1.25.2010

Day 20

http://episode100.org/wp-content/uploads/escher_day_night.jpg

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.

Excelsior!

8 comments:

  1. Good plan! Thanks for sharing the journey.

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  2. Very insightful. I like the picture you posted too :) I used to love analyzing Escher prints; they fascinate me.

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  3. That's awesome... I may try something like that sometime.

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  4. It's amazing how we truly see our spiritual state when we have no excuses. When we have all the time in the world and every opportunity, who will we choose? It takes discipline, but most of all, seeking God and loving Him for who He is. The love that allures us to His heart.

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  5. Oh Joel. I'm so glad I am related to you!! You think about the most interesting things! I've been working in Luke 11 too! Fascinating brain food! Since I am a recovering Pharisee, I've been hanging around in verses 37-52 --deep stuff ! But you keep on in the area of YOUR needs and interests !! Jesus was just like a little boy !! He didn't wash his hands before he ate!!
    from One Keenager otherwise known as Grammie

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  6. Thank you for this post, Joel. I am going through an experience of fasting right now and desire desperately to fill the massive void with a feast-- that is, Jesus. I really appreciate your insights, I need to be more watchful and prayerful than ever about what fills my time. Also, I enjoyed your participation in our Sabbath school a few weeks ago when you were visiting. God bless you, and I admire your commitment to ridding your life of that which is not the best.
    Adriana [Lombard]

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  7. Truly a profound lesson to learn. The enemy is most desperate in his determination to prevent the Word of God from doing its transforming work in our lives. He wants us to be "disciples" in pretense only.

    Thanks for sharing that insight.

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  8. Wow, glad so many of you could get a blessing! I'm encouraged that you're encouraged :) Let's keep encouraging each other!

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