I realized not too long ago that I am an easy target for the devil right now. It doesn’t take much to turn an off day into a really terrible day. And the past couple of weeks have been full of off days just waiting to turn sour.
One Tuesday, I was standing the checkout line at Walmart, when I realized that I had left all of my cash and my bankcard at home. As I was driving back to get my card and complaining about the other drivers on the road, it hit me that my attitude was part or the problem.
In fact my attitude was probably the biggest part of the problem.
All I wanted to do was go home and binge on Netflix, but that was the last thing I needed right then. That is what I had been doing.
It wasn’t helping my attitude at all.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found I have to be very careful about my entertainment choices. Whether it’s music, books, or television, whatever I choose to consume influences me either positively or negatively.
A bad day can be made better by turning on music with a positive God honoring message, and vice versa. I can ruin a good day by yielding to the temptation to listen to just that one song.
Darkness breeds darkness.
The more darkness and corruption I allow into my life through entertainment, the more my attitude reflects that darkness and corruption.
It’s not necessarily about how many curse words there are, if there is any sexual content, or violence, it’s where my mind goes when I’m feeding myself from the worlds goods. This is why I stopped watching the news and listening to talk radio.
Isaiah 26:3 says:
Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
When I’m consuming a steady diet of the worlds entertainment, my mind not stayed on Christ. It’s the spiritual equivalent of eating cake for every meal. It might seem good at the time, but it leaves you feeling sluggish and sick.
Sure, I might be having my daily quiet time, but opening my Bible for a few minutes in the morning then spending the rest of the day watching Netflix, is like eating a carrot before my breakfast cake thinking that will erase the effects of the cake.
There might not be anything wrong with having a slice of cake, or watching an episode of my favorite television show now and then, but there’s such a thing as too much.
Those things aren’t really doing me any good either.
Just because there’s nothing wrong with it doesn’t mean it’s what I need.
The renewal of our minds has to be constant. Instead of a steady diet of spiritual junk food, we need the wholesome nourishment of the Bread Of Life.
No, we don’t have to walk around with our noses in our Bibles. But when we’ve collected the dust of the world, we need to allow the Master to wash our feet.
It’s also true that while some forms of entertainment may be harmless in small doses, there are others that we need to avoid all together. Pornography, violence, drugs, alcohol, astrology, and music that glorifies all of that, are things that bring nothing good to our lives. Even a little bit is too much.
This is especially true when we’re struggling with depression or anxiety, and when we’re going through a season of stress or sadness.
The entertainment of the world is so appealing and distracting, and we love it. It makes us forget for just a little while. But, when we’re depressed, the music that we identify with is only going to make us more depressed. So will that glass of wine. It turns out it wont even help you sleep. You’re better off avoiding it if sleep is something you have trouble with.
I would never claim that depression is always a spiritual problem. I’ve had enough experience with it to know better. There are some things though that we do have control over, which can make it much worse.
When we are struggling with depression dabbling, no matter how lightly, in the spiritual darkness of pornography, drug use, alcoholism, and astrology will be counter productive to the healing we seek.
If our loved ones are struggling, our dabbling will be harmful to them as well.
And all those more harmless things wont really help either. It may seem like it for a while because they’re so distracting, but when that movie is over, we’ll still be in the same place we were before.
So, what do we do? We fill those empty spaces with The Word of God, music that lifts up the name of Christ, and other things that bring light into our world.
We have to heavily filter everything.
That includes what we see on social media. You knew I would end up there, didn’t you? I didn’t, until now. But it was missing from the discussion, and it can be huge influence if we let it.
Social media can be dangerous because it runs the spectrum from helpful to outright destructive. It can change from helpful to harmful in an instant, and without warning. For some people it can be addicting.
For the most part we have a great deal of control over whether our social media accounts are helping or hurting us. We can choose who and what we see in our news feeds. We don’t have to read endless statuses from people who complain about everything. We don’t have to see the posts that tell us everything that’s wrong with the world.
The list of people and groups I follow on social media seems to get shorter every day. If your name pops up attached to a picture of a mostly naked woman, or a meme about beer, I will probably stop following you.
If we fill our newsfeed with people and groups who love the Word of God, who have a desire to honor Him, and encourage others in their Christian walk, then social media can be a positive influence. I’m not saying that every post has to be spiritual. I love a good joke as much as the next person, but we can share jokes, food videos, and pictures of cats without being destructive.
We need to use a great deal of discernment about what we share, what we see, and when it’s time to turn it off.
The same goes for what we read, watch, and listen to.
The more darkness and corruption we let in, the more we find it acceptable. Then we let in even more, and it shows up in our attitudes and our actions. Eventually it can ruin our testimony with the world we should be trying to reach.
It’s not about a bunch of rules that we have to follow in order to make sure God is happy with us. It’s about choosing the right food for our souls. It’s about filling ourselves with the light of Christ so that we can project that light to others.
If we want to be Battle Ready, our hearts and minds have to free from the distractions of the world
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.