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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CUT IT OFF!

 
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There is something evil in your house—another dimension in which morality, love, and basic human kindness are replaced by lasciviousness, violence, and hatred.  In this dimension every one of God’s laws are broken incessantly, God is blasphemed, and human pride and extravagance are exalted. The sad part is that every day you sit down to enter this dimension. You invite this evil into your home and you don’t even realize the spiritual implications of what you are doing. I am talking about secular media (TV, the internet, video games, and magazines etc).
According to recent estimates the average person spends 9 years of his life watching television. With the invention of TiVo, On Demand, and internet TV sites a person literally has the whole world of media at her finger tips. To make matters worse, so- called Christians spend just as much time and money investing in secular media as non-Christians. This series of blogs is particularly geared to those who profess to be Christians. In the current blog I will highlight some basic Biblical principles that should guide your life and especially your media watching.

First I don’t believe that all media is bad. I’m clearly communicating with you via a 21st century media: blogging.  So, that said, the first principle I would like to highlight is what makes us Christians. According to Exodus 19:5; 1 Peter 2: 9; Titus 2:11·14, God’s people are to be peculiar. Another word that floats around in the Christian vernacular is sanctified, which means to be set apart for a holy purpose. “What fellowship has light with darkness?” the apostle Paul asks in 2Corinthians 6:14. Every Biblical example points to God’s people as standing out and refusing to conform to the wickedness around them, from Noah who was ridiculed and mocked for 120 years, to Abraham who seemingly without reason up and left all his familiar circumstances to move to a strange land, to Stephen who was stoned for confessing Christ. All these people were nonconformists! Hebrews 11 gives an entire list of them. Moreover Christ explains to us simply that if we love Him we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).

What are God’s commandments? Well here is an abbreviated version of them.
1. We shouldn’t have any God’s before Him
2. We shouldn’t make any images or idols.
3. We should reverence God’s name
4. We should set aside each 7th day because it’s God’s Sabbath
5. We should respect our parents
6. We should not kill
7. We should not indulge in any sexual immorality
8. We should not steal
9. We should not use deception
10. We should not covet

Let’s consider secular TV and movies.  How much time do you spend watching secular media? The bible asks rhetorically, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Romans 6:16.  Many people spend more time with TV than they do with God. So secular media breaks the 1st commandment. Let’s consider the second. Many of us have idols. In fact we refer to our favorite sports and music celebrities as our idols. Secular TV promotes created beings above the creator! (I don’t think shows like American Idol are misnamed). And let’s just forget about the 3rd commandment. God’s name is thrown about so randomly in secular media and it is paired with the most vile curses, yet Christians embrace and promotes these types of programs. We are not even offended when we hear the words “O My__? “ because we have become desensitized. I don’t even have to go into how TV promotes lying, sexual immorality, covetousness, and murder, disrespect for authority, and denounces God as creator. The Bible is explicit, if we break one commandment we are guilty of breaking them all James 2:10.

But you are probably thinking that you aren’t actually engaging in these behaviors when you watch TV. You aren’t swearing, lying, stealing, and killing. Well Jesus would disagree with you. He said “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:26-28. Notice that you do not have to literally have sexual intimacy for it to be sin, but you can be looking and lusting and guilty of it. Paul puts it more plainly when he says” being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,  wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;  who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:30-32. This text rocked my world! Not only are people who sin deserving of death but people who gain pleasure from these sins deserve to die too!  Ouch!

Let’s consider a definition of sin. The bible says that sin is transgression of the law 1John 3:4. So if what we are watching clearly violates the commandments of God and violating the commandments of God is sin than that means many of our media habits are sinful! And we know what the wages of sin is Romans 6:23. To be more frank consider what David says, “ I will set no wicked thing before my eyes” Psalms 101:3.

If we consider ourselves Christians we shouldn’t have a wicked thing before our eyes either. Jesus says that if one of our limbs causes us to sin we should cut it off Mark 9:43. The wise Christian should react the same way when it comes to most secular media and CUT IT OFF!

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