Each family is unique and made for a purpose. At Clear View Retreat, we celebrate those distinct purposes and hope to illuminate God’s relationship principles to deepen family discipleship and biblical community. Thank you for joining us this week for our radio devotion the ‘Five Minute Family.’
How has your week progressed as you have been intentional with your loved ones? Please jump onto our website clearviewretreat.org and share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Two weeks ago we touched on making a digital connection with your family members. Still thinking along the lines of digital, this week we want to inspire you to think about the biblical concept of fasting… yes, that’s right, fasting from your digital devices. Now, why would we encourage digital connection one week and digital fasting so soon after? Simple… Balance.
But, first, a quick glimpse at biblical fasting. As David Mathis at DesiringGod.org states, “Fasting is voluntarily going without food — or any other regularly enjoyed, good gift from God — for the sake of some spiritual purpose.” That is why, in this age of ‘all things digital’ we need to make sure that we are keeping our focus on God at all times. So, we balance digital connection with digital fasting in order to make sure that God is preeminent in our lives.
At one point in our family’s past, we would fast from all things electronic for the whole month of February, with one family movie a week. One of our sons was so resistant to the concept one year that he sat on our big recliner chair every free moment. I would suggest he go play or work on a fun project or create a song or read a book or, well, you get the picture. No matter what I said, he would just sit there and say, “I want to play xbox.” For 28 days he sat on that chair.
Now, it might seem like our digital fast failed because one of our children was so resistant to it, but it didn’t. As parents and spouses, setting the example for our loved ones and following God’s example is never a failure, even if we don’t see fruit for years or we learn lessons on how to do it better the next time. In the years prior, it had been easier to guide them away from the screens in the house. While many of us had spent more time in God’s Word and enjoyed games we hadn’t played in a while, we learned that we should have planned some strategic and intentional events that would have brought our family better focus on the Lord and His purpose of fasting rather than just ‘not being on screens.’
In different examples of fasting in Scripture, we see different purposes for fasting. Acts 14:23 illustrates fasting to seek God’s wisdom. In Ezra, God’s people are seeking deliverance or protection. In Jonah, the people of Nineveh fasted to repent and ask God to save them. When the Israelites in Judges 20 needed help to gain victory over their enemies, they fasted first. Being devoted to God means putting into practice those disciplines He expects of us.
Often, if fasting is not already a practice of ours, it can seem overwhelming at first. So, just as experts suggest folks start small with a food fast, we suggest you start small with a digital fast, especially if your family has a large digital footprint. Twenty-eight days at that time in our lives wasn’t a big deal because our children were younger, and we were not tied to things like smart phones. Now, twenty-eight days would seem isolating for our kids who keep in contact with some good friends via their online games and, honestly, quite difficult for us.
So, how do we break down the concept of a digital fast for a ‘Five Minute Family’? Obviously, you will need to invest more than five minutes for the fast to actually be a fast. Maybe you can take five hours of your typically “prime time” digital footprint. The next time, maybe, you take five hours of prime digital time for five straight days. Perhaps, for your family’s needs, you choose one day a week for five weeks to set aside to seek God’s plan for you. Whatever method you choose, pray about your purpose and have a plan for what you can do together.
Thank you for listening today. Please visit us online at clearviewretreat.org for more information. We at CVR pray that you will know hope, feel his greatness, and experience the power of our almighty God. Have a blessed and beautiful day as you seek to glorify God by loving your family.
First heard on WECO Radio AM 940 FM 95.5