Check It Out!
One of the mottoes that I live by is this: Be in the world, but not of
the world. That doesn't mean I never listen to secular music or go
to movies, concerts, and sporting events. I think it's acceptable to
engage in some of the world's pleasures, as long as they're not sinful
(chocolate excepted). Only now I'm more conscious about
how I spend my time. I find myself frequently asking the WWJD
question: "What would Jesus do?"
You may have seen the letters WWJD on rings, bracelets, and
necklaces. They're not as trendy as they were a couple years ago,
but the concept they convey is important. WWJD is a good question
to ask as we make our daily decisions.
Recently, a girlfriend told me that her husband had been invited
to a Korn rock concert. He had decided to go, and my girlfriend
was unhappy about it. She didn't feel that this type of
atmosphere was appropriate for a Christian. I had to agree. The
reason is that Korn's music has anti-God/anti-Christian lyrics. Jesus
wouldn't go to this type of concert, so why should we?
Some people argue that the reason for going into a worldly
environment is to "witness" for Christ. What kind of witness is it to
be seen where God's name is being dishonored and immorality
promoted? Can you imagine Jesus going to a place like an anti-Christian
rock concert except to condemn it? I don't think so! The
apostle Paul told us to "abstain from all appearance of evil"
(1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV).
Before deciding to go somewhere controversial, think it over!
Ask yourself these questions:
* What is my purpose in going?
* Would Jesus feel comfortable in this environment?
* Have I prayed about this decision?
* How can I have an impact on people for Christ?
* Will I face peer pressure and temptations that could make
me feel uncomfortable?
* Will the environment harm me spiritually?
I understand how difficult it can be to turn down an invitation
when you really want to go. Thoughts run through your mind like
"All my friends will be there!" and "I'll feel left out if I stay home."
Why is it unwise to hang out with unbelievers and people who
compromise? As long as you're avoiding sin, does it really matter if
you get as close to the world as possible? The Bible speaks directly
about this subject in 1 Corinthians 15:33, which says, "Do not be
misled: `Bad company corrupts good character.'" Just like gravity,
you have a greater chance of being pulled down than of being
lifted up. By "hanging out" with unbelievers and people who are
not strong Christians, we expose ourselves to temptations that
might weaken our resistance. Human beings are, after all, social
creatures. We are inclined to follow the herd. As the prophet Isaiah
put it, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned
to his own way" (53:6). That's why it's important to prayerfully
consider the WWJD question (along with the others listed above).
Asking "What would Jesus do?" is not only helpful in the context
of choosing friends and activities but also in many other situations.
Here are some examples:
* If someone hurts your feelings, WWJD?
* When you're tempted to compromise your beliefs, WWJD?
* If you're angry and want to take it out on someone, WWJD?
* When you see a person in need, WWJD?
We find the answers to these questions in the New Testament.
It is here that we understand who Jesus is and how we can model
our life after Him. As Paul wrote in Philippians 2:1-2, "If you have
any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort
from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness
and compassion, then make my joy complete by being likeminded,
having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose."
Our goal should be to imitate Christ! That's why the WWJD
question is important-it holds us accountable. Of course, we're
going to stumble now and then, but we should strive to be perfect,
as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Have you considered what a privilege it is to have a personal
relationship with Jesus? To know He has forgiven all your sins and
to be able to communicate with Him at any time? When we really
know Him-really love Him-we want to be found blameless in His
sight. There's no greater joy or satisfaction! Everything hangs on
that one question: WWJD?
(1)Describe a time when you made a moral decision based on your relationship
with the Lord (for example, whether or not to attend a drinking party).
(2)What can happen to a Christian who socializes with unbelievers?
What are some ways you can imitate Christ in your life?
CUTCheck It Out!
It began as just another night at the movies. Some college girlfriends
and I drove to the local theater to check out a popular comedy.
When we got there, I recognized three guys from school.
They happened to be sitting in the row behind us, so we chatted
with them awhile before the show started.
Thirty minutes into the film, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable.
We had already heard foul language and sexual jokes and
witnessed a couple of tasteless scenes. It was about this time that I
turned around to say something to one of the guys. I was surprised
to see that all three of them were gone! They had walked out of the
theater, obviously as a result of the disturbing content.
Their response had a profound impact on me. I really admired
the guys (football players, no less!) for adhering to their convictions.
It also provoked some interesting thoughts: 1) Was there a
standard that all Christians should follow? 2) Shouldn't my girlfriends
and I have walked out, too? 3) Why were we still watching
the film? Since that experience, I've become much more selective
when it comes to movies.
Now don't get me wrong-I love a good movie! The right one
can make you laugh, cry, or even transport you to another place in
time. It can inform, instruct, change your way of thinking (for the
better), and leave a lasting impression. Over the years, there have
been a number of films that have affected me this way.
On the other hand, let's admit that there's also some pretty
terrible stuff out there. Here's where discretion comes in. We need
to make a conscious decision about what types of films are off our
Whenever I go to the video-rental store, I'm amazed by some
of the junk that's on display. Words like nudity, strong language,
and violence are frequently used to describe subject matter. The
other day I pulled a popular video off the shelf and read the back.
