Nielsen has calculated that each week the average American consumes about 40 hours of combined TV and online content. That is the equivalent of a 9-5 work week! For too many people, media consumption is being used like a drug to medicate our sense of isolation and lack of purpose. The Social Skinny reported last month that 50% of 18-24 year olds go on Facebook as soon as they wake up. The irony of addiction is not that it makes us feel bad while we are indulging ourselves, but that it deceptively makes us feel good without providing any lasting value.
In lieu of writing a resolution this year, I propose something more. How about we join forces to make a change that will have an impact far beyond the next 12-months? How would you feel about entering 2014 as a revolutionary?
I was asked by the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at our church to title and teach a Bible study for ladies a couple of years ago. Driving along I-77 one morning, I began to think of all the distractions we gals face daily. My mind turned to the pull of social media: Twitter, Google+, My Space, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. All potential traps to distract us from studying the truth of God’s Word. I decided on a title for our study:
The goal would be to challenge participants to prioritize time every day in God’s transforming Word rather than looking to escape into status updates that do nothing but tempt us to conform to a culture of comparison, consumerism, and lack of contentment.
We bear the fruit of our focus. Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night.” When we take time to discipline ourselves and delight in the Word of God, obeying what He says, there is victory. Psalm 1:3 describes the one choosing to face the Book as being “…like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” What better revolution could we ignite in 2014 than to be fruitful and faithful as we face the Book together a few minutes each day?
I challenge you — and commit myself — to these simple steps: (1) Devote the first part of our day focusing on God’s Word; (2) Decrease the amount of time spent in front of all screens, whether computer monitor, handheld device or television; and (3) Develop a friendship with someone willing to hold me accountable to my objectives. Simple steps, with the potential for an eternal impact.
Happy New Year!