Unnecessary - Joel's Necessity Network... Part 2

To understand this blog, you'll need to be familiar with Joel's Necessity Network Part 1. In brief, I posited that only three things were absolutely necessary in life:

  • A saving, love relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Bringing others into a saving, love relationship with Jesus
  • Wisely managing the resources God has given us to fulfill our commission in Necessary #2

Now for Part 2...

Notice what is lacking from the list. It is not necessary to have a good time. It is not necessary to be comfortable, or even safe. It is not necessary to have the approval of your family or friends. It is not necessary to save the environment, or to make the world a better place.

Let me be very clear. These things are not bad or sinful in themselves; they are simply not of primary importance. If you were in the military and your commanding officer commissioned you to carry a message to another unit, would that mean that you shouldn't grab your boots, or eat supper, or shine the buttons on your coat? No, it just means that these activities are not your top priority. Your job is to carry out your mission effectively and efficiently.

Do you understand my point? I'm not bashing environmentalism, or humanitarianism, or activism, or consensus, or safety, or fun. I'm simply pointing out that as Christians, our first, last, and overarching priority should be Christ and His Kingdom.

Don't try to excuse my point by bringing up Augustine and his idea about how the City of God is dependent on the City of Man. Yes, I appreciate our civic structures, yes, I believe we should vote, yes, the environment is important, yes, the situation in Darfur/Afghanistan/Somalia/Sri Lanka/Haiti is something we should be concerned about, BUT. . . Ultimately, primarily, we have something much more precious and important to offer -- Living Water, the Bread of Life, Overcoming Peace, Eternal Joy, Everlasting Life.

Love your neighbor as yourself, feed the hungry, defend the widows and orphans, help the poor, heal the sick, but do this with the knowledge of the End and a mission of leading others to Christ.

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness"



Day 20


I'm halfway now, and I have some reflections.

First, a confession: I've gone over my allotted two hours per week twice now. However, the good news is my online time has been drastically reduced, and the quality of my online activity is a great deal higher than it was before. Limiting oneself to the bare minimum is an extremely effective way of sifting one's priorities. So while I'm somewhat ashamed to admit my lack of abstemiousness, I am buoyed by the overall result.

Second, I've learned a profound lesson. It seems to be impossible to fast from one thing without feasting on another. Stated in another way, nature abhors a vacuum. Jesus conveyed something similar in a story He told in Luke 11:24-26. “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” (NIV) In my situation, when I decided to cut Internet time out of my schedule, I didn't realize the importance of finding wholesome things to replace it with. As a result, I left myself vulnerable to temptations to fill my new found time with activities equally bereft of value. I conquered Need for Speed: Carbon. I read some pointless books. I found things to do that were really no better than what I was trying to escape.

Now that I understand this, it seems so obvious. What is the point of fasting? To remove obstacles, to clear up the lines of communication, to refocus. If we remove those obstacles, clear up space for communication and take steps to refocus without clearly defining our destination, target, and the object of our focus, we will inevitably miss the mark. Even worse, fasting still facilitates a connection, and if it's not with Jesus, then . . .

With this in mind, I propose to complete my initial proposal. I'm still going to limit non-school/work/devotional internet use to two hours a week until February 14. But I am also going to add another component: feasting. I purpose to match my decreased internet use with an increase in Scripture reading. I want to get closer to my Maker and to have a clearer understanding of His will, and as my favorite text reminds me, this requires not only abstaining from conformation with the world, but also transformation through the renewing of my mind.



Free Audits for SAU Students!


You all get one FREE audit every semester! That class you always wanted to take but couldn't justify because it was out of your major? You can now audit (take for no credit) it at no extra cost. Previously this privilege was limited to faculty and staff and Southern Scholars, but this semester they've opened it up to everyone. The school isn't making a big deal about it, but it is definitely in effect :)



Update on My Internet Moderation Policy


It's tough.

I cut a few corners, (like writing this blog--I'm not adding it to the two minutes I have left this week :P), but on the whole, I stuck with the plan, and it has been really nice. I added one more site to my exceptions list: www.bibledoc.org. Check it out some time:)



The Web


The Internet is sucking up way too much of my time. My neuro-pathways need some drastic rerouting. So, I am going to start an internet fast. For the next 40 days, I'm going to limit my internet use to directly class-related activity, blueletterbible.org, and two hours a week for email/news/blogs. I'll let you know how things work out.