• media and the Christian family

Media And The Christian Family Understanding The Danger And What To Do

One of my jobs as a pastor is to warn my congregation of danger in the spiritual world.  There is a real danger I will address in this article. Your enemy, Satan and his demonic influence wants to get inside your home.  We must understand how today’s media and the Christian family can live side by side.  In order for this to happen, you must understand the spiritual world.

Here is a scenario I would like for you to ponder:  What would you do if the place where you and your family dwell had a huge opening in the wall and anybody could just walk in.  Imagine how you would feel if many in our society came in to harass your family. It would be possible for an enemy to come right into your home.  Now imagine that they didn’t just pass through to visit but start living there.  All these individuals said were curse words. It was a constant barrage of F words and taking the Lord’s name in vain, even poking fun of Jesus.  They constantly told you that the clothes you wear and the car you drive weren’t good enough. They told you that you need to spend money you don’t have to feel good about yourself.

Imagine ladies, how you would feel if a scantily clothed woman came through that open space, sat down  on your couch, and started trying to allure your husband. Some even came in after your children.  Not to take them out of the home, but literally to corrupt their souls.  They got your boys addicted to pornography so that they began to view women as mere object for their gratification. They got your daughters so distracted that they no longer did well on their school work.  In fact, they showed your daughters so many images and pictures of what they deemed was beautiful that your daughters no longer felt beautiful on the inside and sometimes they would cry because they felt so bad.  They taught all kinds of falseness and promoted everything that was unhealthy to their souls.

Well, I have new for you today.  Almost every single home in America has an opening, that if it is not monitored, if it is not watched, if it is not made secure, that the enemy on the outside will literally set up camp right in your own home.   There are a lot of people who allow the enemy to actually live right inside their home.

What I am talking about today is all things that have screens:  television screens, computer monitor screens,  iphone screens.  All of these are doors. And if we aren’t careful the enemy will not just occasionally sneak in. He will move right in, take up residence, and take over.  I am fighting for your family by sharing this article.   Let me give you a scriptural foundation.  It is found in the book of Proverbs 24:3-4  NKJV

Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.”

 This scripture clearly tells us that it is through wisdom we build our homes.  It is through understanding and knowledge that we can have our homes filled with that which is precious and pleasant. I know it says riches here. And I am sure it does mean financial blessing, but true riches are not just money and possessions. True riches are right perspectives, and positive relationships. True riches are things that lead to real fun and real life and real joy.

 Today we carry in our pocket a miniature screen that can absolutely become a door for all kinds of things if we aren’t careful.  First the enemy comes into your home, then through your eyes he can come right into your heart.   This is a serious question. Can media and the Christian family coexist?

I am not advocating that everyone get rid of all our televisions and computers. Not unless that is the only way you can be free. What I am saying is that we all, including me, have to be cautious in how we use all of those things. You and I need to be very cautious about how we live our lives, and we need to be able to help the next generation to avoid serious problems.  The truth is that it is extremely difficult to function in a modern world without email, smart phones, texting and yes, even social media.  The world has changed.  I am not saying get rid of all of this. I am saying:  Let’s open the door to the good. Let’s close the door to the bad. Let’s have wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Let’s fill our home with the precious and pleasant riches.

Let me give you the principle you need to bolster your understanding and firm up your motivation to win this war. To properly monitor media and the Christian family, we need to know the underlying principle of why we need to monitor our intake.

Here is the principle:

WE BECOME WHAT WE BEHOLD

There is something inside human nature that when we behold something for long enough, we will begin to absorb its values. What we behold we become. If all I watch on You Tube are racially motivated fights where the African American kid beats down the white kid or the white kid beats down the African American and it is all about racial hatred. What I behold I will become. I will soon start to cheer for my own race and I will become prejudice.

If I am enthralled with pictures that depict sexual content, it will influence me to think about, and eventually act out sexual scenarios.  We become what we behold.

That is why the scripture tells us very plainly what it is that we are to think about.  Obviously when we see something on tv or on our phone, we are thinking about it. The scripture tells us what to think on.

Philippians 4:8 NCV  “Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”

 Why did Paul give us this counsel? Because he understood that what we behold we become.  What we think about we become. What we read we become. What we watch on TV, we could become if we watch it enough. And so, Paul said, fill your mind with true things, noble things, lovely things and honorable things. Because when you do fill your mind with those things. You behold them and that is what you become. What you behold you become.

