Though that line is often shared in regards to one's virginity or "physical purity" (that is another topic for another day), I want to apply this line to our every day lives. King David wrote,"I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless... I will know nothing of evil." (Psalm 101:2b,3a,4b) How many of us can say this? Harder yet, how many of us want to say this?
For some reason, I have always sensed that the majority of believers have a sin (or more than one) that they are prone to fight and struggle with. One of my particular sins is this: laziness. And for years I became that person who worked, went home, watched movies, went to bed and repeated that cycle. Now, what I am NOT saying is this: that movies are evil and from Satan and that a single adult who has no family to take care of is sinning if they go home and do nothing but watch movies. However, what I AM saying is that, for me, I was creating a habit of avoidance and creating a habit of laziness.
About a year or so after I repented and turned back to the Lord, I was faced with the realization of two things: the addiction to tv and movies and the lack of discipline in my time with the Lord. Is it of coincidence that I saw those two realities at the same time? I think not.
Psalm 106:36 says, "They served their idols, which became a snare to them." I think most believers often believe that idols are either, a.) handmade wooden/metal statues or b.) a negative feeling, object or pursuit. But [most of the time]: they are not. An idol is anything that you deem more important than God. Which while it seems like that would be easy to see and define in your own life is not actually that easy. Let me help you with one simple question: Who or what do you spend most of your day thinking about and pursuing? (Now, let me clarify, if you are married, then yes, you better spend some of your day thinking about your spouse and/or family.)
Dietrich Bonhoffer said, "Satan does not fill us with hatred of God but with forgetfulness of God." So this is where I found myself: that my in my addiction to tv and movies- I had forgotten about God. I did not hate Him (heck! I just turned my life around!), but I had found myself filling my "life" with "so much" that I did not spend time with Him. Mark 9:43-48 tells us, "...if your hand causes you to sin: cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands and go to hell." Whelp. So I did something radical: I 'vowed' to stop watching tv and movies throughout the week. Now listen, I know that many of you are thinking, "Whatever lady. I'm not addicted to tv or movies or to anything for that matter. I can stop any of it at any time." Then you, my friend, are who I'm talking to. DO IT.
For myself, I had found that I couldn't go another day without finding out how the next episode or series finale ended. I couldn't wait for so and so to get together with so and so. I was so caught up in the intense drama that it almost made me feel like I was involved in it myself. [Dear Grey's Anatomy watchers: seriously. How. many. dramas. can one. person. go. through?! I had to stop after the plane crash!] Or, do you find yourself secretly loving the love/sex scenes in shows and movies? I am not one who personally struggles with pornography, but I can tell you that those scenes in no way shape or form help me in my loneliness of being single or in my pursuit of becoming holy. [And if you, dear friend, are one who does struggle with the sin of pornography, RUN. James 4:7 says to "Resist the devil and he will flee."] Maybe none of these tv/movies are your thing: maybe it's sports. If your team doesn't win, does it affect your attitude for the rest of the day or the days following? Do you refuse to spend time with friends or family if it interferes with a game? What if you can't watch it or record it: does it affect you inwardly?
My follow-up question for you after answering the above is this:
Are you as upset in missing your time with the Lord each day as you are in missing that tv show/movie/sports game?
Now hear me, dear brother/sister: I am NOT saying that you enjoying tv/movies/sports every night after work is wrong or sinful. I do believe that relaxation is important in processing life. However, I think too often we as believers are more upset about what happens on our tvs than what happens in the real world. Do you get more upset in watching a movie than you do in watching the News every day? Is watching a sunset for you boring? Are you too tired to have a conversation with your spouse or kid than you are in watching something on tv?
Oh that we would be like the Psalmist in Psalm 119:36-38! "Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! TURN MY EYES FROM LOOKING AT WORTHLESS THINGS; and give me life in Your ways. Conform to Your servant Your promise , that You may be feared."
"Jesus Christ, who went through hell for you, can give you the power you need to overcome the worst kind of condition in your life." Charles Swindoll, David
For those who are thinking I'm far from perfect: YOU ARE RIGHT! Laziness is still a tremendous, on-going battle of mine. It's been about two years now of my no tv/movies throughout the week, and it has made a HUGE difference in my life. I read more, I watch more sermons... but it doesn't mean that I don't have my times of "too much" on the weekends. (Dang those Hallmark Movies!) In fact, God recently has convicted me of my indulgence on the weekends... but I am ever thankful for a God who covers His grace over my sin -- and shame.