We’ve been going through a process with our students here at Revolution5 Leadership Institute that we are calling our “Media Detox”. It’s not a regular part of what we do, but we felt God telling us to call for a certain type of entertainment fast in which we refrain from movies, television, YouTube and other forms of visual entertainment.
It’s been a beautiful and difficult process. Some students have taken it upon themselves to also give up Facebook or Politics or Sports scores, and just about every one of us has failed to uphold our end of the communal agreement in this Media Detox.
The fact that we’ve broken our end of the commitment to refrain from media shows that we have a much greater dependence on media that we first thought and that we consider ourselves better than one another, because we offer ourselves exceptions that we wouldn’t allow the rest of the group.
Paul loving on us (and the the church in Rome)
During my time with God this morning, I was encouraged by reading Romans 12, where Paul writes:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patter of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
I was struck by the call to wholly and completely surrender our bodies to God; so much of what we ingest through media is far from “holy and pleasing to God”. As much as we love the humor of (insert your favorite comedy show, actor or movie here), I think that, if seen through a mind that is being renewed, we would “test and approve what God’s will is” and be quite sure that this entertainment brings very little laughter to the heart of God. I say this in the knowledge that this convicts some of my favorite movies and TV Shows.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-2
How easy is it to give ourselves the “out” in living purely? Don’t we innately find reasons why “it’s okay for me because…”? It’s easy to elevate ourselves to a place where we don’t need accountability and where we have the ability to filter out sin in media, while we would condemn others for doing the same. This, in itself, is convicting and points out our hypocrisy and need for Christ’s forgiveness.
Not “right in my own eyes”
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5
I’m learning that one of Satan’s best lies is that our decisions have no consequences. But I think, like in the prayer of Jabez, that our sin causes pain for both us and others and we should be very careful about our decisions. Often, our consequences are effecting generations after us, though we cannot see the immediate impact. We are leaving a heritage of obedience or disobedience, pride or humility, love or selfishness.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. Romans 12:17b
This verse is in direct contrast with our earthly tendency to believe that we are correct and everyone else has it wrong; we so easily justify our actions.
A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 21:25
How easy is it for us to think we have it all together and everyone else is the problem? Specifically, in terms of media, don’t we offer ourselves the exception and come down hard on the decisions of others? How is this honoring to God and each other?
We have a responsibility to each other, because we are each members of the same body, to put things that are good and pleasing to God into our minds.
I am not the exception. You are not the exception.