Thou Shalt Be Entertained

Entertained.Youth2

Media. It’s everywhere.  From the grocery store to the doctor’s office, we are exposed. Exposed to ideas and philosophies.  Many of these ideas give us cues for what is socially acceptable or normal. However, God says….

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  Isaiah 5:20

Is it possible that the messages that I’m receiving through the media are “putting darkness” for light?

During my Bible reading, I came across the 10 commandments.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

If I’m honest, a lot of music, magazines, television shows, movies, etc. encourage me to do the exact opposite of these commands.  For example, I was watching a family show where one of the main characters was justifying his desire to commit adultery because he needed to [follow his heart and embrace his truth].  And of course, the story line was written in such a way that I felt compelled to sympathize with the character’s plight.  However, as a Christian, is there ever a situation when adultery is okay? According to God, the answer is no.

When it comes to media, perhaps we are facing a great spiritual battle in regards to our hearts, minds, and desires. Through the guise of a catchy lyric or an entertaining plot line, how often are we exposing ourselves to lies?

…Did God really say? …Will you surely die? (Genesis 3)

Some may say that they are not affected by the media, but I would argue that God makes it clear about the power of our thoughts and influences:

  •  Luke 6:45-A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
  • Galatians 6:7-9– Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
  • Philippians 4:8– Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble…think about such things. 

I’m not saying that one has to completely disengage from the culture. However, I am questioning the role that entertainment has in my life.

I’m starting to wonder if I’m voluntarily bringing evil into my life and allowing my heart to be consumed with messages that are anti-God. And I’m wondering if entertainment is an opportunity where the enemy can plant seeds for sin.

Consider:

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving…8 Live as children of light…10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:3-11

What does it mean to live as children of light?

What does it mean to have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness?

Is a song just a song if it encourages me to have sex outside of marriage?  Is a movie just a movie if it encourages me to seek out revenge or makes murder look cool?

Perhaps it’s time to recognize that we are engaged in a spiritual battle for our hearts and minds and take that into consideration when it comes to our entertainment choices.

What do you think?

 

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But I met him (her) at church…

All that glitters isn’t necessarily gold

First things first-You don’t know someone, until you know them. Meaning…you don’t know someone until you’ve spent enough time with a person to see if the values they say they believe, they actually live out in their life.

For some reason the art of discernment is no longer en vogue. Perhaps in an effort to be tolerant, understanding, and non-judgmental, we have forgotten that discernment is not condemnation.

Merriam Webster  defines discernment as “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure” or put another way, it’s the ability to size up the character of a person based on details that may not be so obvious.

Have you ever been in a situation where you met someone and something just didn’t feel right? But as days, months, even years pass by that person finally says or does something that confirms your original uneasiness.

When it comes to matters of the heart, if there’s a certain level of attraction towards a person, we have a tendency to disregard signs and clues that a person is not all that they appear to be. And when it comes to meeting someone at church or some other religious function, there’s even more initiative to ignore uneasy feelings or overlook red flags that pop up. After all, how bad could a person be if they’ve gone on missions trips, regularly attend a Bible Study, recite scripture, etc.?

Ever heard of the catchphrase “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven”?

All kinds of people go to church for all kinds of reasons.  Some are seekers. Some are just beginning their faith journey. Some are battling addictions and other unsavory habits, while others are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

It may be tempting to assume that the church is a safe place, full of emotionally healthy people. And it may be tempting to quickly chuck your brains and discernment at the door, but that’s a fast track to heartache.

What I’m not saying is be suspicious of everyone you come in contact with. But what I am saying is don’t be so quick to assume that your values and goals are the same as the person that you are getting to know. Remember what I said in the beginning, you don’t know someone until you know them.

One other thing…

Many  of us struggle with trying to discern the will of God-especially when it comes to romance.  The problem is it’s hard to know if that “special feeling” that you’re feeling toward someone is a sign from  God or something else. This is why I am not a fan of the cliché – “you just know”. You just know what?

I think it’s one thing to say that a relationship is a good choice because you aren’t fighting all the time or you became a better person because of the relationship or there is an absence of strife or uneasiness, etc. But telling someone that “you just know” can be confusing especially when you consider how intense sexual desire can be.

Meaning…

You can be extremely attracted to someone who is a poor fit for you.

In fact, it’s easy to say to oneself, how can I have such an intense longing and desire for this person if this attraction is not a sign from God?

Simple…

  1. You may be projecting onto this person attributes and qualities that they don’t really have.
  2. You may be consciously or subconsciously ignoring red flags about this person’s character.
  3. You may be more lonely than you are admitting to yourself. (Denial has a way of coming out in subtle,destructive ways.)
  4. If you are able to acknowledge this person’s flaws and short comings, you may believe that you can “fix the person” or pray them into fixture of godliness. (See Chris Cornell* below)
  5. You may be blinded by sexual desire. At some point you will find yourself in the presence of someone who is the physical embodiment of what you find extremely attractive. But…

You can be extremely attracted to someone who is a poor fit for you.

It may be tempting  to justify your desire for someone by trying to fit that person into a mold that they don’t really fit in. But if the image that’s in your head isn’t syncing up with reality, it’s better  to cut your losses and move on.

Navigating attraction isn’t always easy, but if you learn how to  practice discernment by being able to recognize the characteristics of a healthy person and a potentially great relationship, you’ll learn how to avoid unnecessary heartache.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


*Can’t Change Me-Chris Cornell

She can do anything at all/Have anything she pleases
The power to change what she thinks is wrong/So what could she want with me?

But wait just one minute here/I can see that she’s trying to read me
Suddenly I know

Shes going to change the world/But she can’t change me
No she can’t change me…

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