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Pastor Chris Paavola:
Once again, everybody, good morning. My name’s Chris Paavola. I’m the senior pastor here at St. Mark. And oh, my goodness, that coffee was delicious this morning. Holy cow. So, if you’re wondering why people around you are so excited about coffee, it’s not just because coffee is amazing, it’s because we just got done with a beverage fast, a six-day beverage fast where I challenged everybody as a part of this series that we’re in called Soul Detox.

We’re refining freedom from a toxic world and we’re looking at different areas of our life that contribute towards that kind of toxicity. We said, “Okay, this week, we’re going to do a beverage fast.” And so, we said, “No beverages except water all week.” And we told you, “Okay, you can customize this. You can do one day, you can do three days, you can do six days. You can do a particular beverage, whatever it might be for you.”

I told everyone I was going hardcore and I did all six days, nothing but water. And man, oh man, that was wild. Some of you all kind of followed suit and you got the bug or something, man. And in some households, you had a competition. I heard about one household having a competition where they put money in every day and then the first person to break wouldn’t win, and the person that was the last person to break would get the pot.

And I was like, “Wow, that’s one way to do this.” And then, in another house, the Sandell house, they wanted to be more encouraging. So, it wasn’t like a competition, it was encouragement. And so, the daughter put a warning label over the coffee pot, “Water, dad.” And then, the dad, he’s following too. He’s like, “Well, hey, you can’t have cereal.” So, he said, “Water, Ellie” over the jug of milk there.

And it’s just good to see them encouraging each other. And then, this morning, they were brandishing huge mugs of coffee this morning. They were very, very excited. So, thank you, guys, but you’re done. Okay. You can now have whatever beverage you want. You don’t have to hide it from me anymore. Congratulations on those of you guys. But we also did this as we were going to be reciting Scripture every time we took a drink of water.

And I got some emails back from people going, “Man, I had no idea, but I’m closer to Jesus or recite, memorize Scripture by doing a beverage fast. Thank you for that.” And in each week of this series, we’ve done a different fast and we’ve examined different habits and then done something proactive in place of it. So, in week one, we looked at our noise habits, the radio fast, the noise pollution we allow into our world, and we just said, “No, we’re going to break from that.”

And then, we use that time to pray and praise. In week two, we talked about a shopping fast. And we looked at our spending habits, and we said, “We’re not going to spend money on these things or ourselves. We’re just going to give,” and we took that money then and gave it away to people in our lives, just showing generosity. Last week was the beverage fast, like we talked about, that looked at our drinking habits.

And then, this week, we’re going to do a brand new fast that looks at our time habits, where we spend the majority of our time. And I could pick on a lot of things, but public enemy number one, the culprit for consuming the most of our time in our world is social media. It is obscene how much time we spend on social media, especially when you consider that 25 years ago, none of this was in place. This is all just recent.

And I don’t know which social media soup du jour for you is your social media of choice, YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook. Looking at this group of people. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, whatever it might be. But you’re likely a user of one of these. And if you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t use social media.” Well, okay, everything I’m about to talk about, don’t be so smug. Don’t do that.

Everything I’m about to talk about applies to media. So, maybe it’s TV for you. Okay? So, just hear everything I’m talking about today and think about TV is probably your big time consumer. The average person watches about three hours of TV a day. It’s nuts. But with social media, it’s worse. Okay? The average teenager spends 4.8 hours a day on social media, 4.8 hours every day.

Girls are a little bit higher, they’re 5.3 hours. Boys are a little bit lower, they’re 4.4, but they kind of balance out 4.8 hours. But adults, don’t suck your teeth at the people around you. Don’t elbow your daughter or anything like that because, guess what, the average American adult spends 2.3, about two and a half hours a day on social media. That’s average.

And I’m looking at this room and I see some very above average people in all areas of life, including your social media use. So, let’s find out how above or below average you are. You can grab your phone. If you have a smartphone, grab your iPhone and you can go to that gear icon for notifications. I’m actually encouraging you to use your phone in church. Okay? Don’t worry about it. Go to that gear icon. It’s like that little gray wheel thing.

