Summary: Bible study on the possible dangers of secular entertainment. Music, movies and television, books and magazines, and the Internet can look good from the outside, yet end up harming us. We need to keep our eyes open, reject ungodly entertainment, and choose wholesome entertainment.

Summary: Bible study on the possible dangers of secular entertainment. Music, movies and television, books and magazines, and the Internet can look good from the outside, yet end up harming us. We need to keep our eyes open, reject ungodly entertainment, and choose wholesome entertainment.

Doug Britton Books

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Choose Wholesome Entertainment

Don’t Expose Yourself to Ungodly Movies, Music, Books and TV

Doug Britton, MFT

Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Introduction to potential dangers of secular entertainment

(This study is one of a series dealing with cultural contamination. It is adapted from Defeating Temptation: Biblical Secrets to Self-Control.)

Jesus offers us an abundant and joyful life, yet in our search for enjoyment and relaxation we often unthinkingly accept the world’s idea of fun. The result: We harm ourselves and our relationship with the Lord.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)

A good guideline is to only engage in activities Jesus would approve. As John wrote:

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)

 

Be aware of the dangers in secular entertainment

Much of the entertainment and literature in our society is ungodly. This doesn’t only apply to obvious material such as pornography. It also applies to many regular TV shows and movies, books, magazines, and music.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential dangers from secular entertainment:

 

We can accept a secular picture of the world.

Much entertainment presents a false or incomplete picture of reality by leaving Christ out. Even if there are no negative references to Christianity, the picture of the world we expose ourselves to may ignore the most important element of truth—God.
It is like reading a book about how to survive in the wilderness that does not mention food or water.

If the main thing we fill our minds with are these godless versions of reality, we can come to see Christianity as irrelevant to human interactions and “religion” as only belonging in church.

 

We learn lessons that rarely work out in real life.

If you watch TV sitcoms, movies, or pornography, you may internalize a false picture of human relationships. For example, if you watch soap operas, you may become upset because your spouse does not seem as romantic or sexy as the actors and actresses.

 

We often are not truly refreshed.

I used to spend a couple hours every night after work watching sitcoms and other TV shows, thinking I needed to relax and unwind. But I discovered that when I was done watching, I wasn’t truly relaxed, closer to my wife and children, or nearer to God. Instead, I felt like I was mildly drugged.

 

We can become cynical.

We can develop disrespect for pastors or Christianity since few movies or TV shows portray Christians or pastors in a positive light. Pastors and evangelists often are shown as greedy or as lunatics, or both.

 

We can develop impure sexual thoughts or lust.

The sexuality in most secular entertainment—and I’m writing about most everyday entertainment, not just pornography—portrays sex in a dreadful way. It presents sex simply as an instinctive drive, or it makes adultery and other sexual sins appear romantic and wonderful.

When you expose yourself to these messages, your thoughts about sex are likely to become more like the world’s and less like God’s. You may fantasize about sexual sins.

If you are married, you may become dissatisfied with the way your spouse makes love. On the flip side, you may find yourself thinking that sex is ugly and distasteful and pull away from your mate.

 

We can learn to accept ungodly violence as okay.

In some instances, violence has an appropriate role in movies and TV shows. But the violent scenes we usually see are brutal, sadistic, and ungodly. If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves accepting onscreen sinful violence, or even laughing at it.

Some of us may actually find ourselves imitating the violent behavior we see in TV or the movies. I have counseled with many delinquent teenage boys who imitated the violence they saw on TV and in the movies.

 

We can become materialistic.

Most advertising has one purpose: to make you think you must buy some particular thing to be happy. Movies and TV shows often feature luxurious living and give the message that happiness comes from spending lots of money.

 

Avoid harmful entertainment

Ask God before you watch, listen to, or read something.

Do not “fool” yourself or allow yourself to be careless. Keep your spiritual eyes open.

I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. (Psalm 101:3)

 

Evaluate what you let into your spirit.

Do not put vile things before your eyes. Do not poison yourself.

 

Do not violate the Bible or your conscience.

