Rebelutionary Challenge

Greetings,

As rebelutionaries, we should always be on the lookout for worthwhile Hard Things to do that glorify God, push us out of our comfort zones, and help us to grow spiritually. Sometimes these Hard Things take the form of dramatic quests, like Zac Sunderland’s circumnavigation of the globe, of massive collaborations, like the Modesty Survey, or of personal challenges, like reading all the way through The Wealth of Nations in four months. But it can also take the form of a lifestyle change that may or may not be permanent. It is a Hard Thing of this last kind that I am going to propose to you. It will be up to you how permanent or transitory it will be, but I pray and hope that it will make a very long, lasting effect on your priorities and your values.

So here is the challenge: to exclude all television, videos not watched with the family, quizzes on Facebook (and similar activities on other places), and video games for one month, while replacing the time that you would otherwise have spent on those things doing worthy, profitable things like reading good quality books (like the Bible, Do Hard Things, or Don’t Waste Your Life), writing articles and/or posts, family time, and prayer.

This will be very hard as most of you are probably already very addicted (= in bondage to a lifestyle) to these things, especially TV and video games. Many of you will not consider it valuable, or necessary, or even good to do this. But I can personally testify that 1) these things are not necessary, and 2) it is best to go without them, if not all the time, then every once in a while for periods of time like fasts. These activities are all superfluous to our lives, schedules, and priorities. And they are also worldly in their very nature and content (not all are, but most are, and the atmosphere of each is congruent with the spirit of the world, not the Spirit of God), and as such we ought to pull away from, if not divorce ourselves utterly from them.

I am sure that most of you are still unconvinced that this sort of change would be a worthwhile or worthy venture. You have probably heard of us extremists that do not have a television in their house at all, and you have probably considered us as crazy and legalistic (read here and here for more thoughts on that). You probably question the exact reasons why I claim that avoiding TV and video games is good (or even necessary in some situations). To start answering that, I’ll ask another, very important, and pertinent question: what is (or should be) your top priority? What governs and rules the courses of your life? What is the most important thing to always focus on? What should we always measure our thoughts, actions, motives, and spent time by? I hope that you all have caught my drift, and have already answered the question: Christ. The health of your relationship with Christ should always be your number one concern. This is unashamedly radical, extremist, and totally fanatical.

Let me introduce you to your soul’s ‘reins.’ This is the part of you from which springs all of your soul’s health and illness. The Old Testament calls it (for the most part) your ‘reins.’ The Greek word for it (it is translated into many different English words) is ‘phroneo.’ This is that part of your heart to which all the rest of your being is hardwired. All of your actions, thoughts, words, motives, priorities, etc. are all controlled and influenced by whatever is on this ‘throne’ of your heart. God designed all of us with this throne, and it was designed for Him to be on it. But we don’t always want God to have the throne of our lives, and God gives us that choice (its called free-will), but there always has to be something there. It could be practically any idol we concoct: any of the ‘little-g’ gods created by man since the beginning to replace God our Creator in our hearts.

We were not designed to live this way; we were designed to have God on our hearts’ thrones. As a result, all kinds of diseases come upon our lives when we choose to deviate from God having His place. Lust, drugs, drunkenness, addictions of all sorts, and, yes, infatuation with TV and video games, are all diseases which afflict our souls from this. If Christ is ruling your heart, then you won’t be able to have these diseases. Sanctification is actually, by definition, the placing of Christ on the throne of your heart.

So, to sum it all up, you shouldn’t have time to play video games! Our lifestyles ought to be geared to keep our lives under God’s control. True, there are many video games and TV shows that it is possible receive some benefit from, but we ought to prefer to spend our time doing things in our recreation that have more return value. At least every once in a while. There are tons of things that are totally fun to do, and which are thousands of times more edifying to us and to those around us than any computer game or TV show out there. And edifying is the most important thing in the world to be doing. So the question is not “Why not watch TV?” it is “Why watch TV at all?”

There probably are several of you who are already doing these things as a lifestyle. If those of you who are already doing this would take the time to encourage and support those brave rebelutionaries who take the challenge, I would be very grateful. There is no set starting time, and there is no set ending time: it is up to each of you and your own families how and when you go about this. Please post questions, ideas, inspirations, and progress as you go. Also feel free to discuss what you have learned or are learning from this lifestyle.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

19 Responses

  1. Thank you for this, you’ve put into words what I’ve been feeling and trying to be doing over the past several months.

    Again Thank you.
    Jackson

    • Jackson,

      You are welcome. This is something that I feel passionate about, and I am glad that this challenge is helping others see the value in dedicating our limited treasure hoard of time to God. Thank you!

  2. I am definitely doing this! Lately, I have found myself wasting a lot of time, and totally unmotivated in my personal devotions, and this is exactly why! I’m filling my life with pointless things and leaving no room for God! For the next month, I’m only going to watch videos with my “family” (since I’m at camp this month, that means the family that I’m rooming with) and I won’t be playing video games, watching TV, or wasting time on the web. We’ll see if I ever want to go back after that… :) Keep up the good work, Jay! Thanks for this encouraging and challenging article. I’d strongly encourage everyone to take on this challenge.

