Most Christians, in church or in our quiet times with God, have offered ourselves as living sacrifices to Him. We pray with desperate longing that He would saturate every single part of our lives and use us for His will.
Then we go home, and turn on the TV.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love TV shows. As an introvert, they help me to relax. It’s not necessarily bad to watch movies and shows, but Christians need to be very careful about what we’re absorbing. And I think that, generally, we have done this poorly.
I used to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S relentlessly (and was proud of it!). It was my go-to when I needed to relax. However, I started to notice that whilst watching it, something was different in me. I would not only find myself lusting after physical gratification, but I also started to belittle the seriousness of such lusts. My perception of sin became apathetic. Little by little, it started to pull me away from God; and so subtly that I didn’t even realise.
What I now understand is that the sow distorts relationships in every possible way – family, friends, and partners. It not only trivialises sex, alcohol abuse and pornography, but presents that lifestyle as ideal. People watching it want to be the characters, or want a life that mimics theirs.
I had to ask myself why I really enjoyed watching it. None of the reasons were Godly, nor reflected a life where He is my source and passion, and has every part of me. I imagine this is the same for people obsessed with shows like My Kitchen Rules, The Bachelor, Married at First Sight, Game of Thrones, and so on.
There are important questions that need to be answered when Christians invest their time in shows that disparage what God wants – in the strongest sense of the word – relationships between people to be.
The first question we must ask is, ‘Why am I investing my time in this?’. And, of utmost importance when answering this question, we must put aside all pretence that it is merely ‘for entertainment’. You know what’s entertaining? The Bible. It entertains not only our minds but our Spirits. That’s not why you’re watching Game of Thrones.
Secondly, ‘If I have truly given every part of myself over to God, is watching Married at First Sight really what He would do with my time?’.
Finally, ‘What could I be doing, that would benefit my personal relationship with God and with others, or would aid His kingdom come, with the time spent watching these movies and shows?’.
I was watching Friends because I was lonely, and because, in all honesty, my flesh was being fed. The parts of me that want to treat sex like food and relationships like clothes enjoyed being entertained and strengthened by such a TV show. I can only imagine what secret parts of my sinful self would delight in shows like The Bachelor and Game of Thrones. Drama. Betrayal. Anger. Revenge. Justice. Greed. Bloodlust. Rebellion. Self-gratification. All the marks of a fallen world; a fallen human.
Throughout Easter, I encourage us all to fast from secular entertainment. Spend this week reading the Gospel of Mark. Read Timothy Keller’s “King’s Cross”. Meditate on the cost of discipleship and the call to suffer as followers of Christ. Ask God to reveal to you the ways you have erred, and ask Him to strengthen you with the incomprehensible power of the Holy Spirit to walk the path of righteousness. Spend your time talking about God, and not the latest episode. Stretch yourself to truly love God with every part of your life.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.