Starts With The Heart

Five and three fourths of a day later, I am back!

   After a relaxing but difficult five day social media fast, I grew so much in my relationship with the Lord. He gave me the strength to work on overcoming the social media and technology addictions in my life, reprioritizing and placing my overindulgence of my time on Facebook down the list of my top priorities.

   This isn't the first time I've done such a fast, but it's been a while, and oh, how much it was needed! My Quiet Time in God's Word had been getting put off until the last minute, I wasn't getting anything accomplished, and my eyes were constantly glued to the screen of a cell phone and/or laptop when they could be fixed on the people God has placed around me.

   I have been reading in "True Woman 201: Interior Design" by Mary A. Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss throughout this summer, and after spending a week on the trait of self discipline and how to cultivate this quality in my life, I was convicted. I knew I had been spending an excessive amount of time on social media and that it was time to reprioritize, so I decided to take a fast from it all.

   And how glad I am that I followed the Lord's instruction! The fast refreshed my soul and helped me learn how to spend my time wisely. I was able to spend more time in the Word of God, help around the house, clean, and even spend more quality time with the people around me. It was such an amazing experience. In fact, after two days of the fast, I decided to completely get rid of my laptop for the rest of the five days, as well as my cell phone for the last day or two. It was definitely a struggle, but it was such a refreshing and motivating period without the pressure of constantly attending to technology and social media.

Most of all, God spoke to me again and again throughout the fast. In a period of 24 hours, He spoke to me THREE times in three different sources with the same passage of Scripture:

 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Matthew 23:25-28

   Throughout the five days, I was able to complete the next 5 day section of True Woman 201 in the full five days, which was a first time experience! This section was on Virtue and Purity. Jesus' words to the teachers of the law and Pharisees spoke to my heart and convicted my soul. It reminded me that, even though I may do things that appear godly, does my heart reflect that I really am? While my Facebook posts or behavior in front of others might point to my faith, is it really starting at the heart? Because once my heart is purified, and is truly fixed on faith in Jesus Christ, outside behavior will follow. How awful it would be to have a heart like a whitewashed tomb!

   That night, this concept was engraved into my thoughts. And to my surprise, the following morning, the SAME passage of Scripture was brought up at church! Not only that, I was reading "Jesus > Religion" by Jefferson Bethke that afternoon, and yet again, the same concept was discussed.

    By the end of the fast, I decided that I wanted every act, every movement, every word I say, to be a reflection of my heart. If my heart is not in the right place, even if the behavior is essentially "good", then my intentions will be in the wrong. We can live this life for Christ, or we can live this life for ourselves. Is your heart set on the ways of Christ, or is it rooted up in selfish ambition? Even good behavior can be done for the purpose of bringing glory to self.

Lord, purify my heart so that every move I make points to You. Let my heart resemble Yours, not like a whitewashed tomb or a dirty cup. Let my outside behavior result from the inner: a beautiful heart.

I encourage every single person to fast from an addiction or idol in your life. Let God speak with grace and conviction about your weaknesses, and you will grow in love, faith, and inner beauty! 

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