Monday, October 08, 2007

The whole, not in part

To follow up my last post on my love of fiction, the good kind, but most especially the good kind that is redemptive in nature...

Several years ago a certain movie was taking the world by storm. It was a love story, but not just any love story, a great love story amid even greater tragedy. The movie itself offered spectacular cinematography and amazing special effects, proving to be an Oscar-worthy film. As I said, it was a love story, a forbidden love, a love that ultimately expressed itself outside the realm of Biblical morality, if you know what I mean. But upon watching the movie I reasoned, however subconsciously, the characters were so much in love, their fate doomed, their love so right and so tragic, that, well, it not only seemed right for them to thus engage, but also acceptable and even beautiful.

That is, until I read an article in a magazine published by Focus on the Family. In this particular article, the author spoke specifically of this film and the worldwide fascination it generated. She made the point that we were entertaining ourselves with such obviously immoral behavior to the point we had excused it, rationalized it and even appreciated it. This kind of entertainment, the author asserted, was in direct conflict with our holy calling as Christians.

This came as a shock to me. Suddenly, I realized that I had never once thought of honoring or dishonoring Jesus even in my entertainment choices. My entertainment, the movies and shows I watched, the books I read, well, that seemed sort of outside of Him.

And actually it was.

It wasn't that I didn't want Him to be a part of my life, I did. I would have even claimed He was "the most important part of my life." But therein lies the problem: He was only part of my life. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, offered Himself on the cross to die in my place, returned to life on the third day, not just to be a part of my life, or yours. He wants it all. In fact, He demands it all. "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it..."

He is to be my LIFE. All of it. Whatever I do, whatever movies I watch or books I read, I am to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, for His glory.

I don't have to tell you this revelation radically changed the way I viewed my life. I now saw it as a whole, all given to Him, every single part.

Am I saying I no longer watch movies? Or that all forms of entertainment are evil and to be avoided? No, not in the least. I watch movies. I read books. Yes, I even watch tv. God made us with a capacity for laughter and joy and I think He is honored by the entertainment that is pure and honest.

Someone may say that that movie and others like it merely portray life as it is. Life is sometimes--okay, nearly all the time--irreverent and sinful and immoral. I agree. I think the problem lies in the glorification of the immorality. Depravity depicted as depraved only reinforces our desperate need of God's mercy and grace. Depravity depicted as beautiful and acceptable, or (hear me) even funny, glorifies--however subtly, however obviously--our sinful nature, effectually counting the cross as foolishness.

I think there are few areas in our lives that offer more temptation to adopt the twisted value system of our world than our entertainment. Here lies the greatest struggle to "come out and be separate," to live distinctive and different, marked as belonging to the one and only Holy and Righteous God.

5 comments:

  1. I know what you mean, friend! I recently felt convicted about a couple of tv shows, and gave them up. I still watch TV, but make much better choices now.

    Praise the Lord...He's taken care of it, because I have no strength to do it. I'm sure the war's not over, but this particular battle has been won!

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  2. I absolutely agree and feel the same convictions in my own life. Great post Lisa!

    Jennifer

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  3. Lisa, I really appreciate your thoughts here and also in your 'on my mind' post.

    I do think we see God in a far too casual manner. It's almost as though we've become too familiar - we see glimpses of Emmanual throughout His Word and think we have a handle on the riches of His character. Wouldn't it be refreshing if we revered Him as He ought to be, and loved Him more for His holiness?

    'In The Face of God' by Michael Horton and 'The Joy of Fearing God' by Jerry Bridges are two titles that speak to this issue.

    As for as your assertion that "We laugh like the world." - I have to agree. It really says a lot about how much of my heart is surrendered to God when I sit down for a 'bit of entertainment'- especially when it comes to t.v.

    If it is not suitable for children, and we are to have a child-like faith, why is it suitable for adults? If I would NOT be comfortable sitting on the couch next to my Savior, my mother, my pastor, or my child - watching what passes for entertainment, why am I there?

    Please let me know if you've found anything on t.v. that is lovely, pure, noble, or of good report - I've given up! We are unplugged - and out of step with the world, I'm sure!

    Your hair issues are really the easiest to fix and least contraversial - but only if you like hats! 'A women's hair is her crowning glory' - my Nanny paraphrased frequently. I've been in the same bad color job boat - and I felt so unattractive. I had an expert colorist match my own color - she striped the orange with a 'malibu' treatment that is supposed to take out rust and minerals, but it worked great and I didn't have any root lines as it grew out to my 'dark brown with a bit of salt' color! All for about $60! Small town hairdressers know their stuff and charge a lot less so it's worth the drive to the country for me! I do hope you get your pretty color back!

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  4. was that Titanic? just curious because that is exactly why i dislike that movie. it pulls you in until you find yourself wanting them to get what they want, regardless of the wrong way they're going about it. it's a beautiful, well-done movie...just not honouring to God in the way they live--but soooo easy to try and justify!!

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  5. Lisa,

    You know, this sort of this is precisely why I cannot go to the typical "chick flick," as they are called. It isn't because I don't like all that "mushy stuff." It is b/c that "mushy stuff" is almost always sinful. It gives me the creeps.

    On the other hand, I have no problem watching movies where people get beaten to a pulp...but only if they really deserve it.

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