There is a choice I have to make every day. I think I might have mentioned before that I used to love watching horror flicks. Especially when I was younger. Honestly, I think it’s a kind of addiction. Fear creates a rush of adrenaline that’s a lot like being high, primarily because you know in reality, you are safe.
I don’t watch them anymore though. I haven’t for a good many years now. My personal choice. But I replaced horror movies with crime drama. I won’t name names, but I have my favorites 🙂
People who know me know that I rarely watch anything at all. First of all, because we simply don’t have television. Well, we do have a television, but no cable or antennae or anything. The only way to watch anything is either on YouTube or Netflix. So when I would sit to watch something, on the rare occasion that I did, I chose crime drama.
It Felt Like Something Was Missing
For some time, I had felt that something was missing in my spiritual life. Like there was something I was doing wrong that was hampering God from moving in my life.
Now mind you, no one is perfect. I know that. In particular, I know that I still mess up on a daily basis. I say words I don’t want to say. I have feelings I don’t want to have. Many times I speak some things I know I shouldn’t. But I pray, almost constantly, for God to set a guard over my lips. I don’t want to do those things.
But even Paul suffered with that affliction.
Right after admitting that he was sold under sin and often slave to a carnal nature, he had this to say:
- For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do. (Romans 7:15)
Apparently he struggled with this choice within himself, knowing to do right, but still unable to do it at times. He went on to speak more about it in verses 19 and 20:
- For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Here, he admits that he misses the mark many times in doing the right thing. On the other hand, he finds himself sometimes doing what he knows to be wrong. But, at least he is able to acknowledge that it is the very sin nature that causes it. This is why the Bible also talks about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Being More Careful
I’ve always known about the Scripture that says, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me,” (Psalm 101:3). But I guess I just never put much thought to it.
It wasn’t until recently, I’d say within the past 8 months to a year, that it’s really taken root. I can see now, how the things I’ve allowed to enter through my eyes has caused me such grief.
Think of it this way… If you were to take a cup and fill it with mud, there’s no room left for anything else. You might be thirsty, but you can’t drink because your glass if full of mud instead of water. On the other hand, you could have filled it with water to start with. Now, there’s no room for the mud!
It is the same basic principle with our minds, only there’s much more at stake. I find that if I fill my mind with fear and drama by watching shows that focus on that, that’s where my thoughts go as well. Every. Single. Time.
But, I’ve found something else too. If I make the choice to spend that time reading the Word, praying, or watching wholesome things, the opposite is true. Then I start to think on those things, and the results are so much better.
The Abundance of the Heart
God knew that we would struggle with our thoughts when we allowed the wrong things in. He even warned us what the results would be:
- …for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (Matthew 12:34)
He said the same thing in Luke 6:45, so it must have been important that He impart that knowledge to us.
You see, the things you fill your mind and heart with, you will speak about it. You can’t help it. It just comes out. You’ll notice that someone who lives and breathes sports talks more about sports than anything else. Someone who loves to play chess will often speak more about that than anything else.
So it is when we give ourselves completely to a certain train of thought brought on by what we watch, or pay attention to. It’s hardwired into our human nature, plain and simple.
Not Just What We See…
In Luke 8:18, Jesus has something else to say: “Take heed therefore how ye hear...”
Hearing things works the same way as seeing things, as it should so happen. I use to think I could listen to just about any kind of music. No big deal.
Except that is IS a big deal!
What is there on this whole planet that’s easier to memorize than song lyrics? Have you ever thought about that? You don’t even have to want to. If you listen to a song a few times, before you know it, you’re singing right along. So every word in that song now resides in your head, rent free.
In my personal life, it’s also been the same story with talk radio. I had to stop that abruptly once I realize how much of peace it was stealing on a regular basis. Some of the things I heard there, I might not have thought myself, originally. But after listening for some time, I caught myself saying “Yeah! I never thought about that! That’s right!”
And before you know it, my peace was out the window. Worse case scenario, I was downright mad! All the while, I was forgetting that it is GOD who sets up Kings and brings them down (Daniel 2:21). It’s not for me to be angry about it or lose my peace because of it.
It’s An Everyday Choice
I still miss those television programs sometimes. Sometimes I try to convince me and God both that it would be ok to just watch an episode or two. Especially the zombie show I was quite attached to! It’s the same story with music. Certain songs, beats and artists have a way of showing up in front of me again and again.
But I have to remind myself, every single day, that it’s a choice I have to make. If it’s true that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), I have to remind myself. And of course it’s true, because God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2).
So if I honor what I need to be doing or not doing, then God will honor that in me.
Maybe you’re not at that place yet, and that’s fine. Everyone has to work out their own salvation (Philippians 2:12) and everyone has to walk the path that God puts them on. I only tell my story hoping that it might be an encouragement to someone who IS where I WAS.
My prayer is that whoever you are, reading this, that God will abundantly bless you right where you are.