There was a young Marine
who had just become a Christian. He was
struggling with sexually impure thoughts. Whenever he tried reading his
Bible or praying he was assaulted with these wicked thoughts. He was
grieved, but couldn't finger the cause. He figured since he'd become a
Christian, these types of thoughts should cease. The leader of the
Sunday School class he was in suggested the cause of his problem was in
the music he listened to. He gave him a scriptural warning:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after
the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after
Christ. Colossians 2:8
Listening to the preaching of godless ways in his music was spoiling
him. This young man's teacher suggested putting away the ungodly music
and listening to Christian music, to see if this would bring about the
change in his thought life. It didn't take long. Within a few short
weeks, the pattern changed. His faith began growing and he began
looking at things God's way. He became joyful in the Lord and his mind
was cleared up. He began feeding more on the Lord in studying the Word,
prayer and Christian fellowship. All of the factors worked to create a
strong, godly young Christian. The young Marine went on to become a
pastor of a growing church.
This testimony provides powerful food for thought. For many, this same
pattern is obvious. Most people don't equate their conversion to Christ
with a change in their viewing and listening habits. They just don't
think about it. The problem is, though they may watch or listen to evil
in a certain degree of ignorance, the consequences remain the same.
They're indoctrinated to the world's value system and maybe, worst of
all, they don't learn to have God's value system. They don't hate evil
and love good. This isn't a minor flaw. Without this healthy
development of hating evil and loving good we'll be wasted spiritually,
like the young Marine. What's more, when we come to a trial, we'll
struggle through without God's strength. We may look to Him, in one
way, and turn around and drive Him far from us in our entertainment.
His Spirit is grieved and nauseated while we watch and listen to evil.
It doesn't offend our spirit, but it certainly does His!
We need to discerningly
choose what we listen to and watch. What are
our guides for entertainment? For the Christian, the guides are the
scriptures (II Timothy 3:15-17). I fear we've become accustomed to
things we should keep at a good distance.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good
pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may
be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the
midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights
in the world: Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the
day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in
Scriptural guidelines can be established and followed. Scriptural
principals serve as a warning, whether we're actually walking in the
Spirit, or not. The previous verse tells us God will put the right
desires in us, which would include the right dislikes as well. Life in
the Spirit will bring the responses discussed here, but legalism can
imitate. Always watch for this. In this line of thought, look at the
title of this paper. We can correct our viewing and listening habits
and not be reformed, but when our hearts are reformed, our viewing and
listening habits will be corrected. The condition of our hearts: good,
bad or rocky soil, will display themselves in this. Our choices here
serve as an incredibly good diagnostic in helping us see our heart's
condition before God.
COMMONLY AVAILABLE ENTERTAINMENT
We need to take care. There are some good shows and songs. There are,
at the same time, even more horrendous things.
Evil As A Possibility
We should steer clear of shows where the stars commit obvious evil, and
the show doesn't reprove. The program shows approval of the evil. The
stars represent the side which is either right or that you're to cheer
for. (Dealing with issues of sin is different from having them as part
of your entertainment.)
For example: a policeman, who's supposed to be the hero, breaks the law
to enable him to capture the criminal (I Peter 2:13 - this applies to
police as well).
Lack of Shame & Modesty
Shows that use obscenity should be avoided. The characters, whether on
the good side or the bad, are actually sinning.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out
of your mouth, but that which
is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that
I sin not with my tongue: I
will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before
It's one thing to play
the bad guy and act the committal of a crime,
it's another to actually commit the crime. Some say this is necessary
for realism, but sinning isn't necessary to gain believability. Look at
Star Trek. In the original series, in the late 1960's, Dr. McCoy was a
"Class A" grumbler. You'll note he never swore to make his character
realistic, and yet he portrayed the character well. In the later movies
he swore. Also, you'll notice, in the earlier days of T.V., the
husbands and wives were always in different beds. Viewers didn't used
to say, 'Oh, how corny, do they expect me to buy this?' Decency was
understood. Now, they show people in bed with nothing on, the sheets
barely covering them, (for 'added realism' or to create lust), and they
make the point of saying they're not married.
Many watch evil uplifted and say they 'overlook' the evil. The
scripture tells us to do otherwise:
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor
that which is evil; cleave to
that which is good.
Prove all things:
hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all
appearance of evil.
