Do you set resolutions for the New Year? There are some among us who love the opportunity to set goals and go for it and others who despise the idea of resolutions.
I recently saw a survey on the ten most common New Year’s resolutions. It was interesting to me to notice that four of the top ten most common resolutions had to do with the desire to be more careful about the stuff we ingest into our physical body through our dietary habits. I found it equally interesting that none of the top ten most common resolutions had anything to do with those things that we ingest into our heart, mind, and spirit.
In the same way that what we ingest physically will affect our physical health, what we decide to ingest into our heart, mind, and spirit will clearly affect our mental, emotional, and most importantly, our spiritual health. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that “as a man (woman, boy, or girl) thinks in his heart, so he is.” And Jesus tell us that “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45). Yet even with this clear instruction, we often give little or no attention to what it is that we feed our heart, mind, and spirit.
I am pretty sure that I don’t need to convince you that there is plenty of unhealthy hostility in the media that we can so easily consume. Whether it is the negativity of talk radio, the animosity and division expressed through social media, or the ungodly attitudes displayed in the latest sitcom, we often fail to realize how our passive consumption of media affects our heart, mind, and spirit, and in so doing affects all aspects of our lives.
I think it is time to detox!
Entering into a season of prayer and fasting in the early part of each year has been something that Ephrata Community Church has done for as long as I can remember. Most times we encourage the fast but stop short in giving specific directions on how to fast, leaving that up to each individual participant.
However, this year is different. America is so saturated with electronic media that we tend not to notice its effect. Although Scripture prizes silence and contemplation, modern media constantly fills up our minds, allowing us little room for quietness before God. Because of this and the increase of negativity in media I am specifically calling of Ephrata Community Church to a media fast for the three weeks from January 6 through January 26, 2018.
Media Fast, a great cleanse!
There have been times in my life when I have completely disconnected from media for a season, and I have known many others who have done the same. Almost everyone who has done so report they suffer withdrawal symptoms and first, but later become more peaceful and prayerful. Time is freed up for reading, spouses, children, and ministry. Lustful thoughts diminish.
They are surprised at how much television (or some other medium) had affected them and what a difference the fast made in their awareness of God, themselves, and their culture. Many resolve to be more careful with media in the future.
I challenge you to offer your own “media fast” to the Lord and see what the Holy Spirit teaches you about worldliness and godliness in your life.
Do an assessment.
Discover where, when, and what media you consume. Media is such a part of our lives that we often don’t realize how it consumes us.
Set specifics of your media fast.
Set specific parameters around how you will fast media. You might want to sign off social media for a time, decide to turn off the TV, get off Netflix, Hulu, or other online service. Decide in advance what you will do and do not rely on moment by moment decisions of what you will or will not consume.
Get some accountability.
Share you plan with those closest to you and ask them to help and encourage you through this time. You might be surprised to learn how hard this might be and you’ll need the support to stick with it.
Find a way to observe the changes in your heart as you withdraw from media. You’ll discover a greater level of peace and an ability to be more discerning about the world around you. Be aware of the changes happening in your heart.
As we come out of the fast it would be wise to put ongoing parameters how you consume media and what media you will consume. Media can be a great tool but it is also something that we can become subject to.
I am looking forward to enjoying this time with you!