A Matter of The Heart: How Media and Entertainment Can Affect Our Soul

          I think we can all agree that the things we allow into our minds can affect our moods and feelings. However, I would venture to say they affect more than your moods and emotions, they affect your soul. There are so many ways for things to enter our mind, media and entertainment probably being the biggest ones. Think about how many forums there are for media and entertainment: we have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, blogging, the entire internet, over 1,000 channels on cable, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, video games, endless phone, kindle, and IPad apps, podcasts, the radio, Pandora, Beats, Slacker Radio and the list could probably go on and on.
media
          So then the question is, what do we do? I am not saying it is impossible, but for many it is very unlikely and difficult to cut all of this out of our life. Can we eliminate some of these things? Sure. Or, perhaps we could alter how we view and use them. What if we asked two questions each time we read, watch, or listen to media and entertainment: Does this benefit or hinder my walk with Christ? and What would God think if he heard, watched, or listened to this?

How do we know if what we are consuming is benefiting or hindering our walk with Christ? I believe that finding this out is a process and sometimes it takes longer than you might think. Sometimes it takes a while because we are blind to the affect it is having on us, but sometimes it is because we choose to ignore the affect it is having on us because it could mean making some changes. I will be honest, I am speaking to myself and pointing the finger at myself on this issue because this has been such a huge struggle for me! For instance, most of you have probably heard of Sons Of Anarchy which is about a bike club, the ins and outs of the club and family dynamics. I love the show and have seen every episode, however it consists of bad language and some sexual scenes and nudity. Anyways, I found when I watched the show my language would seem to slowly get worse, and I could try to attribute that to something else, but I know that watching that show was affecting me. It was entering into my mind as I watched it and it was leaking into my soul and then turning around and returning up out of my mouth. I am ashamed as I write this because I feel guilty and I know that it was not benefiting my walk with Christ. Whats worse was as I sat and watched it I knew it wasn’t benefiting my walk but I was choosing to ignore this truth and just continued watching.
Now, is this show inherently bad or evil? No, but it hinders my walk with Christ and it causes me to stumble in an area that I know I struggle with and for that reason I should abstain from watching this particular show. As christian’s our ultimate goal is to glorify God and strive for holiness and for me, personally, watching a show like Sons of Anarchy is not furthering this goal at all, but rather hindering my goal.  1 Thessalonians 4:7 and 8 says, “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”  I’ve spoken only on ONE of more than a dozen forums of entertainment and media that can hinder or benefit our walk with Christ. Although all of these forums can hinder our walk in numerous ways there are still ways in which it can benefit our walk. For instance, I have started listening to Pandora during the day with my son, Silas, and sometimes I put on random channels with pop songs (making sure none of the songs have any bad language) but I try to have on the contemporary Christian station on and I find that it brightens our day, gives me a happier disposition and even sometimes a more patient attitude, which trust me as a stay-at-home mom is greatly needed!  Unfortunately I don’t have the time or space to discuss every single forum and how it hinders or benefits my walk or how it could affect yours, but hopefully you get my point.  Sometimes it takes some time for us to realize how these things are affecting our walk and that’s okay, whats important is that we focus and try to identify how they are affecting us and deal with them accordingly.
Now for the question of what would God think if He heard, listened, watched, or read, this question is for you to answer yourself as you sit down to watch, read or listen to whatever it is you are choosing to consume. I personally think this would be a wise way to conduct our lives. What if we always thought of God being right next to us at all times? Would He scoff in disbelief at the words you were reading, at the shows you were watching, or the music and radio shows you were listening to or would He be delighted in these things and be comforted that The Spirit was working inside of His precious child? Like I said, I am probably most guilty of these things and the only finger I am pointing at as I type this is me. I want God to be delighted in me, I want Him to rejoice that I have allowed His Spirit to truly dwell in me and work on my life in areas I would not have changed of my own accord. Romans 8:5 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” My prayer is that I might learn to set my mind on things that are of the Spirit and not of this world. It is not something that can easily change but it is something I can strive to improve upon each and every day and, at least for me, maybe imagining God sitting beside me at all times will help me make wiser decisions in all of the things that I choose to consume.
For most of us fully eliminating all of these forums of media and entertainment is just not a reasonable expectation, but I really do believe it is possible to weed out the forums, or parts of forums that are hindering, so that we can better focus upon the things that our benefiting our walk with Christ. This process is not an easy one but I believe if we ask these two questions we can possibly expedite the process and truly begin our journey to truly glorify God and become more holy, not by means of our own but through The Holy Spirit which He has given us. It’s my prayer that this post will encourage you in this struggle and perhaps give you some questions to ask as you sit down to enjoy any forum of media or entertainment.

ntflic
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