As Christians, we want to live for Christ, honoring Him through the choices we make in every area of our lives, not the least of which being our media choices. This can prove especially challenging in a culture where many of the books, movies, music, and magazine options available to us are anything but Christ-honoring. Add to that the legalistic, man-made rules thrown at us by some well-meaning believers, as well as the knowledge that becoming desensitized to evil is a real trap to avoid, and it can be hard to know exactly which lines to draw for ourselves in the area of media consumption.
As murky as these waters can be, however, it is nevertheless crucial that we purpose to navigate them well. We want to be as David who, in Psalm 119:37 asked God to, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,” but sometimes we don’t know what that means exactly. Are we prohibited from consuming any forms of media at all which are not overtly Christian in nature and message?
Far from laying down hard and fast rules for you to follow, I instead want to equip you today to walk by the Spirit and make decisions on your own according to His leading. To do so, we will look at the qualities of things which we should be filling our lives with, as outlined by Paul in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.”
The first question to consider is this: “Is what I am considering reading, watching, or listening to truthful?” Will it guide you to the truth, or will it fill your mind with lies? Will it equip you to take your thoughts captive or provide you with a whole host of new thoughts you will have to take captive? What will be the long-term consequence, mentally, for you consuming such content?
Is this movie, book, song, or magazine honorable? Does it honor God and those made in His image? Is it honoring to men, women, children, minorities, and those with disabilities? Is it content worth honoring with your time and attention?
Is this form of media just, not only to those who star in it or produce it, but also to those to whom it is marketed? Is its treatment of the object of its focus just? Does it unfairly treat or misrepresent anyone or anything? Does it malign people or build them up? Does it spur on racial injustice or seek to put an end to it? Does it unfairly objectify women or honor them justly?
Is the book, magazine, movie, or song in question pure? Does it promote purity or make fun of it? Does it inspire you to preserve your purity or treat it as something cheap to give away to anyone and everyone? Does it inspire you to wait for your future husband or live faithfully if you are already married? Does it represent sex in a holy way or a degrading way?
Is the content lovely or filled with gratuitous violence, gore, or darkness? Does it spark an appreciation for beauty, creation, and life, or does it fill your mind with disgusting thoughts and images?
Is the media in question commendable? Is it of good report and good reputation? Is it worth giving your time, money, and attention to? Would you recommend it to others? Is the quality high and worth focusing on?
- Morally Excellent
As believers clothed in the righteousness of Christ, we should be choosing media that represents this standing we have in Christ. Is the media you are considering morally excellent in all the ways listed above? Does it esteem God, life, purity, holiness, justice, mercy, and humility? Is it morally excellent?
Ultimately, ask yourself if the media content in question is praiseworthy. Would you share it with others? Would you recommend it to a new, brand new believer or to your younger sibling? Would you suggest to your pastor that he partake in it? Does it live up to God’s standard?
Allow these questions to guide your daily media choices, and you will be well on your way to being able to make Spirit-led decisions as to what you do and do not allow yourself to take in. Choose well, and you and your growth in Christ will be all the better for it!