Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Goes In....Must Come Out...

              Something I have been pondering on since last evening at our women’s study that I thought I would share with you. Some of you may have different opinions, and what I am about to say I will leave to each one’s own conscience. For some of us, though, I pray that it helps free you from some of the thoughts that you find yourself chained to. The Lord is speaking to me about this area in my life, and perhaps He is with you as well, is so I pray this gives you the freedom you are seeking.
                Last evening, after study was over, we began discussing all the different books, TV shows, and Movies that we find ourselves reading and watching. Now, for me, after I became a Christian, the Lord laid it upon my heart to turn away from secular music. It was not pleasing to Him, and it filled my head with thoughts that did not need to be there. Little by little, He began to show me that the books I read and some of the movies I watch were not pleasing to Him either, and I have let many of the go. However, I find myself drawn to movies that seem to be okay, not rude or vulgar, but innocent in some ways.  I also find that the more I give into the “not too bad” the more I find myself compromising on the “shouldn’t be watching this” movies. One thing I saw this morning, as I was praying and reading my Bible is that our minds are a fortress. They are a battle ground, a place where thoughts come upon us and if we let them, they can slip in undetected and take root in our hearts. The Lord is the Defender of our minds, but He will not stop us from letting things get in, when we want them to. He can only defend what we allow Him to defend.
                As I pondered on this, a few scriptures came into my heart. The first one is James 2:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” The second verse that came into my heart was 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
                The word “unspotted” means just that, without stain or blemish. God calls us to be holy as He is holy. Pastor Rodney Finch once said that “holiness is not achieved, it is received.” God has chosen us to be a special people unto Himself. He asks that we break away from the world and be separated unto Him, which is what Holy means, separate. He bestows upon His people holiness when we give our lives to Christ. He calls us chosen and special, all His. But what does this have to do with what we watch or read? I think it has to do a lot with it.
                What goes into our minds comes from our eyes and ears. What goes into our hearts comes from our minds- the two are connected. I find that if I watch a love story I begin to desire a romantic prince instead of the frog I get sometimes. (My husband is a good and godly man, but to be honest; sometimes our husbands can be frogs!) If I allow these thoughts into my head, then eventually they take root in my heart and I begin to find fault with my husband. I have let the images and emotions felt from the movie take root in my heart.
                God calls us to a place of holiness. And we, as His chosen generation are to be Holy, all His and only His. Some of the books I used to read were not very godly; in fact, they would make me wish and desire for something more in my life than what I had. And God desires us to be content, whether we have our desires or not. Some of the books I used to read would depress me or give me false hopes. Then, after I would sail my expectations back to dry land, I would find myself disappointed and heartbroken, sometimes even resentful to the way my life was. Always searching and looking for something more, when God was telling me to be thankful for what He had given me.
                In Matthew 15:11 Jesus tells us that it is not what enters our mouth (what we eat, or drink) that defiles us and make us unclean, but it is what leaves our mouths. Our minds and our mouths are connected to our hearts. What we allow into our hearts is our choice. I am not saying that we should stop watching all the TV programs out there that we watch, or stop reading Tom Clancy and Stephen King, but I do believe the Lord is asking us to try them. What do these things do to us? If we allow them to take root in our hearts, then we have become spotted, when the Lord clearly wants us to be unspotted and separate from the world.             
                Perhaps you have a different view on this, and there is nothing wrong with that. We all have a conscience that we will answer for  before God- I am not here to judge you or to tell you to stop watching “Survivor”, but what I believe the Lord is calling us to do today is to test and try what we watch and read against His word to us. We are to be showing forth the light of His glory to a world that is lost and headed for damnation. Is what we allow into our minds then affecting that, I believe so.
                I recently went to see a scary movie with my girls. (I used to love scary movies) But as I sat there in the movie theatre, I began to see that the images that were on the screen went against what God wanted for me. I began to see how what I read and what I watch affect my walk more than I wanted to previously admit. This does not mean that we need to pound down the doors of the local library and begin burning books, but it means that we need to take a personal account of our own minds and hearts before the Lord God. He desires to keep us Holy, a special people all to Himself, do we allow Him to do that or do we choose to watch and read things that we know are not pleasing to Him?
                To be the people of God, to be His children, we must allow Him into every area of our lives, even in what we watch and read. Our minds are a fortress which is defended by God to keep thoughts and intents from slipping through the openings into our hearts. What we watch and read has more affect upon us than I think we realize. So, how are we to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and be set apart for the glory of the Lord? We need to ask ourselves, as we are reading or watching a program, “Is this good for me? Is this pleasing to the Lord?” The Holy Spirit will advise you, and if He says, “No,” then we have to choose to walk away from it. When what we watch and read affects how we think and react to everyday life, then most likely the Lord is asking us to let it go and let Him defend the battle ground in our minds.
                I believe (personal opinion) that if we are to be honest with ourselves, there are books, movies and programs that we could stop watching and we would find the freedom and release from thoughts that ought not to be in us. We would be able to withstand much more the attacks as they come, and instead of compromising, we would be able to say, “No, I am to be holy, because my God is holy.”
                The end of the matter is that it comes down to your personal relationship with the Lord. Some of you may say that what you watch and what you read has no affect on your spiritual walk with the Lord, and if that is the case, Praise be to God, because I have not found that to be so in my own walk. We each have to stand before Jesus and answer for our own actions, deeds and words, so I leave with the final words of let each man’s conscience be before him and the Lord. May the Lord God bless you and may you receive the holiness that He desires for your life. In Jesus Name, Amen.