Giving up anything that we enjoy is hard to do, but when it goes against God, we don’t really have much choice. Well…we do…if we want it to be about ourselves.
There is a lot in my life that I do for me, not God, no matter the excuse. How I am entertained is often one of them.
23 Minutes in Hell, a book by Bill Wiese was a wake-up call for me, especially in my life.
There were a few YouTubers…okay a handful if not several, that talked about inappropriate things (sexual jokes, supernatural stuff like ghosts/mediums, gossip, etc.) Many cursed A LOT. But, then came my excuses, “They’re funny! They’re creative! They have good ideas!”
Every single one of us has been gifted with talents by God, but that does not mean everyone will use it for Him.
When God really spoke to me through the book about Hell and really desiring to draw closer to Him. I knew many of the YouTubers I watched had to go. I knew some YouTubers who didn’t curse, but they shared a lot of supernatural or creepy stories.
There is nothing in scripture that encourages us to focus on death, spirits, or negative events in general. I used to be really focused on murder mysteries, but murder is evil. Knowing the intimate details of how someone was hurt and killed gives me nothing good. It doesn’t reflect Christ. It doesn’t help me help others with Christ.
There were a lot of things I was interested in purely because I was entertained, that’s why I later posted Are We The Rich Man With Our Entertainment?
There were shows I really liked maybe even loved because they were well thought out stories. The characters were fleshed out. The backstories were amazing. But there were themes sprinkled throughout with cursing, demons, spirits, nudity, lust, murder, self-power, idols, magic, etc.
I know people may argue that we only give up things when we are convicted. But during this time, something God revealed to me was, WE ARE ALREADY TOLD WHAT TO STAY AWAY FROM IN SCRIPTURE!
This isn’t to say we won’t be convicted in other areas as we draw close to the Lord, but we do not need more conviction to know certain things are wrong in scripture. THIS IS AN EXCUSE we give ourselves!
We keep pressing it off like, “Oh, God, give me a sign if You really want me to give this up.” or “Oh, well, it only happens occasionally, it’s NOT THAT BAD!”
Do you know how frogs are boiled? (Stay with me, I know it’s a weird transition)
The water is slowly turned up on them so they become accustomed to it. They don’t notice the gradual changes or warning signs. By the time they are aware, it’s too late.
What are we pushing off that we don’t think is a big deal?
When I first gave up these YouTubers who were and are funny, creative, have good ideas, or interesting stories…my flesh fought me for days and some weeks ahead. “It’s just a video,” I’d tell myself, “God is worth more than this.” But I missed being entertained by these people. I missed the stories and characters from shows I gave up. I was sad, yes sad, that I had to give up these people and episodes. But God deserves better, and I knew that.
During this time, He taught me so much about what it meant to deny our flesh. It hurts at first, sometimes a lot. It doesn’t mean we’re a bad Christian for having this reaction. It means we are saying no to our flesh and selfish desires. It means we are denying what is trying to get us to deny Christ.
(NIV) Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
Most modern family shows I can’t watch because the elements aren’t really family friendly in a Christian sense. But God has provided older tv shows I actually like. Strangely enough, there have been a lot of Christian movies added to the services I use, and at some point, I’ll probably invest in PureFlix (like Netflix, but pure movies).
And the YouTubers I gave up? Steadily, God has been providing Christian YouTubers for me. He has encouraged me and helped me to listen to more sermons online, and I have. In fact, now I’m sensitive when videos take God’s name in vain. I’ve cut out YouTubers who simply take God’s name in vain. It bothers me when I hear His name taken in vain, and it at one point it didn’t because the world takes His name in vain at the drop of a hat, they don’t care. But He’s my Savior! I care!
He has been teaching me so much about temptation and how we sometimes see only the big temptations we want to get rid of. However, we can’t do that when we are exposed to other things. To us, they may appear to be smaller, and not mean as much like tv shows, music, books, or podcasts we listen to. But they hold great value and strength over us.
I gave up things in my life that I thought I couldn’t give up, but God helped me. He helped me see how fleeting these things are. How though, in the moment, these things may be difficult and may be hard because I have less in common with people, it’s worth it. Giving up what is not Christlike helps me be an example, it truly draws me closer to Christ and makes my life all about Him. It gives Him glory and He absolutely deserves it!
I’ve found more freedom in Christ because I’m not partaking of the world. I’m not constantly hearing swearing, tempted with lust, or focused on negativity like gossip, judgment, and darkness (murder, ghosts, etc.). Personally, I’ve experienced less negative thoughts and anxiety, and it’s wonderful.
This post isn’t meant to force anyone to feel guilty about what you watch or listen to. But I want you to ask yourself, “Is what I am exposing myself to through watching, listening, or even playing, is it truly Christlike, does it stand for what Christ stood for, could it tempt me with deception and sin?” And if anything you watch or listen to does go against Christ please consider how that affects your walk with Him. Even if it seems small… one day a seed becomes a tree. Everything adds up in our life.
(NIV) John 12:25, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Song Inspiration: Ready To Be Myself by David Dunn
If you are interested in me writing more about this, please let me know 🙂
Monthly Scripture – (NIV) 2 Corinthians 4:02, “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”
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