I Thessalonians 5:21,22
Ye that love the
LORD, hate evil:. . .
In view of these scripture, how can we justifiably "overlook" the evil
in what we choose to watch and listen to?
Those who disregard the above passages, let me put it this way: Do you
feel free to watch shows where people are fornicating, or having
affairs? What's your guide as to how much can be committed before you
say, "Too much!"? Is using God's name in vain permissible? If so, what
you allow carried with it the death penalty in the Old Testament
(Leviticus 24:10-16; Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12). If the heroes use
the horoscope, or other occultic stuff, is this all right? These things
also carried with them the death penalty in the Old Testament (Exodus
22:18; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Galatians 5:19-21).
If you're a Christian,
these things should grieve you. You should hate them! To hate is to put
it from you.
Looking back at my
questions, what's your guide as to how much is
tolerable? If you have any limit, what's its base? If it's the
scriptures, you must follow them exclusively. If it's your ethical
reasoning, then the line is never stable. It will constantly change as
your heart is slowly reconditioned. Don't start on the Word and then
reason away from it. Stick strongly and clearly to the Word. For my
mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. .
The fear of the Lord is
to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the
evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
I will set no wicked
thing before mine eyes; I hate the work of them
that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
101:3 (Psalms 101:7)
He that walketh
righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth
the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,
that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes
from seeing evil: He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be
the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be
Through thy precepts I
get understanding: therefore I hate every false
(Psalms 36:1-4 - a converse showing the same thing)
So how can you overlook it? Don't forget, what you watch on T.V. is
your choice. You turn the dial or put in the video tape, no one is
making you sit and watch iniquity.
Take a look at Lot:
And delivered just Lot,
vexed with the filthy conversation of the
wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and
hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful
II Peter 2:7,8
Lot is a powerful scriptural application to this issue. Lot lived in
Sodom. Daily he saw and heard evil around him. II Peter says he was
vexed with what he saw and heard. The word translated "vexed" in verse
8 comes from a Greek word meaning, "to torment". The passage shows a
righteous person, as all Christians are in Christ, is naturally
tormented by evil around him. Now think for a moment. The reason you
watch most programs or listen to songs is for entertainment. To RELAX
and for PLEASURE. If you're righteous, and if there's evil present, it
should VEX you! This is the opposite of RELAXATION and PLEASURE. You
wouldn't want to watch or listen to it!
What an idiotic statement to say, "I can hardly wait to get home, prop
up my legs, sit back, enjoy a coffee and torment myself enduring things
I hate on the TV!" If the evil doesn't VEX you, then the conclusion is
biblically obvious, "You're not a righteous person". II Peter 2:7,8
must demand this conclusion. It leaves no other option. It serves as a
great warning though. If you think you're righteous, i.e. a Christian,
yet don't have this vexation, it serves as a red flag. You need to fall
on your knees before God. Seek His face to put in you His righteous
heart and attitude. He wants to do this. If the attitude isn't there,
don't give up saying, "It's no use". Only God makes us righteous and
only He can truly give us His attitude towards sin.
Lot also gives another warning. We're told he was righteous and vexed,
but if it wasn't for II Peter 2:7,8 this wouldn't be easy to conclude.
Looking in Genesis chapter 19 we see Lot committed drunkenness and
incest following his escape from Sodom. Even though he was vexed in
Sodom, it's obvious he was still influenced by Sodom. This is a
warning! How much more should this warn us if we're not vexed with the
evil in our entertainment? Are you vexed or not? (A little corruption
totally corrupts, Haggai 2:10-14; Luke 16:10.)
Call to Holiness & Reproof of Wickedness
We're told we should walk in godliness and holiness:
For God hath not called
us unto uncleanness, but unto
I Thessalonians 4:7
For ye were sometimes
darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk
as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness
and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but
rather reprove them.
(Galatians 5:19-26 showing the works of darkness verses light.)
This being the case, how can we justify before God, our watching things
we should rather reprove?
Other shows Christians should avoid, are those lifting up sadistic
behavior. This isn't the spirit a Christian should savor (Matthew 7:12
and Ephesians 5:29; Luke 6:35,36 - mercy is the opposite of sadism).
