It’s easy to get hooked on the popular music, movies, and TV shows, but Christians do what’s hard. Let’s choose what we watch, listen to, and read based on what’s good for us, not what feels good at the moment.Caramel corn and vanilla rootbeer are my movie night snacks of choice. For that one night out of maybe every month, my teeth get clogged with sticky caramel and all that sugar makes my heart pulsate like a techno song. Eh, it’s one night, I figure, as I munch away and get lost in a good story on our flatscreen.
But what if I ate caramel corn and vanilla root beer every night? What if I chose Pop-Tarts and mocha lattes for breakfast everyday, Happy Meals every lunch, and made steak, fries, and chocolate cake for dinner? I’ll tell you what would happen: my health would plummet! Not only would my thighs start to look like full-fat cottage cheese and my hindquarters start to jiggle like St. Nick’s belly, but I would be breathless after a short jog, I would get headaches every afternoon, and my sleep would be fitful. Only twenty years down the road would I know the full effects of my indulgent diet, when my heart starts to fail.
This is your brain on ABC Family…
A yucky diet has visible effects on our health and well-being, but what about the entertainment we ingest everyday? What kinds of thoughts and ideas are we feeding our brain, via the movies, TV shows, and music we choose?
Media can be a good way to spend time with loved ones, or to strengthen yourself….if it’s healthy media. Junk food media, on the other hand–it won’t rot your body; it rots your mind.
Pure minds, pure entertainment
God wants us to fill our minds with decent stuff: things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good reputation, and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8). Even if we totally get that when it comes to the things we talk about with friends and family, often we might find ourselves relaxing that standard when it comes to entertainment.
“The Home Test”
Another way to measure whether or not you should invite certain stories into our minds is the home test: would you invite people like you’re watching onscreen, listening to on your iPod, or reading about into your home? Would these people, whether fictional or real, be people you would introduce to your parents and eat dinner with? Or would they be the promiscuous, drama queen girls who seem to always have dirty rumors following them around, or the egotistical, predatory boys who you know you would never go out with? As Christians, we can’t block out unbelievers in our world; in fact, we need to reach out to their souls and influence them for good. But we can’t influence people in the media; they can only influence us.
For the shows and music you faithfully watch, you need to consider the fact that you repeatedly “invite” these stories into your mind, so they need to have an even higher standard than say, a movie you spend two hours with, or a book you read for a week. If you have an ongoing fan “relationship” with a show or musical artist, you should use the same standard Christians use for choosing close friends, which is to not be tied together with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14).
Can’t we have some guilty pleasures?
We’ve all got a weak spot when it comes to entertainment, just like we do with certain sweets. For me, my caramel corn and vanilla rootbeer are books and a couple of my longtime favorite television comedies. However, a pervasive-language film or a sex-obsessed TV show should not be viewed as treats to be enjoyed every once in a while, but as sins that we must turn away from. God tells us that we should not take part in any foolish talking, filthiness, or rude joking (Eph. 5:4). It’s tough to find a comedy these days that doesn’t include these things.
Even if we do find a TV show, film, musical artist, or book that does meet the Phillipians 4:8 standard and the home test, we shouldn’t necessarily include it in our lives. We are instructed to make the most of our time, and understand God’s will for our lives (Eph. 5:16, 17). Entertainment should be the last thing on our schedules, after Bible study, homework, chores, and real communication with people we love.
We label some of our favorite entertainment outlets “guilty pleasures” because our consciences bother us when we partake. The good news is that guilt is actually a good thing! It’s God’s alarm system buzzing at you to turn it off! Think real, pure thoughts, speak real, true sentences, or read real, praiseworthy stories instead. Don’t excuse your TV show, movie night, music, or reading material as guilty pleasures. Turn off the noise, and turn off the guilt. Find something healthy to feed your mind and heart instead.