As if we needed another reminder that the vast majority of media is hostile toward the real God, this week has been a perfect motivator to live completely off the grid and away from anything resembling a digital screen. From movies that promote aberrant lifestyles and false ideas about God to television shows that push the boundaries of what is considered fit for public consumption, saints are having to make difficult choices for themselves and their children. While Satan’s grip on music, television, and cinema is not new, he has certainly made broader inroads even since I was a rebellious teenager seeking out illicit content to consume. How are those who are called to Jesus’ holy name to respond to the currently vile (and worsening) state of popular media and discourse? I would propose, the answer is to do the same thing we’ve always done.
Embrace being different. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” (I Peter 2:11) Saints were never supposed to “fit in” with the world and be like them in what they find pleasurable. We were called to live as visibly different, and present a ready contrast. “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” (Ephesians 5:11-12) When we live this way, it will not be easy, but it will be what pleases Christ. Those who slander and malign us for being different will have to answer for themselves. (I Peter 4:1-6)
Value holiness and purity. There was a time when Daniel was praised when he “made up his mind that he would not defile himself” with the pleasures of Babylon. (Daniel 1:8) The young evangelist Timothy was even told to battle being taken lightly for his youth by maintaining his purity. “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but [rather] in speech, conduct, love, faith [and] purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (I Timothy 4:12) We cannot say that we are following God, and then also allowing our lives to slowly drift away from His values by filling our heads with vile words and pictures. (I Peter 1:14-16)
Delight in God’s word. There is no way to retrain our tastes and undo the damage of the world like spending time in the scriptures. The longest chapter in the scriptures is completely dedicated to how much we should appreciate God’s word. “From Your precepts I get understanding / Therefore, I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:104) Parents were instructed to discuss God’s law with their children constantly. They weren’t to reserve studies of God’s word to two days a week, but were to be “talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19)
The problems with evil influences in the world are not new, but neither is the solution. Will we love God’s values and gifts enough to make use of them for ourselves and our families?