By: Cody Phillips
I need to come right out and say it. I’ve failed. I watched Netflix last night.
Now, before the eye-rolling starts I need to get something out there. The church I attend has challenged the church body to fast something in the month of February. As for me, being a working-single-24-year-old, Netflix and I have become nearly inseparable. I know what some of you are thinking, “Seriously Cody? People in the church are giving up food for an entire month.” But for real, I know someone that is only drinking water and juice this month.
When we think of fasting, we usually do jump straight to giving up food, caffeine, coke, sweets. More often than not, it becomes a diet and not a fast. The purpose of a fast is to demonstrate the death to my flesh and feeding a spiritual hunger for God. It is for those not satisfied with the status quo. For those who want more of God’s grace. For those who feel particularly desperate for God. Don Whitney captures it like this: “Fasting can be an expression of finding your greatest pleasure and enjoyment in life from God” (Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines, 176). And he quotes a helpful phrase from Matthew Henry, who says that fasting serves to “put an edge upon devout affections.”(160).
But why Netflix?
As embarrassing as it is to admit, it’s what I feed off the most. What started off as a healthy, “I’m going to watch an episode or two and just rest…” has turned into Saturday afternoon lying in bed, clicking the “judgmental” pop-up that is questioning if I’m really still watching this show, to groaning when I have to roll over and grab the charger for the third time.
What was once intended for good I have corrupted. Once intended for rest has now become slothfulness.
We hardly ever think of sloth being an actual “deadly sin”. I realized that in need to fast Netflix because I caught myself saying a nasty phrase: “I just need to go lie down and watch Netflix all night”
I need to do that? If that is my source of peace and rest, then I'm doing this whole Christian thing wrong. I'm not keeping first things first. I'm giving into my desire of comfort at the expense of my desire for God. Sloth is a sin of desire, a craving for comfort. When we starve our flesh we begin to realize what we have actually been feeding. In my moments of vulnerability, exhaustion, and boredom; I gave into comfort and sloth. Instead, let us give into the Comforter and our Resting Place.
Cody Phillips is a church goer, coffee addict, inappeasable learner and an unending “The Office” and “Seinfeld” reference machine. He’s on staff at Oklahoma Youth Ministries and is the host to the Century Leadership Podcast (found on iTunes). Cody is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and is currently working on his Master’s from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
// Twitter: @cody_d_phillips