And then, if you click on it, scroll down and then click on battery. And then, next to battery, it’ll pull up, and they don’t want to show you, but you can find it. It defaults to percentages which app is using your battery the most. But if you click on, instead of the battery, if you click on the clock icon and then you can check over to the last seven days, it’ll tell you in the last seven days which app you spent the most time on and how many hours you spent on there.

Mom is hiding it from her daughter because she doesn’t want her daughter to see how much time. This is awesome. Okay. Full disclosure, I did this and it showed that I spent 10 hours on Facebook in the last seven days, and I was appalled by that. But don’t judge me. Get on there yourself and look how much time did you spend on these particular apps, and you’re going to see.

You’re laughing at each other. You’re elbowing each other. You’re hiding it from people around you. You don’t want them to see. It is obscene how much time they’re just taking and taking and taking from you. I’m going to let you guys have a moment there. I could see you all looking. But this is, in your defense, in your defense, this is by design. It is not an accident.

There are teams of designers, teams, entire companies who used neuroscience and research from Las Vegas to make it as absolutely as addictive as possible for you. They studied slot machines and made it like a slot machine that fits in your pocket. They wanted it to be as addictive as absolutely possible. Everything from the color of the logo, the design of the logo, the types of fonts they use, where the layout of the app, all of it is designed to be absolutely as addictive as possible.

The alerts, the bell, the ding, the buzz, that’s all by design. They’re playing on your prefrontal cortex, the part of you that is designed for warnings, alerts. This was helpful to our ancestors. There’s an army coming. Ding, ding, the bell would sound. Or that’s a lion, and everyone’s screaming, “We should be alert. That kept us alive.” But now, it’s just a little red icon, and they know what they’re doing.

It’s not a blue icon. It’s not a little green circle. No, it’s a red circle with a number over your text messages. Alert, and this part of our brain is flooded with cortisol. “It might be my house is in fire. Nope, my wife is just telling me to pick up milk on the way home.” And it’s an alert, it’s a notification. “Someone posted something. Oh, it’s just a picture of their cat.”

So, on average, the average person, the average person can reduce the amount of time they spend on social media by 20% if they just turn off the notifications, these things, these stupid push notifications. You don’t need to know that update from ESPN. You do not need to know what’s on sale on Amazon. You don’t need it. So, I want to redeem part of your time.

So, take your phones out again. If you click on that gear icon and you click on the notifications, then it’ll tell you which apps you’ve allowed, which notifications, and it’s banners and push notifications and sounds and badges. Turn it off. You don’t need it. Get on there and turn off the push notifications for Facebook. Turn off the push notifications for Instagram. Turn it off. You don’t need it.

You’re not going to miss anything. Just by doing that simple thing, you will redeem hours of your life and reclaim it back. But then, like we were talking about, it’s not just the design of the app, it’s not just the notifications. Part of the addictive quality of the app is the algorithm that’s involved. The algorithm. And all of these apps have algorithms, formulas designed for your use, your custom use.

And I’ll pick on Facebook here for a second to kind of demonstrate this. Okay. So, Facebook has an algorithm designed to show content. So, let’s say in this room, most people have, I don’t know, like 800,000 friends, something like that on Instagram, Facebook. You’re not going to see all your friends, it’s a thousand of them. So, let’s say this room represents your friends list.

Let’s say this room represents your followers list, kind of a cross section. And then, Christine, let’s have you stand up. Chris, let’s have you stand up. Okay, let’s have you stand up. Stand up. Let’s say you just made a post. Okay. So, go like this with your thumbs. You just made a post. Yeah, pretend you made a post. All right, so let’s say she made a post and you guys are all on her friends list.

Facebook doesn’t just show it to all of you, again, because there’s so much competition for your attention. They don’t just show it to all of you. They pick five of you and they want to model and surveil, surveillance, surveil your behavior. So, go ahead and stand up. Stand up. Willie, stand up. Go ahead and stand up. And Gavin, go ahead and stand up. All right. So, Chris made a post.

