- Holiness—spiritual reorientation; reoriented towards things of God.
- As we work out our fear and trembling, God works within us (Phil. 2:12-13).
- Partnership in holiness; can’t occur without intentional action on our part.
- Part of this intentional efforts towards holiness is what scripture refers to as “renewing your mind” (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:22).
- That is, make your mind new/fresh.
- Notice the connection, in both verses, to proper conduct (holiness).
- Particularly within Eph. 4: put off old conduct so that you can be renewed within your mind, and thus put on new conduct.
- So the mind, the inner man—what we think on and meditate on—plays a part in how we act.
- May put it this way: belief affects behavior.
- Yet, this begs the question: where are we getting our beliefs? What influences our thinking?
- Increasingly, the answer to that question for a vast majority of American culture is media: the movies we watch, the shows we binge, the music we listen to (or the books we listen to), etc.
- Particularly true with younger generations.
- “A recent study by Michelle C. Pautz, an associate professor of political science at the University of Dayton, suggests films can act as an influence. Dr. Pautz asked undergraduates at a private Midwestern college to fill out a questionnaire regarding their views on government before and after viewing the movies “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” She found that after watching the films, 20 to 25 percent of the participants changed their opinion — and generally more favorably — on a variety of questions about the government. Their trust in government increased, for example, as did their general optimism about the direction of the country.”
- “Younger people, particularly teens, are much more likely to be impacted than older adults because they are still developing and shaping their world-views,” she said in an email interview. “Since they are still being socialized politically, they are more likely to absorb all sorts of influences, including influences from film.”
- Without a doubt, the media we consume influences us—if we believe otherwise we are simply deceiving ourselves (1 Cor. 15:33).
- Yet, I witness an increasing lack of concern and discernment when it comes to media consumption among Christians—particularly our young people.
- This is concerning—mainly because values are formed within our younger years, and maintained as we grow older.
- Also because the promise of scripture: the pure in heart will see God (Matt. 5:8).
- What then are some principles when choosing our media consumption which will help us to live more holy and pleasing lives to God?
Discerning About Content
- Some chose to simply cut out media of all sorts; yet nothing wrong with entertainment in itself—the question is what is the content we chose to consume.
- Scripture calls for us to be discerning (Heb. 5:14; Eph. 5:10-12).
- This means to chose wisely because we are aware of evil, its influence, and we realize we aren’t above its contamination.
- Paul speaks of the importance on dwelling/meditating on certain things (Phil. 4:8).
- Does the content of the show you are watching fulfill the demands of this passage? What are you meditating on for 2 hours or so when you watch a particular film?
- Can we honestly say that a movie filled with explicit language, sexual scenes, violence, and anti-Christian messages fulfills this? Can we not see how such can influence us to grow more casual toward sin and holiness?
- Sometimes we may have to forfeit watching a particular show in order to guard our hearts and minds against the influence of sinful media—yet what are we really called to sacrifice as Christians today?
What’s the Story?
- Read the except from tract from Baxtell.
- Any stories that we consume must be subservient to the greater story of scripture: this story of a God is just and holy, willingly give himself to save us of our sins, and will one day come back to judge the secrets of the hearts of men (Acts 17:31).
- Because of this we shouldn’t support stories that encourage the opposite of this one: that there isn’t a God, that there is no standard of moral content, that humans have no value, that virtue isn’t important or necessary.
- Within music for example: music that applauds fornication, drug use, the objectification of women shouldn’t be anything that a Christian listens to.
- Again, this requires you to be a thinking Christian—constantly discerning and wise about what the message is of the media you are consuming.
Use Tools that Available
- Thankfully, with the increase in media we have also had an increase in tools to help us:
- TV Guardian
- Covenant Eyes
- Parents must be particularly diligent in guarding the hearts and heads of their children:
- Don’t allow them to consume media that you have no knowledge of.
- Have rules to where they know what they can/can’t watch when at a friends house.
- Don’t give them unrestricted cell phone usage; ask and know about the apps they download.
- If we aren’t willing to parent our children, there are more than enough voices that are willing to fill that void.
- Prov. 4:23
- As Christians, we should hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:6)—and this will be reflected in what we value and consume.