Facebook is highly addictive and distracting. It accounts for a large percentage of unproductive behavior found in the workplace. In addition, it is also a distraction to many Christians and becomes an idol in their lives; stealing time, which ought to be spent with God.
Due to the addictive nature of social media, especially Facebook, I usually do a social media fast once a year. Recently, in 2017, I developed the habit of limiting or turning off all notifications from these sites.
Notifications tend to call your attention, willing and unwilling, to the applications on your phone. Therefore, you become programmed by an app and not the other way around. Since I implemented this practice, I find that I take up my phone less and the urge to scroll through my social media pages like a zombie, is ultimately eliminated.
Sin of Idolatry
In the modern era, social media is an idol; that is, anything that takes away your focus and time with God. Jehovah already stipulated in the 10 commandments that ‘thou shall have no other God besides me’. Idolatry is a serious offense and has gotten Israel in trouble with God on too many occasions, as we see outlined in the bible.
This is why it is important for us, as children of God, to make a purposeful attempt to rid out lives of any distractions that affects our relationship with the Holy Spirit. This means many other things, even beyond your phone, electronic gadgets or television. Remember, work can become an idol too or the people whom you have a relationship with. So no, being a workaholic is not a good thing. There is something called ‘work life balance’; look it up.
Good Media Practices
I have written about my TV show fasting and Facebook fasting in the past. Last month, I did the former for a few days. These sacrifices have changed my behaviour and choices for the better. For example:
I don’t watch television; I choose which shows I watch and do so via my computer. This helps me to not be programmed by adverts or other supplementary programming.
I don’t watch many popular un-Christian shows, as I did before.
I don’t have a lot of vile, immoral or sexually explicit content in my Facebook feed, because for several years, I have unfollowed anyone who posts such content; even unfriended the more putrid offenders, because guess what? They are not my friends anyway. Facebook also now has a snooze option that removes the person’s postings from your feed for 30 days.
Also, I tend to only like content that I would like to see more often. Because of the myriad of Facebook algorithms, your future content is decided by what you watch and like or react to most.
Facebook affects both your conscious and subconscious mind. It provides instant gratification, so you find yourself posting everything; from a half eaten meal, bedroom shots, bed pics, private moments with spouses or even your location. All unwise and not for public consumption. You also lose the ability to understand what is appropriate, public content. Therefore, I now mostly post Christian related material or anything associated with me being an author.
Finally, I make limited number of personal posts in any given day on any social media platform.
Committing to a fast can be difficult to accomplish. That is why you need the Holy Spirit’s help every step of the way. It is actually He who reminds me of these practices or commitments every year.
The Benefits of Fasting
Apart from having more quality time to be with God and to be aware of God; you have time to focus on other important tasks.
You have time to focus on people. You escape the zombie culture.
Think about this. Have you ever been in a public setting like a restaurant, train, bus or meeting and rather than interacting with each other, people are faced down into their electronic devices? It is a sad state to be in and the primary reason for antisocial behaviour today.
Less addiction forces us, as social beings to be social with real people in real time in the real world and not live stuck in a virtual reality.
Depriving the physical man of these pleasures, allows you to focus on other things that develop your spiritual man. That means reading your bible more, doing in-depth studies, researching to write a book, writing that book, attending and paying attention in church or any other number of Christ centered practices.
You escape the influence of mass media content that has been ‘programmed’ or created to influence your decisions.
Another benefit is that you notice the differences between yourself and others.
I have noticed how television content has become more depraved, immoral and blatant in the last ten years. I am shocked when I see curse words allowed in general online content as headlines and that which can be easily consumed or accessed by young kids.
I notice how idiotic and meaningless song lyrics are today. I notice how gospel and Christian music are actually more secular and many have nothing to do with worshipping God. Many are flesh-ly and only serve the purpose of gratifying the person or selling records or showing off vocal range.
Ok, so I have mentioned a lot of pointers in this article on how to do Facebook fasting or a general social media fast, but let me itemize them here.
- Choose a set time (1 week, 1 month)
- Choose a time you can successfully manage
- Turn off social media notifications
- Delete applications if necessary
- If needed, be accountable to someone. Telling a friend, who is more mature and Christian minded will help you stick to your fast.
- Read your bible more
- Download a bible app
- Do or go to bible study
- Join a ministry team to help occupy your time
- When your fasting period expires, leave notifications off. Have set periods when you check your messages.
- Unfollow/Unfriend/Snooze people who post unsuitable content
- Don’t use your phone when you are required to engage with others
As time progresses it will get easier. Breaking addictions- drugs, alcohol, porn, smoking, internet- can be difficult.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and stick to your plans. Consuming more of God’s word, praying and meditation will help to transform and repair your mind.
Copyright © 2018 · All Rights Reserved · Denise N. Fyffe