    • Reuel,

      As Reformer’s Unanimous says: “Those who do not love the Lord will not help us to serve the Lord.” This is so very true, and when implemented makes a massive difference in your spiritual life. Another thought came to me as I read your comment. It came from Proverbs 4:23…

      Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

      The source of your life is your heart, and that means that to change your life in any lasting way you must change your heart. This is why God said in Joel 2:13: “…rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” Your heart’s desires and the things that are on the throne of your heart are practically manifested in your priorities. So in essence to change your life, you change your priorities. Does that make sense?

    • It does indeed. This is a difficult challenge, but it is so important. I’ve been thinking on Proverbs 20:4 – “A sluggard does not plow in season, so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.” This is so true of our spiritual harvest as well! If we will not work with diligence at guarding our hearts and minds, our harvest will be corrupt, but if we put aside our laziness and work at planting seeds of righteousness, we will produce fruit! Please pray for me, as I am having difficulty really applying this challenge… it’s amazing how attached I am to my pointless pasttimes! But if the amount of resistance that I met as soon as I accepted the challenge is any hint, I think that this is an important step toward holiness! :)

    • Timothy,

      That is a very pertinent passage, and one that gives great encouragement for perseverance. Something that you seem to have found already, and which it does much good to bear in mind, is that spending time is always an investment: you are always planting seeds that you will harvest: you need to ensure that you are planting Godly seed and not tares in your own field.

      It is always when you try to avoid something that you find out how much you are attached to it. You might not think much of food while you are eating something you are indifferent to, but fast for a while and you will find how important food is to you. The key is gratefulness: focus on what you have (and the repositories of God’s blessings that He has already showered on you are unsearchable), and it will be so much easier to forget what you have not. The grass is only greener on the other side of the fence when you are looking over the fence, not at what you have. Does that make sense?

      I will be praying that God will show you His glory and worth, and that you will be filled with peace that transcends need (in other words, contentment with God).

  3. Jay,

    Many of our friends thought it strange when my wife and I chose not to purchase a TV after our marriage.

    We never looked back, and now its been twenty years of closeness, productivity, and growing faith.

    So I applaud your decision and resolve in these areas.

    -Robert

    • Robert (I hope you do not mind me calling you that… I could call you Sir Treskillard if you wish :) ),

      My parents made the exact same decision, and I am eternally grateful for that. My parents have been married for about twenty years as well! Thank you for your encouragement!

      With joy and peace in Christ,
      Sir Emeth Mimetes

  4. Interesting. My family also does not own a TV, and I can honestly say that I rarely waste my time doing the things you mentioned. I actually hate such things (I hate with a passion TV, rarely play any sort of computer game including solatair – that is what you do while you’re waiting for something important to load, and you can’t go anywhere…, and we don’t have any video games xbox, etc.)

    I don’t mention that to sound like I’m bragging, quite the contary. But I would like to encourage anyone out there who might feel like this is just a bit over the top that there are much better ways to spend your life.

    I too have time drains, my biggest ones probably being too many social emails, and * cough * IM’ing.

    “Teach us to number our days…”

  5. I second Felicity… our family also does not have a TV, and we feel that we are much better of as a result. It helps keep the family close, allows less bad influence into the house, and frees up time, among other things.

    Definitely a great challenge– I am glad that some have aleady said that they will be doing this! I would encourage any of you who are thinking about it to jump in and try it. It will change your life!

    Carissa

    • “…and frees up time…” Amen! What is humorous is that people complain “What would we do all day? How would we keep from being bored?!” I do not see how they have time to watch it! Being bored is the least of your worries if you are truly seeking to do Hard Things and glorify God with your time. My parents always said that Bored=Lazy, and I believe that they are right. Anyways, that was just some extra thoughts that the esteemed Duchess sparked by her comment. ;)

  6. Sir Emeth,

    Well put. :) Our family happens to agree. (surprising, I know.)

    Have you thought of putting this on the Rebelution forums? That might be a good way to get more poeple involved. Just an idea…

    God bless,

    Carissa

  7. Sir Emeth,

    Oh, good. I thought you might have been planning to put it up, but I haven’t been in the “living room” for awhile, so I didn’t see it.

    I’ll let you know if I think of anything…

    Duchess Daisy

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  9. This was a very good post, thankyou very much. :) My family has a tv, although we rarely watch any programs. We watch once a day, at night time when we are all together and watch something light and encouraging, (for example, we are currently watching the “Little House on the Prairie” series. :) )

    We don’t own any video games, and computer games hold little interest for me. My biggest issue is time spent on the internet. Even though it is often constructive, e.g. Holy Worlds, NaNoWriMo, or writing, I find I spend more time chatting to people than is considered healthy. I plan to cut down on my internet time and boost my time reading my Bible and good Christian reading. This will be hard for me to put into practise, but nothing worthwhile comes easy!

    Thankyou again, for your post. :D

    • I am glad you classify Holy Worlds as constructive! :)

      Yes, chatting can be a time-hog. I find that I have to really consider the benefit I am getting out of each chat. I would not be able to do anything that I do without it, and it is the prime method that I use for keeping in touch with people and making friends, which is good, but like any form of communication, one must strive to maintain its beneficial status. :)

  10. Holy Worlds is highly constructive, and also addicting, hence the challenge. You’ve made it just too good, Emeth! :D

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