Thursday, June 5, 2014

Guarding Your Mind

Last Thursday my family and I had the opportunity to go to a movie preview offered by City on a Hill Productions along with Kyle Idleman.  The movie is entitled The Song and is a modern-day retelling of the life of King Solomon.

Now before I get too far, let me say that I am not giving a review of the movie below, but using our attendance and our response to this event to provoke serious thought. My family and I have very strict standards regarding what we watch on television or in movies. Not just the kids, but all of us. We figure that if it isn't good for the kids, it isn't good for us. So, as you can imagine there is a lot that we cannot watch.  One of the standards that we hold is that we will not watch anything that even insinuates immorality. For example, if there is a show that clearly indicates that an unmarried couple has had sexual relations, even if it is not shown, we do not watch it.

The premise is that if an activity that God calls sin is portrayed, then we do not need to feed it into our minds. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."*  God calls us not to put unholy things in our mind. Jesus called lust adultery (Matt. 5:28) and hate murder (Matt. 5:21-22). God sets a high standard for how we are to think because He knows that is where sin begins.

Back to the movie: We knew what the life of Solomon was like. We knew he had many women, so we had already begun to contemplate what we should do if that was portrayed in the movie. At the beginning they portray David's sin with Bathsheba. Nothing is shown, but it is clearly indicated... we stayed. We continued to watch through at least half or more of the movie before Solomon fell prey to temptation. Again, nothing was shown, but the message was clear. At this point we decided to leave. 

The discussion on the way home was  a contemplation of our decision. Were we being "legalistic"? After all, this is a retelling of a true biblical account. I would teach or preach on it. Our conviction was that it was a little different because it added images to the story-telling that perhaps people don't need in this age in which we are inundated with sexual imagery. So, another question we pondered was: Is it okay to push the envelope in producing a movie in order to get the gospel to people who are lost?

The truth of the matter is that we don't know how the movie ended. We don't know if the gospel was presented clearly at the end. We know that "religion" and "religious songs" were mentioned several times throughout the part we saw. So, I don't write this to impose my convictions on anyone, but I do pose a challenge: If you are a follower of Christ, what do you use as your standard to decide what is fed into your mind? It is easy to justify that it doesn't effect you. I know, I used to use that line myself. But even after years of maintaining our current conviction, I still periodically find images I saw two to three decades ago pop into my mind. No warning, no planning, no effort on my part, they just appear.

As you contemplate this question, here is one more passage (though there are many more in scripture): Psalm 101:2-4 says, "I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.  I will set no worthless thing before my eyes ; I hate the work of those who fall away ; It shall not fasten its grip on me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil."

In his book, Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard makes this profound statement, "The ruined life is not to be enhanced but replaced". We are not seeking to improve our lives so we can be "good" people, but we seek to have our lives changed or replaced so we can give God glory out of hearts of gratitude. What we put in will come out and will effect the image of God.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!

For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet

*Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from  New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.

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