Dying for Some Entertainment
Amy Carroll

"You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." Leviticus 20:26 (NIV)

"How can we allow ourselves to be entertained by the things that Jesus died for?" This questions bounded around and around in my head and heart as I watched TV, chose movies, and tuned my radio dial. I heard it at a retreat earlier this year, and it has stuck with me like a burr in my sock after a walk in the woods. It came to my thoughts so often as I soaked in the entertainment of my culture, and it brought conviction on a regular basis.

There was one night in particular that the quote broke powerfully into my life. My son had received a whole season's recording of one of our favorite television comedies. After watching several episodes, I found myself squirming in my chair. Our family has begun reading the Bible through in a year, and we had just completed Leviticus. Time after time as God finished a section of the Law, He would declare, "You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own" (Lev. 20:26). As a family, we had read this phrase over and over.

The Old Testament law makes it clear that the wages of sin are truly death. Until reading these passages myself, I had operated under the false assumption that the Israelites only made a few sacrifices a year. The fact is that 1,231 animals were sacrificed each year in order for the Israelites to fulfill the law. In God's grace, He allowed animals to be sacrificed instead of insisting on the death of the humans that had committed the sin. Can you imagine, though, being a priest in the temple and watching death and blood spilled every single day? Hebrews 9:22 explains it this way, "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (NIV). I believe God's people must have had a very sobering view of the cost of sin and the price of forgiveness.

How lightly I often treat sin today! Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid the ultimate price in giving His life. He allowed His own blood to be shed so that He could be the Sacrifice of all sacrifices. He was the final and complete sacrifice. Jesus' death set us free from sin and death and paved our way to a life of holiness.

As I contemplated the sitcom I was watching in light of such a sacrifice, I realized that there was a choice to be made. I could continue to laugh at things that the Bible clearly calls sin and turn my back on the gift that I had been given, or I could choose holiness. It made my heart ache that I had chosen entertainment over Jesus for even a minute, so I hit the "stop" button. I turned to my boys and softly said, "How can we allow ourselves to be entertained by the things that Jesus died for?" I gently explained to them how God had been convicting my heart and asked them to choose holiness with me.

I'm sure this will be an ongoing struggle as God calls me to evaluate my entertainment, but I'm choosing to win one small victory at a time.

Dear Lord, we are inundated everyday with choices to be made about our entertainment. I desire to honor Your sacrifice. Help me to choose wisely. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

Visit Amy Carroll’s blog

Intimacy With God Prayer Journal by Tara Furman

Application Steps:
Evaluate your own entertainment by scriptural standards.

Do I ever feel conviction as I watch TV, take in a movie, or listen to music?

Will I accept that "nudge" as a message from the Holy Spirit to make a choice that honors God?

Power Verses:
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV)

© 2010 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Sharon Sloan said...

Amy: thank you so much! A few years ago, the Lord gave me this verse, which is the verse I go to each time we turn on the television.

Psalm 101:2-3
"I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house
with blameless heart.

I will set before my eyes
no vile thing."

My heart is reassured, refreshed and encouraged. Thank you, Amy!

Blogger Karen said...

Thank you so much for the truth! I think you hit on a big problem our generation has. Thank you for your honesty. I pray my household and I would also choose well!

Thank you

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this confirmation. I'm often told that I am "too sensitive" when it comes to 'entertainment' and that it isn't "THAT" bad to watch! However, I feel it is the nudge of the Holy Spirit turning my eyes, ears and heart away from the sin that I see.
I pray my family will stand firm in God's truth and turn our hearts away from such filth. Thank you for your words of encouragement. They brought peace to my heart. =)

Blogger Kara said...

What a great post to begin my day with! It's a very easy and gentle way to explain to kids why we make the decisions that we make when it comes to entertainment.

A great reminder for me!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how God works!! I am one of 4 teachers for 6th grade Sunday School and this is the very topic we have been covering for 3 weeks. I cannot wait to take this devotion to them so they can have another's perspective about the same topic! God's perfect timing :).

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you Amy for sharing God's truth about such an important subject. Many times I've watched something that makes me feel uncomfortable. Usually it's like you said, a popular weekly comedy on TV. I find myself thinking, "I know that so and so watches it and they are a Christian, so I guess it's ok". Thank you for reminding me today to listen to the Holy Spirit & turn the channel when something comes on that makes me feel uncomfortable. Another great verse to read each day is Philippians 4:8, "Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great devotional! Finding TV shows and movies that are appropriate is a challenge, especially as my children get older. (Sadly, I've had to train my kids to mute the commercials, when not on a kid station). Wouldn't it be something if all Christian women who found such programs & commercials offensive spoke up loud and clear!!! It is good to switch the channel to protect yourself and your own family, but it would be great to join forces for a larger impact and a future impact. What if we all let the networks and companies advertising (ex. Victoria's Secret, ED medications, ads for the next Desperate Housewives show, etc.) know that we are outraged and offended, and therefore, switching the channel or just plain turning the TV off! Any ideas?