Okay. She made a post. She used her thumbs, and Facebook showed it to the five of you because you guys are her friends, you’re her family. You live in the same city. You’re the same age, demographic or something like that. They’re just taking a best guess. And they show you her post about cats. I don’t know why I’m picking on cats so much this morning. Do you have cats? Okay.

Yeah, there you go. She has cat. So, it just shows you her post on cats and you liked it. So, give a thumbs up. And then, you hearted it. Give it a heart. Okay. But you guys didn’t respond. Now Facebook is measuring engagement. They want to keep you on as long as possible. Why? Because that’s how they make money. That’s how they make money. The longer you’re on that app, the more money they make.

It’s a cost per view business model. So, like a billboard, you buy a billboard, it’s on 94. That’s the cost of the billboard. But social media is different. It’s cost per view. So, the longer you’re on the app, the more ads they can show you. And so, if they show 10 ads, they make so much money. But if they show 20 ads, they make even more money. They want to keep you on as long as possible.

So, Chris just made a post, but only two people liked it, or one person liked it, one person hearted it, but that’s not the engagement they’re looking for. They want you to linger and truly be engaged because the longer you’re on there, the more ads they can show you. And so, they decide, after showing it to these five people, well, they’re not going to show that ad to anyone else. Why would they?

No one else is going to interact with it. That’s why when you post a picture of your cats and it gets two likes, that’s why you only get two likes out of it. But let’s say Chris made a post. So, go like that with your thumbs again. Chris made a post and it was her engagement or a new grandbaby or something like that. Well, you, go like this, you’ve commented, go like this.

You’ve commented thumbs, you commented, you go, oh… and Facebook’s like, “Wait, this is a content people that really enjoy and engage with.” So now, it’s going to show it to 10 more people, and it’s called drip sequencing. So, they show it to 10 more people. And then, if they engage, they show it to 10 more people.

This is why you see engagement posts and new baby posts because everyone’s like, “Congratulations, I’m so proud of you guys. Oh, my gosh, you’re beautiful.” That’s engagement. You guys can go ahead and sit down. I’m trying to demonstrate how this works because you need to know what happens. When you hit like on Facebook, you’re not telling your friends you like that content.

No, no, no, no. You’re telling Facebook you like that content. And then, when you comment on something, you’re telling Facebook, “I love this content.” And that starts to work against you with content that’s not healthy. Let’s say Chris just made a really bad angry political post, and then you were like, “How could the other side do that thing?”

Every keystroke is telling Facebook, “Show me more and more content that enrages me.” They don’t care. They don’t care if you enjoy it. They don’t care if you’re enraged. They just care that you’re engaged. That’s it. There’s a movie called Social Dilemma. It’s a documentary. You can watch it on Netflix. It’s all about social media use and stuff like that.

And they have this famous quote that if an app is free, if a platform is free, then you’re the product. It’s not that you’re a consumer of social media, you are consumed by social media. You are. It’s just true. And I’m not saying that social media is all evil. It’s not that you can’t have social media, we just don’t want social media to have you.

And so, you need to be aware that when you interact with it about something negative, you’re telling it, “Show me more things that upset me. Show me more things that enrage me and bring out the worst in me.” And you need to understand that you are on a very slippery slope to a lot of negative traits to social media. So, we’ve already talked about a few of the negative aspects, negative effects of the social media.

Next slide, please. Oh, yeah, social media doesn’t have your best interest in mind. Yeah. Okay, negative effects of social media. The first one we already talked about. Time. Yep, time lost. It’s huge. It’s huge. It’s like you can’t redeem that. I’m angered that I lost 10 hours on Facebook. That’s ridiculous. That’s ridiculous. My wife and I went away on a vacation, just the two of us, and we were so in love.