I want to talk about a man who became what he beheld.  I want to talk about Stephen Curry. As of the date of this article, the Golden State Warriors just won the 2018 NBA championship.  Congrats to all. I didn’t know this about him, but his dad was also in the NBA. His dad’s name is Dell Curry. His mother’s name is Sonya Curry and she had a great volleyball career while she was in college. Simply by observing his parents, their values and life, Stephen was beholding sports and athleticism. I am sure they watched a lot of basketball growing up.  Here is quote from Stephan Curry.

I love playing basketball; there’s no doubt about it. It’s something I’ve been doing since — what, mom and dad, two? With Fisher Price goals. My grandma’s here; we were talking about it yesterday. She used to be my commentator. She used to be Bob Fitzgerald for me counting down the scores. I hit a game-winning shot or whatever, and I’d stumble over and give her a high five, stuff like that.”

 But even in a basketball family, he had a lot to overcome. He could have focused on or just beheld his weakness and inability to shoot, but instead he focused on the good dream of becoming an NBA player.

“When it come to basketball, I was always the smallest kid on my team. I had a terrible, ugly, catapult shot from the time I was 14 because I wasn’t strong enough to shoot over my head, and I had to reconstruct that over the summer and it was the worst three months of my life. You’d think there are no hurdles or obstacles that I had to overcome, but even when I got to high school I wasn’t ranked. I wasn’t ranked. I wasn’t highly touted as a high school prospect. I had nobody really running, knocking on my door saying “Please, please, please come play for our school”

What Stephen Curry did was kept the focus. He kept beholding the idea that he could be an NBA Basketball player. Even though he didn’t get placed in a big college that was known for basketball, he persisted. For three years he played for Davidson College. And finally, in 2009 he was the seventh place draft pick for the Golden State Warriors. Today he is a super star basketball player.

But there is something else about him that I admire. Stephen Curry is also is one who has beheld Jesus.

It was in Junior High School that he answered the altar call and became a believer in Jesus.Let me give you one more quote.

I do a little sign on the court every time I make a shot or a good pass and i pound my chest and point to the sky – it symbolizes that I have a heart for God. It’s something that my mom and I came up with in college and I do it every time i step on the floor as a reminder of who I’m playing for.”

I believe that he will go far as long as he keeps beholding that which is good he will go far. He is a great example of what we behold we become.  This is a positive example of how media and the Christian family can coexist.

Jesus gave us this powerful thought. Matthew 6:22  “The eye is a light for the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.”

 What enters your eye is what you behold-what you see. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. Obviously if your eyes are bad you will be filled with darkness. Jesus was saying what you behold you become. That is why we must protect the eye gate, because the enemy in your home can get down and become the enemy in your soul.

Paul reiterated that principle in  2 Corinthians 3:18  “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Two important words in this scripture are beholding and being transformed.  What we behold we are transformed into.  What Paul is saying is that as we behold God, and see Him as perfect, and wonderful and faithful, and loving, it will have an effect on us. As we behold all of that we become transformed!

We become like Him.  That is why you need to get up in the morning and behold your God. Spend some time in worship and in praise.  Spend some time in the word. Because you will be changed from glory to glory…transformed into his likeness.

That is the good side of what we behold we become. I said all of that to say this: The internet, TV, and movies and You Tube and Instagram have things that Christians should not behold. When sinful media and the Christian family come together without proper monitoring, this can lead to many problems.

We live in a society that is inundated with sensual images. Immorality is flaunted in our face.  Homosexuality is deemed just another lifestyle. Adultery is seen as normal and expected. Only the upside good feeling of drug use is exhibited. And the sad truth is that many just drink in these immoral negative images. We are going to see a powerful effect on the next generation.

20 years ago, according to a survey, 80% of all children under the age of 17 had seen R-rated movies, and 25% said that they began to act out what they saw.  I’m talking about the fact that it used to be that children were introduced to pornography at perhaps age 15 or 18.  Now the average age according to the statistics is about 9 or 10.

Here is sound advice for media and the Christian family.

The most dangerous thing you can do for a child is give them a phone without any kind of restrictions on it.  Parents don’t pretend like your kids are little angels.  They have curiosity. And normal curiosity can turn into a lifetime of bondage. We need to Remember this – that all of the entertainment industry is looking for addicts.  They want addicts.

The gaming industry says,  “We need addicts who are hooked on gambling because they are the ones that pay for these casinos. They are the ones who really pay our bills. We need addicts.”