Some shows have the bad guy be sadistic and the good guy be good, but
the emotion the show tries to evoke is revenge. We shouldn't be part of
this (I Peter 3:9; I Thessalonians 5:15; Matthew 5:39; Proverbs 20:22;
24:29; Romans 12:17-21; Luke 6:27-36; Titus 3:1,2).
Horror for Pleasure
Horror is also popular, yet the scripture says:
For God hath not given us
the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7
(Psalms 91:5; 118:6;
Proverbs 3:24; Isaiah 12:2; 26:3; Psalms 29:11;
John 14:27; 16:33; Psalms 34:14)
Seeing we're not of the spirit of fear, why would we watch shows to
provoke fear? This isn't after a sound mind or peace. Can you see
Jesus, who came to heal the sick, save the lost and loves mankind,
enjoying terror and suffering?
And let the peace of God
rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are
called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Let him eschew
evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue
I Peter 3:11
Knowledge Indicates Where Heart Is
Our focus should be on growing in the Lord, seeking to know more about
Him and His ways. Many know more about TV, movies and music than they
do the Bible. The Scripture states:
Walk in wisdom toward
them that are without, redeeming the time. Let
your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know
how ye ought to answer every man.
And be not conformed to
this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Many Christians don't know how to share the gospel,
or give an answer
as to why or what they believe. Play TV trivia or music trivia and the
answers will abound.
Relaxation To Be Found In
The early Christians were quite different from most modern Christians.
They continued studying the Word, fellowshipping together and praising
And they continued
steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and
fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. . . And they,
continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from
house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of
heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people, And the
Lord added to the church daily such as should be
We, on the other hand, tend to seek entertainment
isn't bad, but when we believe it's essential to living, our heart's in
the wrong place. Entertainment is a plus, not an essential. God should
be totally sufficient to us for all our needs:
But godliness with
contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing
into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having
food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be
rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and
hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the
love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after
they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek
those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on
things above, not on things on the earth.
I Timothy 6:6-10
(Psalms 65:4; 17:15)
Back in the New Testament times, the rich were the
ones who could
afford to see plays and other costly entertainment.
For men shall be lovers
of their own selves, covetous, lovers of
pleasures more than lovers of God;
II Timothy 3:2-4
There's a grave danger in seeking entertainment, apart from leaving us
ignorant of God's Word. Since most entertainment follows wickedness and
most don't discern their entertainment, the righteous will be corrupted
from the pure way of Christ. If you say, "Not me!" you essentially call
God a liar. The Bible says:
Be not deceived: evil
communications corrupt good manners.
I Corinthians 15:33
They did not
destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded
them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their
Having confidence you'd never fall, even though you
watch things with
wickedness in them, is a false confidence. Some have this false
confidence because of a misconception. They believe there are people
who are naturally good and others naturally wicked (Proverbs 21:2).
This is far from the truth:
Wherefore let him that
thinketh he standeth take heed lest he
I Corinthians 10:12
Who can say, I
have made my heart clean, I am pure from my
A wise man
feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and
A prudent man
foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple
pass on, and are punished.
The scriptures warn us to "take heed" when we think
we stand lest we
fall. If we say, "It won't corrupt us", we show a confidence the
scriptures warn against. The fact we can overlook the profanity shows
we've already been adversely effected. We've been hardened to the point
that we don't really hate it. We may not swear at the moment, but we
don't hate it. Saying that we don't notice it, because we're always
around it, is a feeble excuse. Unless you disappear from society,
everyone's around it. It also warns of that cold, conditioned heart. We
don't hate it because we're around it. If we're around the Bible and
our heart's in God's Word, then our heart will condition to His Word. A
cold and uncaring heart shows where our heart's abode is.
You say you don't curse and won't. I seek the Lord continually yet I
constantly pray God will keep my heart and mind clean so a profanity or
blasphemy will not come from me in a moment of anguish or torment. I
realize habits of the subconscious are picked up from our environment.
We use expressions everyone else does. If we hear it a 1,000 times we
may find ourselves unexpectedly using it in a moment of panic or
Lot even hated the filthy conversation of the wicked, was called
righteous, yet he was influenced by Sodom. Shouldn't that be a warning
to walk humbly and fearfully before our God, realizing the corruptness
in our nature? Only by God's mercy and His Spirit will we come through
this world unscathed.
