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Monday, January 26, 2015

The Es of Entertainment, #2 -- Exercise Biblical Discernment

The first biblical principle I shared for Christians to apply was Exalt God (1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 14:6), and the second E of Entertainment is Exercise biblical discernment.  First Thessalonians 5:21 says that we should “examine everything carefully,” and Philippians 4:8 says this: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."

How can you apply these verses to the entertainment you enjoy?  First, you need to know what the Bible says, and you need to evaluate what you see and hear based on what the Bible says.  All of it!  If you just let the modern media soak into your mind without exercising biblical discernment, your mind will be turned to mush (morally as well as intellectually).  So when you watch, read, or listen to anything, Christian or non-Christian, your brain should be in gear, not in neutral.  You need to be interacting with the material in that art form in a manner that is illustrated by the phrase “talking back to your TV.”  Talk back to your music, talk back to your books, talk back to the movie screen—not out loud (though sometimes that might be appropriate!), but in your heart and mind.  And when you see or hear something good, make note of the truth that is communicated or illustrated.  When you see or hear something bad, make note of how and why it displeases God, and think about how and why you should not believe or practice it.  This way you will be “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5), rather than allowing your mind to be captured by the the deceptive and destructive ideas of the enemy.
One way that I have applied this principle in my own life is by “re-interpreting” the lyrics of secular music in a biblical fashion.  If I enjoy the sound of a certain kind of music, I can thank God for giving those musicians (even unsaved ones) the talent to produce it.  But I recognize that the words of the songs are not coming from hearts that love Christ.  So I will often intentionally hear or sing those words with a different meaning than they were intended.  For instance, songs about love and sex can often be “re-interpreted” to apply to my relationship with my wife, even though may have been written about an unmarried couple.  Likewise, single people could think of them as describing a future marriage relationship they would like to enjoy.[1]  This is a legitimate application of Philippians 4:8 above—finding what is good in the things we observe, and disciplining our minds to “dwell on these things.”  Of course there are some songs that cannot possibly be re-interpreted in a biblical fashion, even by someone as creative as myself!  Those songs I do not “dwell on” in my mind, nor do I sing them, because I can find nothing good to enjoy in their lyrics.  And this leads us to the next principle, which will be in my next post…

[1] To say that single people should never even think about love and sex would be to say that they should never read the Song of Solomon, one of the books in the Bible.

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