There is something that has been really concerning me lately. A few posts back, in 'Sanctification', I touched upon it at the end of the post. I mentioned that where we spend our time and what we choose to put into our minds will shape who we are.
What is concerning to me is where we Christians are spending the majority of our time. Are we spending it on the books that we are reading? If so, what are we reading? Are we spending it watching television? If so, what are we watching? Are we spending it on the computer--facebook, reading blogs, email? So, in doing all of these things, do we spend nearly as much time immersed in scripture? If we don't, than what is shaping our worldview? What we fill our minds with is what will shape what we believe. Period.
Some of the books being read by the average Christian (and being 'loved', I might add) is worrisome. One of those would be 'The Shack'. I'll admit that when I first read this book, I got caught up in the hype. Like many, my rationale going on inside my head was: 'it's just fiction--what's the big deal?' and 'it is 'out of the box' and makes you see God's love in a new light'. I even put it on my book list on the side of this blog. However, the more I thought upon this book, the more something didn't sit right with me. I believe now it was one of those Spirit checks--you know the feeling you get deep inside when you know something is not lining up with God's truth. The more I thought upon how God the Father is depicted in The Shack and how VERY contrary it is to God the Father in the Bible, I started to feel sick. Honestly, if you get down to it, it is absolute heresy. In The Shack, God the Father is depicted as a woman. What in the world? Seriously? Filling our heads with 'theology' contrary to biblical theology, is extremely dangerous. How can we say we believe God's Word 100% and yet read something that is in complete opposition to God's Word and not be put off by it?
Then there are the fictional books by Dan Brown--Angels and Demons and the Da Vinci Code. Again, someone might want to argue that these are just fiction. However, Dan Brown will tell you that he believes the things in these books to be 'truth' (even though they are based on half truths, out right lies and very flimsy conspiracy theories). Again, if we are filling our minds with all of this, but not immersing ourselves in The Truth, our worldview is going to be affected.
Filling our heads with knowledge that is partially true, yet partially 'off' is like standing on a slippery slope. When you stand on a slippery slope your feet slowly slide down until you are standing on different ground. And it happens so gradually you don't know how you got there. That is what is going to happen to our minds. Gradually we will come to a place where we are believing something that is in complete opposition to what the Bible says to be true. And we will wonder how we got there. The bottom line is: are we going to be 'grounded' in scripture or 'man-made' views?
And what about Twilight? Harry Potter? Even though they are fiction are they opening us up to the dark side of evil...little by little making it seem 'okay' and 'no big deal'? Can we run these things by the verse: 'whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admireable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things?' Phil. 4:7 If these things don't pass the standards of this verse, should we be filling our minds with it? 'Come on!', you might say, 'it's Harry Potter! He is harmless!' I just don't see how opening up our minds and the minds of our children to witchcraft and sorcery could be a good thing. And the recent Harry Potter movie seems to be even darker than the previous ones. Again, it's the 'slippery slope concept'--slowly, little by little, the movies are getting a little more risky, a little darker. Little by little, so that the audience doesn't even realize it.
And then there are the television programs....adultery, casual sex, violent killings on detective/police dramas, reality after reality show...all portrayed as the norm. I heard recently, that the average person will waste twelve years of their life watching television. Twelve years. Can you believe that? And we want to argue that this stuff doesn't affect us?
Jerry Rankin in the book Spiritual Warfare, points out that every single thing we do in life either glorifies Christ or glorifies Satan. There is no neutral ground. He quotes C.S. Lewis in his introduction of 'The Screwtape Letters': there is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch and every split second are claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan. Rankin also points out that so often we live in the neutral zone. We don't pointedly choose the things of Satan. We don't want to follow the ways of the world. But neither do we consciously choose and submit to God and following Him. When our minds are in neutral we are vulnerable. We have to fill them with God's thoughts, God's truth, and a conscious commitment to Him.
In close, I leave you with an excerpt from Jerry Rankin's book:
Scripture makes clear that renewing the mind is something we do. "You took off our former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new man, the one created according to God's likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth" (Eph. 4:-22-24). We are constantly putting aside that old nature, the flesh, rejecting it and denying it. We refuse to acknowledge it and give place to it. But how do we put on the new self that is in the likeness of God, that is, a Christlike life? We do that by renewing our minds, making the conscious decision to reject the old, sin nature and choosing to view our life as in Christ. We don't readily do this unless every day we are feeding on His Word and building up our faith in an awareness of God's truth. Only then can we discern and recognize when something is contrary to God's truth and Christlikeness.