Matthew 6:16 – Reflections on a Facebook Fast
Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:16-18, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
It occurred to me just a few days after I had begun my Lenten Facebook fast that I had blatantly and totally missed the mark on this teaching from my Master. For those of you who are not Facebook “friends,” the above picture is the one I posted for my profile pic the day before I announced my FB fast to the entire FB universe, which meant this is the picture that represented me throughout the fast. I even commented that this picture represented how I felt about the whole thing. This has really been a painful reminder to me today of how immature I really am, and how much I need to grow in Christlikeness.
Given this inauspicious beginning and the fact that I have already announced the whole thing throughout cyberspace, here are a few reflections gained from the past few weeks that you might as well benefit from, as well:
1. Apparently the “official rules” of Lenten fasting include some kind of Sunday loophole for the duration. My Catholic friends insist this is legitimate and purposeful. Maybe that works for many folks, and I am in no place to call them or the Church of Rome into question on this issue. However, I knew how God had moved in my spirit regarding this FB issue, and this was no season for periodic indulgences. There are certainly other areas and seasons in my life where I have taken indulgences of various kinds, but it was clear to me this was not the time to do so.
2. While my resolve to avoid sanctioned indulgences on Sundays held strong throughout Lent, my wayward sinful heart found other ways to indulge. Namely, by going on frequent carb-binges in the kitchen at night. I’ll get to the update on my “Biggest Loser” experience soon enough. Suffice it to say, abstaining from Facebook was not good for my waistline. This serves as a painful eye-opener of deeper spiritual struggles at play.
3. Man, I had been spending WAY too much time on FB! I was amazed how much time I got back when I stopped giving it away to FB. I spent more time reading God’s Word, talking with my wife, playing with our son, praying, and practicing my guitar, along with getting more work done at the office.
And now, I see it is time for me to move on to something else. More reflections are on the way in the next day or so.
To be continued…