Yesterday I finished a one-month Facebook fast. At the beginning of July, I challenged myself to give up scrolling my News Feed for the whole month. Until then I’d never fasted from social media before, because I’ve always believed, and still do believe, that wasting time on social media is a heart issue that can’t be fixed by simply avoiding my News Feed. I’ve always justified this mindless activity, declaring that a fast from Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet would only cause me to replace one time-wasting activity for another. If it’s not Facebook that’s got my attention, it’s going to be something else. And if it’s going to be something else, then what’s the point in trying?
Now, before I go any further let me say that I don’t believe Facebook is evil; it can be a good and helpful tool, but our idol-factory hearts tend to create idols out of even good and helpful things. And I was making excuses for my idol so I could continue wasting time scrolling through my News Feed. It may sound silly, but I now realize that social media had power over me. I hardly ever sat with my eyes closed, lost in my thoughts or pondering life; I rarely stared out the window, praising God for allowing me to live another day; I wasn’t spending enough time in prayer, pleading with God to save the souls of the lost; sometimes I didn’t look at my husband as he tried to talk to me, expressing his concerns or telling me about his day; and, too often, I didn’t even watch my son play in the backyard, laughing as he dug in the dirt or ran through the grass. Instead, my eyes were glued to the little rectangular object in my hand as life passed me by. No, I wasn’t on my phone every second of every day, but it had gotten to the point that I picked up my phone and checked it often, usually without even thinking about what I was doing. To put it plainly: it had become a nasty, sinful, idolatrous habit.
So, there I was, asking God to change my heart, to make me not want to get on Facebook anymore, or to give me self-control so I wouldn’t spend so much time on social media. But in the meantime, what was I doing? Spending my free time on social media. Ridiculous, I know. Something had to give.
In June, the ladies at church began reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. He writes about putting sin to death, one sin at a time. He says, “Though mortification must be done by the strength and under the direction of the Holy Spirit, it is nevertheless a work which we must do” [emphasis added]. After all, Colossians 3:5 tells us to “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.” Putting sin to death, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is my responsibility! In Christ, believers possess the power to mortify sin. We must act. We must obey. We must put sin to death. It is a conscious choice; one that we must make every day. “We must believe that the pursuit of holiness is worth the effort and pain required to mortify the misdeeds of the body.”
Jay Adams says, “You may have sought and tried to obtain instant godliness. There is no such thing… We want somebody to give us three easy steps to godliness, and we’ll take them next Friday and be godly. The trouble is, godliness doesn’t come that way.”  Growing in holiness requires hard work and determination. Too often “we hesitate to face up to God’s standard of holiness in a specific area of life. We know that to do so will require obedience that we are unwilling to give.” And obedience to God doesn’t always mean we should do more, sometimes it means we should do less or stop doing something altogether. After all, growing in holiness requires breaking one destructive habit, abandoning one sinful act, blocking out one unholy thought. One step at a time. A friend of mine often says, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” And something needed to change!
So, in an attempt to put sin to death one step at a time, I fasted from my Facebook News Feed for one month. Once I finally made up my mind to do it, it was easy and so refreshing. I realized just how empty an overdose of social media makes me feel. To be honest, I didn’t miss it at all, and I now have a new plan to limit myself so I don’t overindulge in social media anymore. Getting off Facebook is just one way I could keep myself from sin, and we should do everything we can to keep ourselves from sin! Even if we replace an idol with something else, as we most likely will, we need to keep moving, to keep growing, overcoming one idol after another. After all, failing doesn’t make you a failure, it just means you have to get back up, brush the dust off your hands, and focus your eyes back on Christ. One step at a time.
“Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.”
 Bridges, Jerry. The Pursuit of Holiness. NavPress; New edition (January 31, 2006), p. 66.
 Adams, Jay E. Godliness through Discipline. P&R Press (1999), p. 3.
 Bridges., p. 66.