The pornography industry says, “We need addicts. We need them in order to sustain our lifestyle and our great organization.” So the porn industry is looking for your sons. They are looking for your daughters as well.  They are trolling the waters to see if they can hook your boy so that he can have another addict to help finance the empire. That’s where we are today.

The music industry – the addiction to certain kinds of music, to rap music, many of which have terrible lyrics – is trying to influence the next generation as well. Satanically inspired media and the Christian family should carry opposing values.

It is not just kids that are affected by this. It is adults. It is some of today’s parents. It is some of today’s grandparents.  The Love Boat generation that thinks it’s just okay to hop in and out of bed with whoever, whenever, however.  We become what we behold.

You can see a steady decline in morality in our world.  Our presidents curse. Democrats and Republicans both do this.  Sexual innuendo is everywhere today.  I fear today for the next generation.  They are being exposed at early ages to way too much junk. If you have children of any age up until they are out of your home. I would keep controls on what they see and what they watch and over their phone.

Let me give you some really great advice:

Guidelines for Media and the Christian Family.

  • Do not allow a television set or computer in your child’s bedroom. Keep it all out in an area where all can see.
  • Use Covenant eyes on your children’s phones. This wonderful ministry will either monitor or even filter content and then send accountability reports.
  • If men are involved in pornography, they should seek help at a Celebrate Recovery or other Christian ministry.
  • Evaluate all movies and television watching.
  • Keep the conversation flowing between generations.

I want to give you three tests you need to apply to media and the Christian family.

  1. The Content Test

Evaluate the content.  The greatest thing in the world is the ability to get a synopsis of what you watch before you watch it.  Don’t just assume that something is going to be great.  Go get a review of that movie.

Proverbs 15:14 NLT ““A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash”

Psalm 101:3 NLT  “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.”

We don’t want to fall into legalism here.  But the truth is that we all have to stand before the Lord and an account for our lives.  You are responsible for the content your eyes take in.  Media and the Christian family will get along well if we evaluate all content.

  1. The Control Test

Media competes for control. A new study this month found that over half (52 percent) of Millennials think technology has improved their relationships. And, 91 percent say they have a healthy relationship with tech.  Interestingly enough, the same study found that most Boomers (57 percent) say tech has “ruined” relationships. The study by Qualtrics and Accel sheds new light on how tech plays a role in the daily lives of those 18 to 32 as opposed to older generations. A surprising stat from last year found that Millennials check their phone 150 times per day.

Evaluate who is controlling whom?  Does your cell phone control you?  I check my cell phone too.  But sometimes I just leave it. At times, I don’t get on Facebook.  Why? I don’t want anything to have that much power over me.

1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

You may think you have all this under control. But are you sure you are not like a kid in the grocery store in one of those carts that looks like a car.  He is in there turning the wheel, thinking he is driving. But actually mom is driving.  What is actually driving your life? Does tv control you?  Does your time online control you? Here is a great question, are you the one checking your stuff when you should actually be engaged in real conversation?

  1. The Clock Test

Ephesians 5:15 says, “Redeeming the time.”  Now modern translations say, “making the best use of the time.” I like the literal translation that says “redeeming the time because the days are evil.”

How evil would the days have to get in order for one to have to redeem the time?  The imagery here is buying the time back.  It is almost as though the world system has an agenda for your time. They want you hooked on media. Buy it back.  Redeem the time. There are a great host of people in our world who used to come to church or be involved in ministry but they don’t anymore. What are they doing?  They watch TV.  Now I watch TV as well. It’s okay if the content is appropriate.  However, if that is your major occupation, maybe you should consider doing something different with your life.  Most churches have need of people to serve God, and yet many choose to simply sit at home and watch TV.

Can you imagine standing before the Lord and he says to you,  Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.  By the way, thank you for watching 8 hours of TV every day.  How does this affect families?  I personally know of a young marriage that was destroyed because all he wanted to do was play video games.

Don’t misunderstand me.  It is not all about reading your bible, and praying. Do that, but live a full life!  Get involved in hobbies. Do something productive.   Go fishing.  Make a scrapbook.  Cook dinner for your pastor.  Take up gardening. Go for a walk. When it comes to media and the Christian family we all have to watch the clock.

If you have enjoyed this article, share your struggle with media, or what you and your family do in the comment section below.

About the Author:

Bob Millsaps is a graduate of North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the pastor of Fountain of Life Christian Center in Houston, Texas. He is happily married to his wife Jureen and they have three sons, and one grandaughter. Bob has served the Assemblies of God as a missionary, pastor, youth pastor, and evangelist. Bob currently resides in Katy, Texas

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