So, when we went away, we’re like, “Let’s not use social media at all during this trip. No selfies, none of that kind of stuff.” And it was awesome. But at the end of that five days, we got back on social media and we’re logged back on, and we’re like, “I didn’t miss anything.” I didn’t miss anything worthwhile, but it’s consuming so much of our time. So, there you go, time lost.


Another negative effect of social media then is separation. The quintessential picture is a couple on a couch and they’re both on their phones, not talking to each other. It’s ironic that in the age… this app designed for connectivity, we are less connected than ever before. This is the mom at the playground pushing a kid on the swing with one hand and looking at Pinterest on her phone on the other hand.

This is the teenager watching TikTok dance videos in the middle row while dad is driving. There’s no connection there. There’s no connection. And then, on top of time lost and separation, there’s low self-esteem. There’s this weird thing that happens with social media that it actually lowers… so here’s how it happens. Let’s say a couple goes to Cabo on vacation and they’re going to take a selfie.

Because you can’t enjoy a vacation unless you’re taking a picture of it. Hello? And you tell the world about it. So, you’re standing on the beach with your loved one and you’re standing there and you’re going like this. And then, you take the picture and you’re like, “Okay, oh, I don’t like the way my jaw looks. Hang on.” And then, you take another one. Don’t act like you don’t do this.

And then, you take another one and you’re like, “Oh, the lighting is wrong. Hang on.” And so, you take five of these. And then, you finally take one and you’re like, “Okay, that works.” Okay. Then, you crop it. Then, you throw a filter on it because we don’t want to show my blemishes. “Oh, my goodness, I’m out in the sun and sweating. Let’s take it away.”

And so, now, there’s this glow filter and we all look 12 years younger or something like that. And then, we think about what we’re going to say and we make a little pithy quippy comment and we post it. And then, we’re like, “Okay, here we go,” and then you post it. And then, the person sees this beautiful serene picture of you in Cabo with your loved one, and they’re sitting in their sweatpants, haven’t showered in two days eating Cheetos.

“Why can’t I look like that? Why can’t I go on vacation? Why can’t we be that happy?” And it’s this weird effect that social media… you’re looking at Pinterest. “Why can’t I cook like that? Why can’t my home be organized like that?” It lowers our self-esteem and we’re wrought with guilt. And then, there’s this weird validation thing that happens. This is the arms race for teenagers.

They post something and then they’re in a race to see who can get more likes. “Well, I posted something and I got 12 likes, but they posted something and they got 112 likes. Why can’t I be as good-looking as they are? Why can’t I be as popular as they are?” Teenage suicide has risen by 31% since the advent of the iPhone. Come on. It’s obviously doing something to us.

So, there’s time loss, there’s separation, there’s low self-esteem, and then there’s the quarreling. I already touched on this one. So, a while back, there’s a clip of a World War II movie by Quentin Tarantino on YouTube. And I watched it and I noticed a historical inaccuracy. Because World War II junkie, I’m like, “Wait a minute.” And I was commenting. And then, Jackson 7758392 responded, “Hold on a second, that’s not correct.”

And we got a fight about the munition used in World War II. And then, he started calling me names, and I’m like, “What are you? Are you kidding?” And then, we got in this argument. I’m fighting with some random stranger hiding behind this anonymity of a screen name, a generated username or whatever. And I’m like, “What?” And I walked away from the conversation, I’m still thinking about him.

“He’s so wrong. The ammunition was not… the Nazis used it as German.” And I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” And I’m like, “What is happening to me right now?” My adrenaline is rushing, my blood pressure is raised, my cortisol was released and all of that stuff over a complete stranger on some innocuous corner of the internet. This is people like “Err.”

This is the comment section on Fox News or the comment section on CNN. “How dare the other side?” This is my least favorite one, when people go, “This” and they share. “What? You have done nothing. You’ve contributed nothing to the conversation. You just said this. That’s not helpful. What are you doing?” We get angry. What are we doing? Do you really think you can engage in that and it doesn’t affect you?