There's a hideous evil to beware of: Thinking yourself righteous while
living wickedly. In this case, you naturally believe that God's like
you. I've even heard people say, "Yea, I think Jesus would do that" in
reference to their evil living. How dangerous such confidence in
ourselves can be! The following Psalm pictures this exactly:
But unto the wicked God
saith, What hast thou to do to declare my
statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing
thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. When thou
sawest a thief, then thou consentest with him, and hast been partaker
with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth
deceit. Thou sitest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest
thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept
silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself:
but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now
consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there
be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him
that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of
Admonishments That Relate to Entertainment
Remember this in your viewing and listening:
But the day of the Lord
will come as a thief in the night; in the which
the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall
melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein
shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be
dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy
conversation and godliness,
II Peter 3:10,11
The earth and its works are listed in I John:
Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world. If any
man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that
is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the
world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of
God abideth for ever.
I John 2:15-17
Seeing how the world is, like the question put
forth, "What manner of
persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" Pay
heed to the obviously implied answer.
Another guideline of scripture is found in Colossians:
When Christ, who is our
life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the
earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil
concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things
sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the
which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also
put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy
communication out of your mouth.
This shows what's evil and to be fled from: the ways
of the world which
will be burnt up at the day of the Lord.
Now I would encourage you:
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
Philippians 4:8 (Colossians 3:1,2)
Amen. Think on these things. Put away the wicked
things and you'll
indeed be pleasing before the Lord.
Does your entertainment meet the criteria outlined in Colossians 3:1,2?
And whatsoever ye do in
word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
"Do all" this verse says. As a representative of
Christ, which all
Christians are, what would He declare to the world is appropriate to
relax with? Does it meet with the approval of God? Some might be
thinking, "This is so different from the way everyone else seems to
be!" To this I would say to remember what Paul said to Titus:
Who gave himself for us,
that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and
purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good
And the call of II Corinthians:
Wherefore come out from
among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive
II Corinthians 6:17
Christians should be different! You must choose who
you're going to
serve: compromisation and the world or God.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
In my family, as in most, I was raised watching a lot of television.
The lesson God had for me, concerning entertainment, was a shock to my
life-style. I heard a radio preacher talking about listening to music
with ungodly lyrics. He used the scripture to back him up. What he said
was interesting but I thought, "That's taking things a bit far". I
began praying for God to show me what was right and wrong in my
entertainment. At this same time, I began searching to see if there was
any area I'd heard a scriptural argument concerning, but put lamely
aside to the future pondering files. The Spirit pointed out my viewing.
Since I love God and want to please Him, I was very concerned about
this. I was uncertain about my viewing, yet had heard a scriptural
message concerning it. I was in spiritual agony for a number of days. I
pleaded for guidance and enlightenment concerning this issue. When I
determined I was going to live by what I'd seen in the scriptures, and
not go on feelings, the peace of God flowed over me. At the moment of
surrender, the Lord gave me spiritual insight and understanding. Giving
up my worldly entertainment was no longer difficult, it was then done
by the Spirit.
I can look from the vantage point of approximately a decade and a half
without regular TV viewing now. In talking with Christians, who haven't
weaned themselves off TV, my wife and I came to the conclusion this was
one of the most important decisions we ever made. Next to becoming
Christians and marrying each other, this decision has had the greatest
impact on our lives. The impact on our children's rearing and on our
biblical world-view, has shown us the absolute necessity for this
I've seen a teaching that goes, "Christians should go to all
kinds of entertainment, even with ungodliness in it." The doctrine
goes, "God's creativity is in man. To not go to see movies because of
evil things in them is both narrow minded and simple." I found this
teaching in a book by a well known minister.
The teaching called Christians such as I, "simple" because of not
enjoying everything in the arts. It assumed those who take my stand
aren't even aware of the creativity of God in man all around us. Before
I took the stand that I do, I did see the arts found among many
different cultures, countries and backgrounds. A very important part of
my life is, in fact, in the arts. I'm an artist. I've examined the arts
(and still do). The accusation of "simple" is very unfair, and as I
noted, he fit my definition of "simple". The "simple" are those who
don't know what the scripture says. Throughout his argument, he put
down those who take my stand, but supplied no scripture to show what he
was saying was honest by the Word of God. I must stand by my narrow
mindedness with scripture rather than with broad mindedness and great
receptivity that is void of scripture. I hope you'll be able to say the