Someone once said, “I don’t worry about what I watch, or listen to, as long as my heart is right.” This is a very dangerous view. Most will admit, however, that this statement is really just an excuse to cross the line when it comes to entertainment. Let’s be honest: Many rationalize watching and listening to very questionable material because we enjoy it.
What we watch and listen to affects the heart; it’s impossible to separate the two. If we would make it our goal to know Christ more personally, we would preach Christ more powerfully. For example, if a preacher fills his mind with worldly pleasures and desires all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken: “The gratification of the flesh and the fullness of the Spirit do not go hand in hand” (R.A. Torrey). Who he is all week is who he will be when he steps to the pulpit—the passion and conviction of his message is only as strong as the passion and conviction within him. The same is true with you: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). What goes in ultimately comes out.
Do we honestly think that programs that glorify vampires, the occult, witchcraft, illicit sex, homosexuality, and adultery will not affect our spiritual health? Programs such as CSI Miami, MTV, and Desperate Housewives only serve to pull us down spiritually. This is why many are miserable, depressed, and confused.
Although we have great excuses like, “It’s not that bad; everyone is doing it”, “I really don’t watch TV that often”, “It really doesn’t affect me”, and so on, the truth still stands: It’s impossible to develop a deep respect and desire for God if we continually fill our mind with things that oppose Him—period! As W. Graham Scroggie said, “Light and darkness, right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error are incompatibles…when they compromise it is the light, the right, the good, and the truth that are damaged.”
Sadly, what was defined as pornography a few decades ago now fills our television screens on a nightly basis; what a sad testimony to the world. “Where does Christianity destroy itself in a given generation? It destroys itself by not living in the light, by professing a truth it does not obey” (A.W. Tozer).
The Scriptures are crystal clear on the issue of entertainment; there’s really no debate. Philippians 4:8 says to fix our thoughts on what is true and honorable and right, and to think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable and worthy of praise. Ephesians 5:1-20 also addresses this issue, and enough is said in II Timothy alone to silence any debate: Everyone who names the name of Christ should depart from anything that goes against His standard of holiness. We must be pure vessels that God can use. (See II Timothy 2:19-21.) A pure vessel cannot come from a polluted mind. Years of feeding the flesh will leave us spiritually weak. James 1:27 reveals that Christians are to remain “unspotted” from the world; which literally means to be free from the world’s corruption. Are we “affecting” the world, or is the world “infecting” us? “True Christianity, where it reigns in the heart, will make itself appear in the purity of life” (Isaac Watts).
Let your freedom in Christ, and a relationship with Him, guide you. We’ve all watched questionable material and have made wrong choices; don’t live with ongoing regret. But don’t justify wrong behavior by thinking that God doesn’t care about what you watch or listen to, because He does; we serve and love God with our mind. (See Romans 7:25.)
Being selective with what we watch and listen to has nothing to do with legalism; it has everything to do with spiritual integrity, wisdom, and moral purity. Colossians 3:17 declares that whatever you do in word or in deed, you should do to the glory of God.
Let me leave you with this thought: If you are a young adult, are you willing to do what it takes to protect your mind and your relationship with the Lord? If you are a parent, are you willing to do what it takes to protect your family? It’s your choice. Drawing a line can be out of step with the mainstream, but, like Joshua, we too must say: “Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).