Sabbath, it is because of the many extraordinary acts of God throughout history that preceded the Sabbath reminders for His people, that we should continue to keep it as holy.

Now, all this has absolutely nothing to do with going back to the Old Covenant, because in the old covenant mindset, people were trying to keep the law in order to get right with God. When we know for a fact that we're justified solely by our trust in God and nothing more, anything we do that's considered "works" is done BECAUSE we are saved, not in order to be saved.

Hope this helps the discussion.

Sarah

December 5, 2012 at 02:15 PM

Thanks, John, for your comments. Those thoughts were flying through my head as I read this. While some of the principles she points to are true and important I get very weary of being a member of a sabbatarian church. Their intentions are good but Sundays leave my family tired and drained from running back and forth to church all day. Sunday school, two services and Wednesday prayer meeting make me wish we had just one Sunday service and more fellowship and sharing of meals with beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.
Also, I do want to thank Jen for writing this article. Like I said, the principles and ideas set forth are true and important. As I am planning how to educate my young children, all of the things you mentioned have come up. I want my children to be well rested and focused so that they have time and energy to give glory to God in all they do. Thank you.

Anthony WS

December 5, 2012 at 01:56 PM

Great article on the practical implications and obstacles to renewal on Sabbath!

John I agree that the Sabbath points to Jesus but not that the pointer itself no longer is part of God's design.

As you mentioned the weekly Sabbath is grounded in creation, a perfect world without sin long before Abraham and his descendants were around. The two institutions of Sabbath and marriage are part of a perfect world, not the result of sin.

I think though that your use of Colossians 2:17 is out of context. It is referring to the Jewish Sabbath days (v.16 is plural) and "new moon" celebrations which were a "shadow" of things to come. Indeed the Jewish ceremonial system was a shadow fulfilled in Christ. However, the weekly Sabbath of creation must be separated as it is one of the ten commandments (interestingly all ten commandments are observable in the biblical narratives of Genesis and Exodus before they were codified on Sinai and after the cross as well). The law that was nailed to the cross (Galatians 2) was the ceremonial and sacrificial laws, not the decalogue. None of us who love Jesus would say the prohibition on adultery and murder is "done away with" so now we're ok to cheat on our spouses and end human life.

It's about quality time with Jesus, worship, and family...the things that matter most which this article highlights. It's a grace based and relationally based motivation. As Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15)

Seth Fuller

December 5, 2012 at 01:26 PM

Hi Jen, I appreciate some of the points of your post. Some very thoughtful and practical advice. There can be a lot of beneficial use in placing restrictions on overuse of things that distract our children's lives. Recently we had to limit our 4-year olds obsession with computer games, so I understand. I would add that we should also seek to address our child's heart motives, and seek to foster within them a zeal for Christ, by His grace. Without a passion for Christ, these restrictions can sometime be merely exercises in asceticism. We need to teach to our children over and over that their hearts and wills must be pointed and consumed by God as Paul commands us to "be zealous in spirit." As our children learn in this way, some of these distractions will go away on their own, though some practical scheduling may still be in order. I've written a few posts related to this issue, if you don't mind my sharing:

Why Christians Don't Have To Quit Facebook
http://apoorwretch.com/why-christians-dont-have-to-quit-facebook/

Christians, We Are Commanded To Be Zealous For Christ
http://apoorwretch.com/christians-we-are-commanded-to-be-zealous-for-christ/

Thanks again for the post.

For His glory,

Seth Fuller

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December 18, 2012 at 03:32 PM

[...] How to Guard Sabbath for Your Children: “Children don’t set the calendar in our homes—if they are overscheduled or sleep-deprived, the fault lies with us. How can we better discharge our duty of raising children to seek Sabbath? To value down-time to reconnect with God and family?” [...]

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December 17, 2012 at 05:01 AM

[...] How to guard the Sabbath for your children? [...]

Delina

December 16, 2012 at 07:34 AM

Lamar and John,
Thank you both for your voice on this topic. I believe that in practice, Jen's practices and writings are motivated by the Spirit. But this American Christian culture has so conflated the words of the law with life in the Spirit that the use of the word "Sabbath" was the most biblical-sounding way to broach the topic.
I agree with everything she says about scheduling, finding time to fellowship as a family and with other believers, worship, rest, rhythm, etc. All of those are excellent concepts and vitally important to our lives. No need to bring Jewish law into it.

Guarding Sabbath Rest for Children

December 13, 2012 at 09:28 AM

[...] on the Sabbath Rest & Business theme I read another pretty fantastic post entitled How to Guard Sabbath For Your Children. You can read the entire post and you should at that link, but I wanted to share with you the list [...]

Clark

December 12, 2012 at 05:49 AM

Does it sabotage weekend downtime or worship?
Does it sabotage family dinners?

I want to be a parent that encourages my child in her activities, and to attend those things as a show of support. But have you ever watched the biographies of Olympic athletes? Some parents get up at 4 am and drive an hour each way so little Timmy can practice ice skating 7 days a week - at age 8. Families move to different towns and parents change careers so that a 12 year old can be in an Olympic size pool 3 hours a day. Any thoughts on those people?

Wednesday Link List « Thinking Out Loud

December 12, 2012 at 05:13 AM

[...] Jen Wilkin writes a must-read for parents on guarding Sabbath-rest for your children. [...]

[...] How to Guard Sabbath for Your Children – The Gospel Coalition Blog [...]

[...] week my friend Jen Wilkin wrote a good and wise post over at TGC titled How to Guard Sabbath for Your Children. I say it was good and wise, because it was. I know Jen enough to know that Jesus is her center and [...]