Give me a break. Of course, it does. It affects your demeanor, your psyche, your disposition, your mental health, your joy. You are affected by this, 100%. So, time loss, separation, low self-esteem, quarreling. And then, if I’m going to talk about it, I got to talk about it, it’s lust. The way social media plays on our lusts. So, I don’t just mean lust for the flesh, I mean lust in general, like I want that house, I want that car.

I want that jewelry. I want that dress. It’s like a greed for things, and social media makes us want things. And the ads just… we’re seeing this just onslaught of ads and it’s affecting our desire for things and our sense of contentment. But then, I got to call it out because this is a good time of any. But men biologically are hardwired. We’re more visual creatures than women. We are.

And so, social media preys on that part of us, 100%. You get on Instagram and you see a scantily clad model. You’re scrolling. And even if you don’t comment, it knows that you slowed your scroll and you watch. It’s called a heat map. They’re watching your eye movement. They’re watching your finger, tracking all of that kind of stuff. They know when you stop long enough to read, and they know when you stop long enough to look.

Okay, well, I’m just looking, but now I know it suggest other models and other accounts that you might want to follow when you go to the suggested reels. “Here’s other scantily clad models.” And that affects you. That does. And you might call me a purist in this or some kind of pious, Pietists or something like that, but it’s a gateway. It’s been study after study of proven, lingering on models like that is a gateway towards pornography. It is.

And okay, I’m a church guy. Look at studies. Just Google it later. Look at studies not done by Christians, just by outside organizations, on the dire effects pornography has on our brains, our ability to connect with one another, your ability to have intimacy with somebody, your self-worth, your self-esteem, your depression levels or your anxiety levels, all of it.

Pornography is not a victimless crime. I’m sorry, it’s just not. And then, you get to the spiritual side of this. This is why Jesus is… it’s one of our least favorite teachings of Jesus, but He goes, “If you look at someone lustfully, you’ve committed adultery in your heart.” Because this is not He’s trying to be a killjoy. He’s trying to protect your heart. He wants what’s best for you.

And this affects your ability to connect with the people in your life, to feel intimacy with someone. It affects you. This is not victimless. Don’t be deceived. And then, He goes on, He does this crazy teaching. He says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, cut it out because it’s better to lose your right eye than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” And we’re like, “Whoa, Jesus.”

He’s practicing hyperbole for a reason. This is hyperbole. What He’s trying to say is, it’s better to lose something than for it to affect you and harm you. So, delete the app. Recognize the cue. And people who are in addiction recovery will talk about, “It’s not the actual moment of consumption of whatever I’m addicted to. It’s the cue and the pattern that precedes it.”

So, cut off the app. Delete it. Cut it off from your hand. Just ask any former drug user or recovering addict, if they could go back and remove that first taste. The best temptation is the one you don’t know. You have to fight. The people I know with the most self-control are the ones who use it the least because they don’t put themselves in compromising situations.

And so, this is my encouragement to you. It is affecting you. Recognize it. It’s a gateway. Again, I’m not saying social media is bad or inherently evil. It’s not that you can’t have social media, we just don’t want social media to have you. And the more I looked at this list, the negative effects of social media, the more I realized maybe social media isn’t the problem.

Maybe it just reveals that we’re the problem. The problem is us. It’s bringing out the worst in us. It’s bringing out and revealing and becoming a playground for our sin. Maybe social media just kind of reveals that we’ve got a condition. And when I look at this list, it breaks my heart and it breaks your heart, I think. You’re just like, “Oh, gosh.” But I think it also breaks the heart of God.

You have to take my word for it and what I believe is God’s word. Here’s what He wrote in a letter, or here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to a group of Christians gathering in a house, in a town called Ephesus. He told them, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk,” what’s the example? We’ll walk in the way of love.

And you start to think about love and how antithetical it is to all of our social media behavior. Think about it. In social media, it’s about us, building our platform, getting more and more followers, garnering likes, me, me, me, and celebrating and indulging in me. That’s not what love does. Love is about serving others, putting others first, sacrificing and placing the needs of others ahead of our own.