Blogger T-Reese said...

I have made quite a few choices as far as "entertainment" is concerned. I am so thankful for this devotional because it is a reminder to STAY HOLY! Not to slack up. My only issue is that my hubby is not there yet and it's hard to keep my kids and myself covered when a lot of times he is watching things that cleary are inappropriate. Please keep praying for me and my household. Be blessed.

Blogger Unknown said...

This is so timely for me. In fact I was thinking about this very issue last night after sitting thru a two-hour, edge-of-your-seat season finale...

Thank you for sharing your struggle and encouraging me to choose holiness.

Blessings to you,

Blogger Nancy M. said...

It was only a few yrs ago when my step-sons still lived at home that I wanted to post Ps 101:3 over the TV. Sharon already posted it here: "I will set before my eyes no vile thing." (Thank you, Chuck Swindoll for your teaching on that verse, way back when.) It really saddens me to hear Christians talk about what I believe are ungodly TV shows or other forms of what I believe are ungodly entertainment. God is the ultimate judge. "He who is not with me is against me" (Matt 12:30, Luke 11:23). There really is no such thing as "harmless entertainment," is there? ♥

Thank you for getting this message out there! It is a call to action, and an encouragement.

Over the past decade, i have been more & more sensitive to what the media is putting out as entertainment. I didn’t watch a certain [desperate] series for years - and was greatly disturbed, when i decided to check it out, just out of curiosity. Aside from the more obvious series, decaying morals & values have slowly permeated almost every program that I used to watch.

One thing that Christians face everywhere, particularly due to our generation of world media - and especially in developed and "worldly" countries ...is that we are supposed to have our own culture: not seamlessly blend into the ever-decaying popular culture that surrounds us… but we don’t seem to know how.

We are to go into the world, which means we don't huddle & hide out; but we have to show them the alternative to a dark & depraved existence. How to do this, and be relevant - not repelling, is the issue.

This is something for which i hope you will lift me up in prayer: i live in another country, whose culture is similar to the Roman/Greek cultures of history. I've lived here 3.5 years, and have yet to hear a joke in a group setting that is not based on sex/sexuality, etc.

I recently found out that because i don't participate in these group discussions (i always politely decline) ...that i am considered the subversive one. uh-huh. Grin. On Saturday, i leave on a trip with a group of about 60-80 couples, and to my knowledge, not one is a Christian.

This is the setting in which i will need to take a stand: one that has been a long time coming - it's the showdown that everyone is waiting for, that has been building over the past three years, and highly anticipated over the past month. (so i just found out...)

I want to do this in Christ's love - not condemnation. I also want to do this in a way that will respect my husband, in this group of his peers. (He is very concerned about what others think.) Please pray with me, that Christ will give me the right words to say to draw them to Him, and not push them away.

(There is a very twisted view of Christians in this country, so the general population is usually wary when they even hear the word "God". Also, this is a polytheistic culture - and it is common to see all forms of religions blended into a personal mix/favorite.)

Thank you again for the encouragement. I am encouraged to know that this is something that the Holy Spirit is placing on many hearts. I welcome any pointers.

A Sister in Christ

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen and amen! In the end we are all accountable to God for our choices. We need to choose well.

Blogger Amy said...

Your sisters will be praying for you on your trip!


Anonymous Terri said...

How interesting, some friends and I were talking about this very issue the day before, and then last night we had dinner with some other friends. After dinner they wanted to watch a movie that my husband and I had already decided we were not okay with. We took our kids and went home. It was hard, we wanted to spend time with our friends. Thank you for the encouragement to choose purity. Now the struggle is to live it in prayerful humility, not broadcast my feelings on the issue to others. Let us all win the people around us by our loving devotion to our Lord!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amaris - I will be praying for you. God is with you.
" You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

Blogger Kelsie said...

Thank you for this devotion! God has worked on my husband and me in this area, and I am SO thankful! I am saddened by all of the time I spent in front of the tv, watching ungodliness, and being affected by it. I know I was desensitized...let's not fool ourselves! I'm so encouraged that we're not the only ones who desire to be different in today's society, even among Christian circles. May God bless our efforts toward holiness.

Wow! What a challenge! Thank you for encouraging us to put the walk behind the words!

Thank you so much for your prayers!

I just want to let you know that i was able to witness to a lady who was raised as a Catholic, and has recently "settled on" a form of witchcraft as her main religion - although she said that she doesn't believe all of it. We talked for about 2 hours, and i am now looking for [good] resources in Portuguese.

She is particularly interested in reading Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive, by John Eldredge - even if it's in Spanish.

Thanks again for your prayers! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate what is a valid argument but the inability to articulate a more intelligent understanding of the modern media age and it's power for positive as well as negative influences in the world we live in today will more likely alienate young minds than win them over to see no evil, hear no evil.

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