Junior year at our public high school, English class included a unit on media and society. I was surprised when my teacher, a Christ-follower, showed an episode of a popular cartoon television comedy.
As a young believer, I was appalled. The pseudo-humor denigrated women, depicted soft-core porn, cursed, blasphemed the Lord’s Name, badmouthed family, dishonored parents, and more…
After a conversation with her, I realized my teacher’s wisdom: what a clear way to portray the potentially poisonous effects of media on society. I couldn’t wait for group discussion; now my classmates would certainly understand.
However, to my utter dismay, the majority gushed about how they enjoyed the episode and hoped we’d watch another next class. After all, “it might not be good for children, but it’s perfectly fine for me.” I was troubled by their double standard.
Most of these class members were not believers in Jesus. But many professing Christians similarly lack discernment. It’s concerning and can be quite dangerous.
In Philippians 4:8-9, the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul: if it’s true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy let it into your head, so you can think about it (vs. 8). Whether we like it or not, what we let in our heads sinks down into our hearts and begins to flow out in what we say and do. When you put Christ-honoring things into your heart and into practice, there’s a promise: God will be with you (vs. 9).
Is this passage written centuries ago to a group of Philippians really intended to serve as a filter for modern-day Jesus-followers? That depends on whether or not we want God to be near to us. It depends on how much we desire to walk closely within His will for our lives.
Christian liberty and grace are not licenses to love the things of the world, pursue youthful lusts, or naively believe everything we hear (Rom. 6:1-4; 2 Tim. 2:22). I’d like to sound the alarm and call for discernment.
Discernment is not only required for entertainment choices. It enables believers to test teaching and counsel. We must hold every truth claim up to the standard of the Bible, as the Bereans did (1 Thes. 5:21). They didn’t even take Paul’s word for it; they tested his teaching according to God’s written Word (Acts 17:11). Let’s be wise and not believe all we hear. Let’s not do everything the world around us does.
If we follow Christ, let’s ensure His message is never compromised. Guarding our hearts yields clear minds to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice (Prov. 4:23). Then we can discern the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2). When we discern His will, we ready ourselves to carry it out. Let’s gear up for the journey!
What has your experience been like with hearing the Spirit’s voice and discerning God’s will?
Do you have any specific media intake boundaries that you’ve set for yourself or decided on together as a family?
We’d love to hear from you…