“5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:5-12NIV
A fast is not just about denying the flesh. If I just deny my flesh certain types of food for so long, that is not a fast. That would be called a diet. A fast is about taking something that is important to me and removing it from my life for a season, in order to show both God and myself, that He is more important to me. Not only do I remove something that is important, but I use that time, energy, and resources instead to invest in my relationship with God and to hearing Him speak into my life.
In Jesus’ day, the scripture records many people fasting from food, with Jesus being one of them. If He were to call a fast today, my guess is that He would call us to begin to fast from something that has seemingly taken over life these days; television and the internet.
I’ve read recently that Nielsen ratings reported that over 10 years ago, a Detroit newspaper offered 120 families five hundred dollars each, to endure a one month cold turkey fast from television. 93 of the 120 turned down the offer. The other 27 families reported that their lives improved significantly during the month without television (although they reported returning to their viewing habits after the fast was over).
Next week I will begin a 21 day digital fast from something that I use too often to relax and rest my mind. I will be fasting from sitting before the “one-eyed-monster,” my television, and I will be fasting from the internet at home (I do need to be online at my place of employment).
I often watch tv because I am tired from a long day of work and want to rest my mind and body. While I do enjoy my tv shows like Smallville, Heroes (can’t believe they cancelled that show!), and Lost (just started watching that show on Netflix) and I enjoy being up to date with the news, the truth is that I never come away from the television refreshed, rejuvenated, or revitalized. Rather, when I watch tv or surf the web, it actually prevents me from having a meaningful conversation with my wife or kids! It keeps me from making a phone call to the people that the Lord may have put on my heart! It occupies time that I could have spent taking in the Word of God!
While tv and the internet in itself is not evil nor wrong to watch, my fast is about telling Jesus that He is more important to me than my tv and my internet! My fast is to remind me that if Jesus really is more important to me than my tv and the web, then I will spend more time with Him than I will with my tv! After all, Jesus is not satisfied to be only Savior of my soul, He wants to be the redeemer of my time! Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes (many times) I spend much more time watching tv than I spend time trying to hear Jesus speak to me in His word and through my devotions (if you want to learn how to do devotions, PRESS HERE).
What type of digital fast do you need to take? Are you up to the challenge? I asked my J-12 class (5th and 6th graders) yesterday which was more important to them; Jesus or then their video games? They all quickly and loudly yelled out, “JESUS!” I told them “Prove it! Take the challenge and fast from video games and give that time to Jesus.” Starting next week, (I begin my fast on January 17, 2011) it is my turn to prove it too. I will take the challenge to fast from tv and the internet, and to take the time instead to do God’s two greatest commandments, love Him and love others.
It is time to back away from the tv and the computer and take part in real life. It is time to go from Facebook friends to real friends. It is time to re-engage with my Lord, my parents, friends, and family on a personal level. It is time to go from Face-time to face-to-face basis. It is time to nurture my relationship with God in a fresh new, undistracted way.
TO MY J-12 CREW,
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU ABOUT THIS FAST. ARE YOU DOING IT? ARE YOU FASTING FROM SOMETHING ELSE?