Sunday, 29 January 2012

I Will Not Be Mastered By Anything

Hello friends,

It's been a while since I last blogged on here, but I thought this was something that might be interesting to share before I actually start.

As part of my meeting up with Dale Barlow (Kings Church, Oxted) we talk about lots of things around my personal walk with God.

Dale mentors me and encourages me to push myself in different areas, and as a result of a recent conversation we had I've taken up the challenge of spending the next 30 days with an aim to loosening the grip of everything that comes with 'being connected'.

I'm someone that lives pretty much most of my waking moments connected to the internet via emails, social networking sites, reading books, listening to music, watching films/TV, catching up on news - Many of you may be able to relate to this type of lifestyle, which in and of itself isn't wrong!

However of late I've really noticed a shift in my patterns of life and relating with God, spending time worshipping Him, and mostly it's been a negative shift as other things have taken the prominent and pre-eminent place in my life.

Don't get me wrong - I love God, I love His presence, I'm not at all suggesting I'm having a crisis of faith, but I am so aware that unless I take some form of drastic action I could set myself down a path that will ultimately lead to spiritual drift and a loss of the things that are important to me and that I really should be doing all I can to protect and develop my spiritual disciplines.

On Tuesday, 31st January 2012 I'm going to start a 30 day personal technology fast.

Here is a brief list of the plan of action:

  • Going to use a cheap mobile phone without internet access - My iPhone will be relegated to being used solely for groups txts for Church events - This can only be done during office hours.  I will disable it's ability to retrieve and respond to emails too.
  • No use of the internet for personal reasons at any time - Eg, looking up news, youtube, blogging, etc...
  • No personal use of social networking sites at any time - Facebook, Twitter
  • No use of laptop or smartphone outside of work hours - The only time I will be using these is for work activity, during work hours.
  • No retrieving or responding to personal or work related emails on laptop outside of working hours.
My intention during this period is to free up some time and to take my focus away from 'being connected' and to get my focus back completely on God in worship, in prayer, in reflection and in journaling.

At present, when I wake up between 6-7am the very first thing I do is check the news, check my Facebook and Twitter, check my emails - This is a routine that happens daily and can sometimes take up to an hour of my time.

For a while now I've not been happy or content at doing this, but I can't seem to help myself!

My counsel to others would be that they give God their first fruits of the day, but in practice I'm finding I have relegated God from His rightful place in my life and I'm hoping that having a sustained period of reforming this area of my life will have a great impact not only in my personal walk with God but also in helping me focus in on other areas during the week.

Please pray for me as I do this!  Just the thought of doing this brings me out in a cold sweat, but this reaction in itself tells me that it's probably a good reason to do it.

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything."
We have the right to do what we want when we want, but as soon as our freedom to choose actually enslaves us to something then we have to respond with drastic action - We can't allow ourselves as Christians to be mastered by anything other than Christ.

Dale has challenged me to take action, to re-prioritize my life, but not with technology and the internet at the centre, but with Jesus firmly set as the cornerstone upon which the rest of my life is built.

As Mark Driscoll would say:
"I've taken a good thing (being connected), made it a god thing, and now it's a bad thing!"
So if you are someone that would normally see me on Facebook, Twitter or the email please understand that for the next month I'm gonna be avoiding my usual haunts across the internet and will hopefully be found in the courts of the King getting reacquainted with the one that is the Lord of my life.

See you on the other side!