Paul gave timeless guidelines when he wrote:

Fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

 

Do not blindly follow society’’s standards.

We sometimes watch questionable movies or listen to questionable music, thinking that since “everybody” else is listening or watching, it must be okay. Or we think something is acceptable simply because it is not as bad as something else.

 

Watch rationalizations.

Be honest with yourself. Would God want you to watch that movie or TV show? How does it really affect you? Let’s look at two common rationalizations.

“I filter out the bad parts.”

This can be true to a degree, but repetitive exposure usually affects us. Further, the reason we watch or read questionable material often is because we want to enjoy things that we should not enjoy.

“Christian media sometimes gets boring.”

If you are bored with Christian TV or radio shows, don’t let that be an excuse to watch or listen to unprofitable things. There are lots of other ways to spend your time.

I am not trying to lay down an absolute rule that we only watch, read, or listen to things which are overtly Christian. Some secular materials can be educational, entertaining, or uplifting. But I am suggesting that we carefully evaluate what we do for recreation and entertainment, and how these activities affect us.

 

Enjoy healthy activities and entertainment

When you choose entertainment activities, identify those that are both fun and edifying. The following is a short list of ideas. Check those that you would enjoy doing:

___ Make a great meal and share it with friends.
___ Listen to inspiring radio shows.
___ Visit with friends.
___ Tell jokes.
___ Go to a good musical or play.
___ Listen to uplifting music.
___ Go backpacking or climb a mountain.
___ Play tennis, golf, or another sport.
___ Sing at home.
___ Join a choir.
___ Go for a walk in the park.
___ Play games with friends.
___ Learn to play a musical instrument.
___ Read Christian magazines.
___ Study the Bible.
___ Watch a good movie.
___ Read Christian novels or other good books.
___ Read biographies.
___ Listen to an orchestra.
___ Grow a garden.
___ Write letters.
___ Start a collection or develop a hobby.

 

Don’t spend too many hours on entertainment

When we spend too much time watching TV, surfing the Internet or engaging in sports or other activities, we often neglect our family and friends, and our relationships suffer.

Plus, we are not fulfilling God’s purpose for us. He wants us to develop our gifts and to reach out and minister to others. We are called to make a difference in this world, not merely to be spectators.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

 

Be alert if you read or watch dangerous material

There may be times when it is appropriate to expose yourself to material that has ungodly elements. For example: studying in school, reading job-related material, watching plays, reading “great literature,” or staying aware of current events, trends, or thoughts.

When you do any of these things, ask God to help you respond in a proper manner. Ask him to protect your spirit and help you not accept ungodly actions, attitudes, or vocabulary as being okay.

 

Pray for wisdom and balance

Recreation is fine if it is part of a balanced life, but if you mainly live to have fun, you are missing out on God’s purpose for your life and the joy that comes from serving God and helping others. Set your mind on things above.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)

 

Personal Application: Evaluate what you do for entertainment

Would Jesus enjoy what I enjoy? Yes/No

Would Jesus find the same jokes funny? Yes/No

Would Jesus read or watch the same things I do? Yes/No

Would Jesus listen to the same music? Yes/No

Would Jesus do the same things I do? Yes/No

What changes do you think God would like you to make in what you do or watch for entertainment?

What changes do you think God would like you to make in how much time you spend on entertainment?

First Things First

Learning about God's nature, becoming a disciple

Defeating Temptation

Bible-based steps to take when you are tempted

Breaking Free from Drugs and Alcohol

Bible-based steps to freedom from drugs and alcohol

Who Do You Think You Are?

Enjoying God's love and discovering your purpose in life

In the Bookstore

First Things First

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Understanding God’s nature

Defeating Temptation

13.99

Overcoming sin in your life

Breaking Free (from Drugs and Alcohol)

6.99

Overcoming drugs and alcohol

Who Do You Think You Are?

12.99

See yourself as God sees you
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Copyright © 2004, 2016 Doug Britton. (Permission granted to print for personal use.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from the 1984 New International Version.

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