I have been trying to be very aware of the kind of media I enjoy, because SO much of what it out there is ungodly. Books that appear wholesome contain sexual immorality, or frequent swearing. Movies portray affairs as if they are commonplace, friends with benefits is the norm, and we are told the only way to have fun is drink a lot of alcohol. Songs on the radio have catchy beats, but if one listens to the lyrics, one will hear about casual sex, partying all night, disregard for authority, and more. Yet, as a Christian I found myself not doing much to avoid those messages from the media.
Paul tells us in 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. The entertainment I exposed myself to was none of those, so why was I still surrounding myself with it?!
I figured it was okay because I am not an impressionable teenager anymore; I’m a responsible adult who can separate truth from lies, so I am not doing myself any harm by enjoying a raunchy movie. After watching/reading/listening to enough smut I sort of just tuned it out. If a song came on that was especially provocative, I’d just turn up the bass beat so I couldn’t quite hear the lyrics. If I watched a movie that showed sexual content, I’d simply avert my eyes until it ended. I wasn’t enjoying it so that made it okay in my mind.
But here’s the thing: I shouldn’t be able to just tune out ungodly things in media. I should be bothered by it! It should make me uncomfortable! But it wasn’t. I saw it as the norm. I wanted a change though. There came a point where I realized the books, movies, and songs I enjoyed were not helping me grow in my faith.
Some people may argue that it’s okay for Christians to enjoy secular media since we can distinguish it as entertainment. But I wonder if those people have heard of the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? It was a funny little quote for a camp service I attended as a child, where the director encouraged us all to thing carefully about what goes into our minds, because eventually it will stick and we are likely to begin subconsciously mimicking what we see. For kids, this might look like mouthing off to a parent, thinking it’s okay to lie to authorities, young girls wearing suggestive clothing, and more. As adults we think we can draw the line, and that we won’t be affected by it much. But overexposure can result in being desensitized to the ways of the world, and that could potentially draw us away from God.
I like the words in 1 Peter 5:8 that warn us to Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour because it is still applicable today. The devil will do anything he can to reach us and pull us away from God, including infiltrating our minds through the media.
Finding wholesome media can be hard though! It’s not as though Target or Walmart has a Christian section, and even if they have some “inspirational” movies and books, you can’t really be sure they are godly. Even Netflix, though it has a “spiritual” category can’t always be trusted to provide wholesome entertainment. I have found a lot of great materials at my church library and local Christian bookstore, and there are many online retailers that sell Christian media too. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to begin the search though, so I suggest asking a trusted Christian friend for recommendations. You can also check out Christian websites such as Plugged In for reviews of media for the whole family.
Hopefully this post encourages you to reconsider the sort of entertainment you partake in, and prayerfully avoid those that are ungodly. While it may seem difficult to give up, I hope you are encouraged by this verse: But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them (1 John 4: 4-5).
I am planning to do another post featuring my picks for wholesome music, movies, TV shows, and books, so stay tuned for that.