“Leonard Ravenhill once said that modern Christianity has accepted a counterfeit version of joy and peace by looking to Hollywood and professional sports to bring us delight. We look to movies and television and football games to bring us the pleasure that our King desires to give. And by leaning on worldly entertainment for rest and refreshment, we find only a temporary fix; not lasting happiness or true fulfillment…
Yes, there are a few movies that can actually edify our spirits and lead us closer to Christ. But very few fall into that category. And the bottom line is that the area of worldly entertainment, for most young Christians, has an unhealthy strangle-hold upon us.
As I said in Authentic Beauty, one of the ways that you can tell something is an “idol” or “other lover” in your life is that you are unwilling to let it go; you can’t picture living without it. Most of us, if we were honest, would have to admit that we are unbelievably attached to the world’s entertainment…the reality is that movies (or T.V. shows) that actually bring glory to God and lead us closer to Christ are the rare exception, not the rule.
When we sit in front of sights, images and messages that are the opposite of God’s Kingdom, we allow our minds to be subtly manipulated by the voices of darkness, whether we realize it or not.
Most of us are far more influenced by pop-culture than we are by the Word of God…And we wonder why Christ feels distant. But it’s not just movies and T.V. that has us in its controlling vice. It’s an overall pre-occupation with pop-culture. Music artists, professional athletes, and movie stars claim far more of our applause and attention than Jesus Christ does.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols are the closing words that sum up the entire book of first John. (1 John 5:21 KJV)
Idols are not just golden statues that people bow down to in ornate temples. An idol is anything that claims our attention and affection above Christ. Most of us verbally declare that Jesus Christ is more important to us than our fetish for music or movies. But what does our life say? Where do we spend the best hours of our day? What do we turn to for enjoyment and comfort?
“A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring.”
Pop-culture floods our minds and senses with things that are not of God. But for most of us, the glamorized sin that surrounds us is not strange and jarring. It’s normal and accepted. In fact, we go out of our way to enjoy and participate in it. We even spend a huge amount of our time and money on it. And we allow it to capture our mind, emotion, and attention.
Christ makes it clear that we cannot love both Him and the things that charm and ravish this world. We cannot be dazzled by the images of pop-culture and captivated by the King of all kings:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” (I John 2:15-16 NKJV)
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
…Does God stand up and cheer over American Idol? Does He smile with delight over the new Twilight movie? Does He get excited about the latest Cold Play album?
Or does He grieve over our distracted, wandering, divided hearts?”
– Leslie Ludy