So a few days ago I got a discount to Redbox to rent a movie. I had been intrigued to watch Olympus Has Fallen, so I got it. There have been a few movies that I have had the opportunity to watch recently via different means. Unfortunately, contrary to my very real convictions about the unholy nature of much that is in movies and TV these days, I have had a period of weakness where curiosity, about movies unseen or not seen in a long time, has gotten the best of me. I was reminded afresh,with every movie that I watched, why I have that conviction.
There has not been one movie of late, with a rating of R or even PG-13, that has not been all together trivializing of sin and not glorifying to God. Now, I know what you are going to say. It's just make believe, it's not real. It's not like I'm gonna use these words or go out and kill people or have gratuitous sex just because I saw it somewhere.
Ok, how about this? Can you honestly say that, while you are watching a movie involving many people dying in a horrible scene of murderous terror that you think, "many of those people are probably going to hell"! Can you honestly say that you are burdened for the lost in these fictional stories. The typical response, "COME ON JOSH, THAT'S JUST A BUNCH OF LEGALISTIC, RELIGIOUS HOGWASH! IT'S MAKE-BELIEVE HELLO!
That's the point. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT SATAN'S GOAL IS! We have movies making piracy, lust and drunkenness look fun(Pirates of the Caribbean), kids killing each other as a game(Hunger Games), witchcraft(Harry Potter), glorification of homosexuality, fornication or even adultery(you name the romantic comedy or comedy in general), stories about living dead(any zombie flick or show), or horrific scenes of mass death with tons of murder and profanity(Olympus, and most other action flicks these days), then there is REALITY TV, and the list could go on. Satan's goal is to numb us. To dumb down our spiritual discernment so that not only are we not bothered by these things in media, we are also less affected by them in the real world. He wants to kill our witness for Christ. This witness that is the only purpose for which we are left on this earth. To let our light so shine, thus drawing others toward the Father through the Son.
It's not as if the bulk of Christianity is tearing down walls to pursue souls saved anyway. Even if there is a piece of us that wants to. Now, we choose to ignore that piece of reality altogether and escape into fictional stories where it is not even an issue. Where the people are not real thus, neither are their souls. Do you ever stop and think that if the people in the movie died for real in the state they were in that they would probably go to hell?
Listen, I have been struggling here lately and I already have this conviction. So I understand that it can be a battle. The trouble is that for many it is not even a thought, much less a struggle.
Here is the primary problem. My concerns are not religious mambo-jumbo, they are scriptural. Let's take for example, Psalm 101:3-4 which says, "I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil". That pretty well speaks for itself. It has been set before us in scripture as an example of how to live before God.
Then there is Galatians 5:16-25. In vs. 22-25 you have a list of the fruit of the Spirit so that we will know what it looks like to walk by the Spirit. Before this in vs 19-21 you have listed the works of the flesh. Actions that vs. 17 states are against the Spirit: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. It is plainly stated that THOSE WHO DO SUCH THINGS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
How many of these works of the flesh are glorified in the TV and movies that you watch? So WHY are you or I watching them? Why do we fight so hard for the right to watch things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit of God? Things whom, if the people practicing them in the media venue died and could go to hell, they would. The bible says so. How many people do you know in real life that are practicing these works of the flesh? Do you ever think that they are going to go to hell if they die in that state? Does that burden you? It should?
The reality is that most people who are painted as "good people" in movies or TV are actually "good people" who are lost. You can usually tell it by the way they live their lives or even by life philosophies that are fleshed out through their scripted lines. The problem with that, is that it normalizes goodness in spite of sin. You could even say that normalizes sin all together. Most stories do. If the truth be told, many good people that we know in reality today would go to hell as well based on the fruit of their lives. If we really believe what the bible says then that should make us sad and create an urgency for the eternal lives of the lost.
Here is one more scripture. It is known as the Philippians 4:8 test. "Finally brothers, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things". All of things are expected to be held up against the effects and standards of the gospel, not human ideals as they relate. We need to to consider a G rating for everything that we see and hear. G as in God or Gospel. Shucks, if you wouldn't let your 5-10 year old watch it then it is probably not something that we as adults should be watching. It is sad but true. Enough said.
I cannot say that I walk this out perfectly all the time. However, the more I meditate on the words of life that are in scripture; the more the gospel begins to permeate my soul; the more these truths begin to invade everything that I do, including what I watch and how I watch it. God is not commanding us not to ever watch TV or enjoy a movie. Nor am I. That would be legalistic based on scripture. However, God does expect us to be so saturated in His word and the message of the gospel that it informs everything else that we do.
I want to be clear that I am not advocating this line of thought as a means by which to gain favor with God or to earn or secure our salvation. If we are Christians, we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Our favor with God comes through Christ's blood. The bible does make it clear however, that the Holy Spirit, who is a member of the Trinity thus He is God, can be grieved or pleased by the way we walk out our Christian lives(Ephesians 4:30). We are responsible to live lives worthy of the gospel(Philippians 1:27, Colossians 1:10).
If however, you find that you think I am over the top and you have absolutely no interest in considering the point I am making here then there is a problem. I cannot say that you are not a Christian because I am not God. I will however challenge you to examine yourselves and see if you are in the gospel
(2 Corinthians13:5). Hardness of heart toward biblical truths are serious business. You may have had an excuse if you had never thought these things through but once you are exposed to the truth, it should cause contemplation, prayer, and eventually repentance.
My desire is not just that we would all not watch ungodly material. My desire is that we would so desire the glory of God; that we would so desire to find our joy and satisfaction in Jesus, pursuing holiness and Christ-likeness, that the thoughts presented here would not be a big deal That this passion and love for Jesus and His gospel would drive us to desire souls saved and God glorified and cause us to lay down the TV remote, pick up our bibles, and start seeing the lost world right in front of us every day.
May it be so in Jesus name,