Battle Against Excess – Tune Out!

By on August 27, 2013

I have become a bit of a recluse. The writing ministry started it and I let it happen. I spend tons of time working at home alone. I communicate with people through email, Facebook, and Facetime. I do more “relating” online than I do in real life.

For a while, God has been showing me I need to get out there and purposefully work to build relationships in real life, in real time. And this week’s lesson from “The 7 Experiment” has driven the point home. So, you want to go to lunch?

In Week 5 of “The 7 Experiment,” Jen Hatmaker calls for a fast from media. “Media” includes things like television, social media, gaming, apps, texing, and the Internet. Although the Bible doesn’t specifically address these things, the Bible does speak to the heart of the issue – anything that affects our relationship with God or other people must be addressed.

My Trouble Spots

As I read through the lesson, two things kept coming to my mind. Media excess negatively affects me – and maybe you – in two primary ways:

  1. It wastes huge amounts of time
  2. It hinders real relationships

There are many other ways in which too much – or any of the wrong kind – of media can negatively impact us. Here are a few other ways besides wasting time and harming relationships that media can be detrimental:

  • Desensitize us to sin
  • Transform our thinking to the world’s “wisdom”
  • Skew our understanding of sex, violence, body image, relationships, and more
  • Feed our greed for more stuff

The Big Question

So, how do we live in the world, but protect ourselves from its negative influence? Jesus never said we should sequester ourselves from the world. Instead, He said we are to go out in the world (John 17:15-18), but He prayed for our protection. (See this post for more on how to be “in the world but not of it.”)

Here are a few things we can do for the long haul:

  • Choose our “media” carefully – it’s simply foolish to fill our minds with things that glorify or “neutralize” sin
  • Saturate our mind with God’s Word so we can recognize truth from lies
  • Be a good steward of our time – It’s okay to relax and have fun. But when the amount of time we spend on these things begins to hinder ministry, relationships, service, and responsibility it’s time to reevaluate.
  • Talk through things with your kids – Sit down and show them how the things they watch and listen to seek to shape their thinking and pull them away from God’s truth.
  • Make the most of it- Not everything out there is “bad.” There is some great, wholesome entertainment out there. And it’s wonderful that we can stay connected, so ministry, learn, etc. Let’s just use godly discernment.

My Fast

I have chosen this week’s fast to specifically target my problem areas. Unfortunately, email and specific areas of the Internet are necessary for my work. But there are plenty of unnecessary media outlets where I waste time. Top of the list is Words with Friends. Seriously, I have 14 active games! So, no Words with Friends at all this week. And no other iPhone or Internet games either.

The second thing I will do this week is more action than fast, but I feel this is in the spirit of what we’re doing. I will purposefully plan to spend face-to-face time with people every day this week – someone that doesn’t live in my house. God has already set me up for success because I already had a few things scheduled. But I still have to fill in the holes!

Your Fast

Design your fast this week to hit your trouble spots. Yours won’t look exactly like mine because our areas of weakness are different. For instance, I don’t care for reality TV, but maybe “Real Housewives” has skewed your thinking about materialism and relationships.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Limit or eliminate specific types of media, like TV or Facebook
  2. Spend only one hour a day on any media
  3. Go cold turkey on all media
  4. Declare certain hours of the day as “no media”
  5. Replace social media with face-to-face time!

Good Spiritual Policy

In “The 7 Experiment,” Jen Hatmaker referenced 1 Corinthians 10:23, “everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive.” In context, Paul was talking about whether or not to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols, but the truth principle applies to media. What about your media consumption is “constructive” and what is “destructive?” That’s what I pray God will show us this week.

Let’s talk about this: In your own life, what about your media consumption is “constructive” and what is “destructive?”

 

Originally posted on Kathy Howard.

About Kathy Howard

Kathy Howard calls herself a “confused southerner.” Raised in Louisiana, she moved with her engineer husband around the U.S. and Canada. She says “pop” instead of “Coke” and “you guys” as often as “y’all.” But she’s still a southern girl at heart! Kathy encourages women to live an unshakeable faith by standing firm on our rock-solid God no matter life’s circumstances. Kathy, the author of eight books, including the new daily devotional “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents,” has a Master’s in Christian Education. She is passionate about Bible study and discipleship and loves sharing at women’s events and retreats. Kathy is also a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, Hello Mornings, Arise Daily, and more. Kathy and her “mostly retired” husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, four grandsons, and three dogs – one of them on purpose. She provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org. Kathy also connects with women at Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Battle Against Excess – Tune Out!