By Elizabeth Prata
Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Summer is a time for relaxing and fun. It’s also a time for entertainment, as many folks’ work-schedules disappear completely (if you’re an educator like me) or lighten some. When we’re seeking entertainment, we should always make sure whatever we seek out is pleasing God.
Later today I will stack my to-read books up, make decisions, and create a reading schedule. I’ll post it when I finish. The Summer reading schedule also includes lectures. I’m almost finished with RC Sproul’s series on the Life of David. Ligonier’s $5 Friday sales always have several series to choose from and download. What a bargain. For $5, you can listen to 12-lectures of stellar teaching not just from Sproul but other men, too, in their list of Teaching Fellows. That’s just 41 cents per lecture.
But when my day is done and I’ve completed the things on my reading schedule and done my home chores, I want to relax with a good TV show or movie. I have a harder and harder time finding entertainment to watch. I’d like to think that is due to a longer walk with the Lord and His Spirit convicting my mind of impurity. I hope. I don’t know how many half-viewed or only minutes-seen movies and shows on Netflix I have littering my watch history. Even if the rating is PG or PG-13, the program still uses curse words and presents unsavory situations. Ugh.
I know, I know, this complaint isn’t anything new. Not from me. Not from any Christian.
Looking at lyrics on the top songs on Billboard’s charts is a nightmare. Reading any Twitter stream outside my hedge of carefully chosen Christian followers in even even innocuous threads like #BBCGoodFood or #TBBT will result in immediately seeing swear words and worse. Demonic lyrics, shows promoting satan’s agenda, uncivil discussion…so sad. It’s rampant.
Job said that he had made a covenant with his eyes and would not look upon a maid. (Job 31:1). Paul said, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18). In teaching about the carnality of this world, Paul wrote in Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” He commanded them to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:4). We are to set ourselves apart from the carnality of this world.
I have two months of summer break from school coming up. Friday is the last day of post-planning and then I’m sprung. I try to remain productive and I try to resist temptations to watch shows and movies I know aren’t good for me. The danger is not only looking but ignoring the prick of conscience the first moment something untoward happens on screen. That’s how sin gets hardened. (Hebrews 3:13).
In one sense I have things easy at work because I am employed in an elementary school where the work-place language is always appropriate, the dress is always modest, and social media is filtered out of the computers. I spend 8 hours a day blessedly in the company of wonderful children and decent adults. Temptation is taken from me.
But during summers I have 24/7 opportunities to be entertained on-screen or by unwise choices of reading material. Pray I make wise decisions.
In case you think that it is nearly impossible to resist fallen culture today since carnality is all around us, we’re not special. Early Christian Rome was in the same state of debauchery that we are immersed in now, with orgies, homosexuality, and licentiousness in song, poetry, and drama. The Colosseum was free to all to be entertained by bestiality, murder, and death. The pagans were used to frivolity in all forms from the numerous festivals, such as Saturnalia, a week-long festival in December. The Roman philosopher who lived during Jesus’ time, Seneca the Younger wrote, “the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation…”
It’s not ‘just entertainment’, it’s satan’s playground. In it, he pushes forward his agenda of licentiousness and ungodliness. And when his themes are repeated endlessly and ceaselessly, hammering into our youth’s brains, sung over and over, watched over and over, they penetrate. The same with video games. For adults who watch TV and movies and play video games it’s equally dangerous to ease up just because it’s summertime. Remember, Rome’s government allowed a looser standards during Saturnalia… Don’t be Rome.
Do we memorize scripture verses as well as we easily remember lyrics like Lady Gaga’s Judas song, ‘fill me with your poison?’ or taglines from Game of Thrones? No. And there’s a reason for that.