Well, folks, Fall is back in full swing! Orlando just had its first wave of cool, crisp air (and by cool, I simply mean NOT blazing hot…75 is a bigger deal than it should be around here), pumpkin spice lattes are back with a vengeance and yes, all of our favorite Fall TV series are luring us back into their weekly addictive traps. Despite the blistering Florida heat, I’m especially grateful for the summer season this year as it gave me some much-needed time away from the television trap. Enough time away that I was able to get a little perspective on the things I let slowly seep into my life. Ok, so I know you’re all DYING to know what I’m talking about. No? Well I’ll tell you anyway.
I was sitting at my TV for a short (and recently rare) TV break the other day when the commercials scrolled through a few new series and season premiers. Woah! My heart was immediately and deeply burdened. How had I not noticed this before? My screen flipped from scene to scene of infidelity, sex, lies, cheating, lust, adultery, murder…even in the shows that I was regularly watching just a few short months ago. I guess I was always aware of these themes but the summer break gave me just enough time and perspective to finally see with my spiritual eyes, what I was corrupting with my earthly eyes. There were a couple important things that scrolled through my mind and my spirit that I thought might be worth sharing.
1. Your Physical Eyes Can Affect Your Spiritual Eyes
I’ve always been very black and white about my moral standards. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a Christian family who taught me thoroughly about the Biblical standards of right and wrong. There was no sway or doubt. But, over the last few years, I found myself wrestling with my moral stance on issues I used to feel so firmly about. Suddenly, there was this blurry gray area. I’m sure part of this is a part of the normal growing-up process. You know, having to suddenly decide, without the guidance of others, what you believe, who you believe, how you believe it and so and such and such, yaddayadda. But there was this gray area that was slowly growing, taking over my spirit and causing great confusion. My line of moral standards was getting blurrier and blurrier.
The Lord revealed to me that the start of all of this graying and blurring began when I let the world have a say in my regular thought-life. IE: when characters like Olivia Pope (You know, the one sleeping with the married President and also sleeping with that other guy, lying to so-and-so, cheating with that other guy…. Er, ahem, the “white hat”) became my moral compass. That may sound a little exaggerated. I certainly wasn’t thinking that was my moral compass. But let’s look at what scripture says:
Matthew 6: 22-24:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
Soooo, my eyes are a lamp to my soul? Yep. And what was I placing before my eyes? Sin. Wickedness. Sex. Adultery. Lies. Cheating. Yikes! And how often was I countering that with the Word of God? Sadly, not enough. And that, my friends, is how we get to point number two.
2. Your Ears Will Listen To What Your Eyes Are Open To
The more I watched Olivia Pope and Meredith Grey, the less I was surprised by their actions. The less I was surprised by their actions, the more those actions became “normal”. The more they became normal, the more easily they became “acceptable” or “excusable”. See where I’m going with this? It’s way too easy. And the sad thing is, you’ll never see it coming. Suddenly that voice that was screaming in your Spirit, telling you to “stop watching this!”, is becoming quieter and quieter. Now you can watch that show in total “peace”. You’ve now listened to the louder voice (your TV) and have lost your ear for that still, small voice of conviction (The Holy Spirit). Is it really ok that you’ve come to be at peace with sin? The Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
So if the way we are relaxing and “renewing our minds” is by sitting in front of the television, watching sinful behavior and rooting for our favorite adulterous couples, we will slowly lose our ability to test and approve. Maybe we should take the approach David did when he wrote, “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. “ (Psalm 101:3)
I know this is longer than my usual posts. The Lord just really burdened my heart to be more careful about the things I set before my eyes. I want to encourage you as well to open up your spiritual eyes and once again become “uncomfortable” with the things of this world. Maybe you still want to have some down time and relax in front of the TV. Me too! We all need a little downtime. But maybe you can put those spiritual testing and approval skills to use: choose shows that don’t dishonor the Lord. Choose shows that will improve your thought life and help you remain focused on heavenly things. We mustn’t forget that our purpose in this life is to honor and glorify Him. My prayer today is that we may ALL do a better job at honoring God in EVERYTHING we do.
Colossians 3: 1-10
“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…Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”