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,