This was the basic premise: A teenage boy and girl make a bet
about whether or not the boy can get the school principal's virgin
daughter to sleep with him. If he succeeds, he also wins the right
to have sex with the girl he made the bet with. How's that for a
Another disturbing aspect of today's movies is how often
Christianity is made fun of. Jesus is our Savior and Friend-it's upsetting
to see Him mocked or to hear His name raked through the
gutter. This sort of thing seems to be occurring more frequently
these days. A number of films I saw this year included one jab or
another against Christ.
So what do you think is required of us in regard to entertainment?
One thing is certain-Psalm 101:3 makes it very clear when
it says, "I will set before my eyes no vile thing." That means we
must decide ahead of time not to watch anything evil or obscene.
We can't always know the content before we see a movie, but in
most cases we have a pretty good idea.
Not long ago I became interested in foreign films. I began
renting various titles, selecting those that had been applauded by
the critics. Not surprisingly, I found some of the videos pretty
trashy. The Lord brought one word to my mind: discretion. I was
not exercising good judgment when renting these foreign films; I
needed to be more discerning.
You might be asking, "What's the big deal, anyway? It's only
entertainment-why does it matter what we expose ourselves
to?" Let me try to explain with a story.
A father of three teenagers set a rule that the family could not
watch R-rated movies. This created a problem when a certain popular
movie opened in local theaters. All the teens were bent on seeing
the film, despite its "R" rating.
The teens interviewed friends and even members of their
church to compile a list of pros and cons about the movie. They
hoped that the list would convince their dad that they should be
allowed to attend.
The cons were that it contained only a few swear words that
misused God's name, only one act of violence ("which you can see
on TV all the time," they said), and only one sex scene (and it was
mostly implied sex, off camera).
The pros were that it was a popular movie-a blockbuster. If
the teens saw the movie, then they would not feel left out when
their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good plot and
two hours of nonstop action and suspense. There were fantastic
special effects! The movie also featured some of the most talented
actors in Hollywood. The teens were certain that the film would be
nominated for several awards. And Christian friends at their
church who had seen the movie said it wasn't "that bad." Therefore,
since there were more pros than cons, the teens asked their
father to reconsider his position just this once.
The father looked at the list and asked if he could have a day to
think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled.Now we've got him! they thought. Our argument is too good! Dad
can't turn us down! So they agreed to give him a day to think about
The next day the father called his three teenagers, who were
smiling smugly, into the living room. They were puzzled to see a
plate of brownies on the coffee table. The father said he had decided
that if they would eat a brownie, then he would let them go to the
movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.
The pros were that they had been made with fresh walnuts
and the finest chocolate. These moist frosted brownies had been
created with an award-winning recipe. Best of all, they had been
made with care by the hands of the teens' own father.
The brownies had only one con. They had a little bit of dog
poop in them. But the dough had been mixed well-the teens
probably would not even be able to taste it. And their father had
baked the brownies at 350 degrees, so any bacteria or germs had
probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could
stand to eat a brownie that included "just a little bit of poop," then
they also would be permitted to see the movie with "just a little bit
of smut." By now the teens had lost their smug expressions. They
turned down the tainted brownies, and only Dad was smiling
smugly as they left the room.
Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is
opposed to, the father just asks, "Would you like me to whip up a
batch of my special brownies?"
Philippians 4:8 says, "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
It's hard to concentrate on things that are noble and lovely
while watching a smutty film. In fact, let me ask you this question:
Have you ever felt kind of "dirty" when you walked out of a theater?
You know, the feeling that comes after hearing one cussword
after another and seeing ten characters murdered in cold blood? If
you've felt that way, it was because your mind was filled with impurities-you
were being consumed by wicked images.
This same principle applies to reading material, music, the
Internet, and television shows, too. Recently, Entertainment Tonight
pointed out that TV sitcoms are now "pushing the envelope" with
indecent programming to compete with cable stations. Funny, I
can't think of a time when they didn't cross boundary lines, can
you? Most sitcoms do not cause us to think about what is true,
right, and pure.
The bottom line is that those who love the Lord and want to
please Him should "keep [themselves] from being polluted by the
world" (James 1:27). If we're exposing our minds to violence, sex
outside marriage, greed, foul language, and other worldly sins,
is there any room left to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Can we
truly experience satisfaction in our communion with God? Think
Why is it important to use discretion when it comes to music, books, TV programs, the Internet, and movies?
If your friends asked you to see a raunchy movie with them, what would you say, and why?
How high are your standards regarding entertainment? What do you think God's standard is for you?
Check It Out!
What do you say when you stub your toe or slam a door on your
finger? In moments like these, you gotta say something! It just isn't
natural to remain silent. I'm sure there are some folks who express
their discomfort with a simple "Ouch!" but I'm not one of them.
You probably aren't either. "Ouch!" is too mild when you're doubled
over in pain.
Maybe that's why some people shout obscenities. Something
about screaming the nastiest word that comes to mind just seems
to get the point across. Swearing is inappropriate for a Christian,
of course, so some of us spout off a string of ridiculous words that
don't make any sense.
The other night, I ran barefoot into the cat's scratching post.
Are you aware that those carpeted pillars have a hard piece of
wood underneath? My poor toes! I think I muttered every noncussword
I could think of as I collapsed in agony. For the rest of
the night I had to hobble on one foot because it hurt to walk. If
there was ever a time to rattle off a string of obscenities, that was
it! The next day my toes were a vibrant shade of purple-a tribute
to my clumsiness.
One doesn't have to be in anguish to feel tempted to cuss,
though. I hear bad language in all kinds of settings-everything
from relaying humor to telling a story.