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In the Word

Do our media habits avoid ‘the very appearance of evil?’

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
— Philippians 4:8, New International Version

Once, I accidentally made a pretty huge gash in my left hand. There was lots of blood, nausea, an eventual scar and a pain that was wretched.

Cindy Colley | In the Word

On another occasion, a doctor made a similar gash in my foot to remove a piece of glass. There was lots of blood, a similar scar, but absolutely no pain.

The difference was, of course, anesthetic.

It’s a daily challenge to be in this world and remain insulated from its spiritually destructive components. I cannot imagine going through a day without having to constantly remind myself of what conversations, media and relationships are appropriate for somebody who’s following Jesus. I want God’s Word to be my filter in the nitty-gritty decisions of everyday living.

Sometimes I think we really do mean the big commitment statements we post in our Facebook profiles (“I would give my life for Christ,” “My favorite book is the Bible,” “Growing in Christ is my No. 1 goal”). Yet the inconsistencies in our little decisions don’t sting because we’ve become environmentally and culturally anesthetized.

We find ourselves laughing at all kinds of wickedness as we welcome it digitally into our living rooms, bedrooms and dormitories. We listen to vulgarity and profanity and hardly are aware we’ve heard them.

How can we sing “I am mine no more, I’ve been bought with blood,” or “Purer in heart, oh God, help me to be,” and fail to feel the sting of the destructive media influences that are in direct opposition to these themes?

As the world becomes more and more ungodly, we are lulled into a kind of comfortable moral drowsiness that makes us unaware of the tools in the hands of the devil.

We find ourselves laughing at all kinds of wickedness as we welcome it digitally into our living rooms, bedrooms and dormitories. We listen to vulgarity and profanity and hardly are aware we’ve heard them — even as they erode the values that we’ve professed all along.

It’s helpful for me to constantly remember and repeat the phrase, “Entertainment is optional.” It’s not a requirement for life. It’s far less necessary than retaining my limbs or my eyesight — things that Jesus told us to rid ourselves of if they were causing us to sin, for losing them is better than losing our souls.

I can go to heaven without ever turning on the television. But I can’t go to heaven if I’m not “abstaining from the very appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22).

So many times, I look back and know that a particular decision I made was completely out of alignment with the big profession I have made for my life. Those times are my biggest regrets.

Christ can’t remain in my heart if he’s not affecting my agenda, dominating my calendar, making my choices and shaping my plans.

He is in control of the remote.

CINDY COLLEY lives in Huntsville, Ala., with her husband, Glenn, who is pulpit minister for the West Huntsville Church of Christ. She is the author of books for ladies and teen girls, and she invites women to study with women in churches around the world in “Digging Deep,” a Bible study sharing online study materials and a monthly podcast. The study begins Sept. 1. For details, see www.thecolleyhouse.org.

Filed under: In the Word Opinion

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