That’s what love is. And what an interesting way to think about social media. And he continues, “Just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” So, he’s saying, “Look, look, look, it’s about God’s Son.” When you have the Holy Spirit in you, what the Holy Spirit is trying to do is mold you and shape you into the image of His Son.

So, as parents through foster care, we bring a child into our home again and again. We’re saying, “No, no, no, no, no. That’s not what Paavolas do.” No, no. Let me help you understand the way we do things here in this family. I know what you’ve learned, but that’s not the way it is. And I’m looking at a room full of people who were once orphans and are now children of God, and he’s going, “This is how it is in our family.”

You should be different. You’re not normal. You’ve been redeemed, you’re changed. And so, your online behavior should be different too, people. And then, in verse three, he continues, “So, walk in the way of love. And among you, there must not be even a hint, not a wisp, not a sense of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity, any kind of greed for more and more and more, because these are improper for God’s people, God’s children.”

“Nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk, that’s the same word for quarreling, or coarse joking. These are out of place. But rather say it thanksgiving.” And this then kind of informs how we’re going to do our fast this week. This week, we are going to do a social media fast. You probably could have figured this out. This means we are going to stop using social media. Stop it. Stop.

And just like every week… I already see the teens kind of going, “Mmm.” Okay, hold on a second here. I don’t mean to pick on… if you sit close, it’s fine. Okay. Anyway, this can be customizable. You could do all six days, just cold turkey and just delete the apps in your phone so you don’t forget. This could be three days. This could be one day.

Or maybe you found out which app is using most of your time when we were doing our little exercise earlier and you’re like, “Oh, I’m just going to not use that app.” It’s customizable to you. It should just be both realistic and?


Pastor Chris Paavola:
Challenging. There you go. So, realistic and challenging. We’ve done this every week now. This is customizable, realistic and challenging. And if you’re sitting there going, “Well, I don’t want to do that,” might I suggest, that’s all the more reason to do it. If you want to see how much control something has over your life, stop doing it and see how much of a temper tantrum your body throws.

And my friends, if you are touching something and grabbing your phone 135 times a day, it’s become a habit. I am sorry.

Is this for games?

Pastor Chris Paavola:
Okay, great question and thank you for asking. My son doesn’t have social media because his dad is like a stop-o about social media. So, we’re like, “No social media.” And he’s like, “Well, dad, I want to do a fast.” And I was like, “Okay, well, let’s do video games then. Maybe it’s video games for you because you don’t use social media.”

And he was like, “Wait, cold turkey?” I was like, “Okay.” I said, “How about just an hour of day?” And he said, “How about two hours?” And I said, “How about an hour and a half?” And he goes, “How about an hour and 45?” I said, “How about an hour and a half?” And he goes, “Okay, how about an hour and a half?” So, he’s doing an hour and a half of video games a day, and then he’s cutting himself off.

And his Fortnite skills will still be there at the end of these six days. Lin, looking at you. Is it Fortnite? Is your thing Fortnite? There you go, mom. All right, we got it. But Lin is angry at me. He is leering at me right now. Holy cow. So, that was Isaiah’s idea, but it’s a great idea. So, video games, or maybe you don’t use social media. Maybe this could be TV. Maybe this is TV for you.

Whatever it is, it’s customizable for you. Okay. So, stop using social media. But remember, Paul said we should not do anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language from our lips. We should not do these things that are not for God’s people, instead we should have thanksgiving. And so, we’re going to stop using social media to start giving thanks.

There’s a book called Atomic Habits and he talks about reverse engineering bad habits. You can use your bad habit, your muscle memory. That is a cue, that impulse to do something, you can reverse engineer it to become a cue for the habit you want. So, every time you reach for your phone because you’ve deleted your apps, you’re like, “Oh, I did it again. I was standing in line for four seconds and I didn’t know what to do with that idle time and I reached for my phone.”

