I am convinced that one of the greatest idols in America today is entertainment. It is not that entertainment in and of itself is sinful, but that the prominent place it holds in many of our hearts and lives is alarming. And on top of that, in many cases the type of entertainment that believers choose to engage in is ungodly, compromising, and dishonoring to God.
I am often shocked to learn of the type of movies, television, music, books, and video games that Christians regularly partake in. If this sounds legalistic to you, consider the words of the apostle Paul: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Do the things that you allow into your heart, mind, eyes, and ears fit with the descriptions in this verse?
We are told to come out from the world and be separate (see 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1). We are told to not allow ourselves to be polluted or defiled by the things of the world (see James 1:27). We are told to be holy as God is holy (see 1 Peter 1:13-16). This is not legalism, it is love. We say no to that which is ungodly because we have already said yes to God.
But aside from how our entertainment can be a compromise with ungodliness and sin, there is another factor that should be considered: Is entertainment depleting your spiritual life?
One of the problems with giving too much time to entertainment is that it can have a neutralizing effect on our spiritual growth. It does this by sucking away our time and sapping away our spiritual hunger.
Time is perhaps the most valuable thing that we have. You can always earn more money but you can never get back time. How we choose to spend our time is a significant indicator of our values and priorities.
It is so important to have an eternal perspective. Part of living in light of eternity means that we live now for the things that will matter then. I cannot imagine someone coming to the end of their life and saying, “Man, I wish I would have watched more TV…” Those who produce much eternal fruit are intentional to spend their time on things that will matter in eternity.
It is not that it is necessarily a sin to watch TV, see a movie, or engage in entertainment. But we only have so much time in a day. We should make sure that the use of our time is a reflection of our values, and that we give the time that is necessary to seek first the kingdom of God. Then, any wholesome entertainment that we enjoy will be in its proper place and not an idol in our life.
2. Spiritual Hunger:
Another problem with giving too much time and attention to entertainment is that it has a way of sapping our spiritual hunger. Instead of an appetite for God’s presence, His Word, and the things of His kingdom, we get “fed” with things that are earthly and soulish.
We should have a hunger for spiritual things. We should desire God and the things of His Spirit. But when we consistently and disproportionately fill our souls with the junk food of entertainment, we have little appetite for the things of God. When considering entertainment, remember this: just because something is allowable, does not mean that it is beneficial.
What I am saying here may not be popular. It may sound legalistic to those who don’t know the beauty of holiness and the value of a life wasted on Jesus. It may be scoffed at by the complacent.
But there is a company rising with eyes fixed on Jesus and hearts ablaze for Him. There is a people who are casting off not just sin, but the “weights” that keep us from running the race that is set before us (see Hebrews 12:1). There is a group of burning ones who refuse to settle for the temporary things of the world, and are enthralled with the things of eternity. They cast down the idol of entertainment not because they “have to” but because they are in love with the One who paid it all for them!