That’s when we do it. So, when you do that and the app is gone or whatever it is, you’re going to be like, “Ah.” And you can use that to then give thanks. So, your challenge this week is every time you reach for your phone or you want to look at social media, you feel that urge, that impulse, give thanks for one thing, just one thing. That means you’re going to be giving thanks 135 times tomorrow.

But here’s the challenge for you. Give thanks for one thing. No repeats. So, what you’re going to do is you’re going to hit the usual suspects. You’re going to be like, “God, I thank you for my family, my friends, my home, my health.” And then, you’re going to be like, “Dang it. Now what?” And this will be Monday at 10 o’clock, by the way, and you’re going to be like, “Now what?”

And then, you’re going to plumb a little bit deeper. “God, thank you for our city leaders. Thank you for running water in my home.” And then, you’re going to plumb a little bit deeper and you’re going to start thinking about all the good things God has given you. You’re going to start being like, “God, thank you for your mercy and grace. This is just the way you forgive me again and again.”

“Thank you for the way that you empower me to change. And I’m not alone trying to do this in my own strength, that your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the gospel that inspires, what you’ve done for me, how it inspires me for a changed life. Thank you for your word.” And so, the other side of this challenge then is if there is a time of day that is social media for you, if your nighttime routine is to lay in bed and scroll, don’t act like it isn’t.

That’s why there’s an increased use of posts at 9:30, 10:30 p.m., because we’re all in our nightly routine. Or if it’s first thing in the morning for you. Since you’re on a social media fast, get a piece of paper or a notebook and start just giving thanks. If it’s 10 minutes, give thanks for 10 minutes. And you’re going to hit that wall and you’re going to be like, “Oh, now what?”

And then, in that silence, after a few moments, another thing will come to mind. And then, you’re going to sit there for about 30 seconds and another thing will come to mind. Just take the 10 minutes that you would spend on social media and give thanks. That’s it. And something amazing will happen, my friends. Remember how we talked about the negative effects of social media, the time loss, separation, low self-esteem, quarreling, and lust?

Well, suddenly, in its place, you’re going to find the antithesis of all of that. You’re going to find the positive effects of gratitude. Instead of time loss, it’ll be time gained. And you find yourself using your time in valuable ways and working on important things. Instead of separation from people, you’re going to find connection with people. You’re going to find yourself connecting on a deeper level that you want so desperately.

There’s a famous quote that the antidote of addiction is connection, community. And so, you’re going to find connection with others. And instead of low self-esteem, you’re going to find a high self-worth. You’re going to start to take an inventory of how much God has given you, how much God has blessed you, and you’re going to be like, “Oh, my goodness, how beloved must I be?”

“How much He must love me that He gives me not even just what I need, way more than I need, an overwhelming abundance of all. I don’t even deserve.” And you’re going to feel this growing sense of self-worth in place of a low self-esteem. And instead of quarreling and fighting, you’re going to find peace. Peace that you so desperately want for yourself.

And instead of lust, lust for more, lust for things, lust for people, you are going to find contentment. This is what you want for you. It is, I know it. And this is how you’ll find it all because you decided to do this silly little thing called the social media fast. And you stopped using social media so you could start giving thanks. Let me pray for you.

Heavenly Father, we just confess that social media has brought out the worst in us. It’s caused lust. It’s caused quarreling. It’s caused greed and selfishness, jealousy, doubt. And we’re sorry, God, this reveals actually that the problem is us. And we just thank you, God, for the mercy and grace that you shower on us because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, this mercy and grace that you give to us every day.

And forgive us, God. And as you forgive us, move in us by your Holy Spirit. I pray for everyone listening to the sound of my voice, whether here, whether watching online or those listening later on that this week, you would make us a grateful people. And then, that gratitude would have its effect in our life, bear fruit, and just do what it does. In Jesus’ holy name, we pray all of this.

And we pray now the prayer your Son taught us to pray. And as we think about social media, it just takes on an interesting angle and nuance. And so, we say it together, asking you, our Father, who arts in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.