I have a major sweet tooth. I love all things chocolate and really, anything that has an ounce of sugar in it. I also have a major salty tooth. At a movie theater, you’ll find me at the “butter pump” for the 5th time – and this is just for my first tub of popcorn.
If I’m being entirely honest, I would love to eat chocolate chip cookies & cheetos for every meal (not together, of course). But I can’t. Why? Because it would make me sick. My body would be completely void of all nutrients, hindering my ability to function.
In the same way, we are conscious of what we feed our bodies, we must be conscious of what we feed our minds. Philippians 4:8 declares,
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things” (HCSB).
It’s easy for us to shrug this verse off as a simple statement of common sense. But how often do your thoughts consistently align with these words? Does your mind truly portray what is excellent and praiseworthy? Better yet, do the Netflix shows you’re binging, movies you’re watching, and social media you’re consuming, edify your mind or leave you feeling depleted and malnourished?
Statistics show that excessive amounts of screen time are directly correlated with anxiety, depression, and self-control, just to name a few. As a society, we are not unaware of these statistics. But as born-again believers, we should be even more aware of what is actually shown on the screen and entering our minds.
Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable – who can understand it?” If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ to be your Savior, then you are a new creation. However, as long as we are on this earth, we will continuously battle our fleshly desires – even as a new creation. Our hearts are deceitful because of sin.
We are naturally prone to wander and prone to stray. Proverbs 4:23 admonishes, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” In Hebrew, the heart is the location of knowledge and the source of where decisions are preconceived (Proverbs 27:19; Matthew 15:18-20a). Your heart is the “true you” and directs your thoughts, emotions, and actions – which ultimately cultivate your habits, goals, and desires.
To guard something is to make sure that it doesn’t get away and is safe from danger or attack. Not only are we commanded to guard our hearts, but we are to protect them above all else. Why? Because our hearts naturally want and crave things that are opposed to righteousness and God’s path for our lives. Warren Wiersbe states, “Whatever the heart loves, the ears will hear and the eyes will see…If we pollute that wellspring, the infection will spread; before long, hidden appetites will become open sins and public shame.”
Knowing all this, we should be even more diligent as to what we feed our minds. Today, modern recreation is oftentimes found in movies, television, or scrolling on Instagram. I am in no way knocking these forms of leisure. I love curling up on the couch and watching a good movie. But do we even take a second thought as to what we scroll or click on? Does what you’re watching match up with God’s Word and what He stands for?
As Christians, we boldly proclaim our Biblical morals and values in conversation, yet our TV shows reflect otherwise. Psalms 101:3 declares, “I will not set anything worthless before my eyes. I hate the practice of transgression; it will not cling to me.” We should ask ourselves, “Am I being entertained by what Jesus was nailed to a cross for?”
I am convinced that what we feed our minds recreationally creates pathways of temptation and sin. Taking delight in the things that Jesus set us free from only enhances an apathetic attitude and bears fruit opposed to Christ. I know this to be true because I have personally seen it in my own life. What I thought would bring me a good laugh, only chipped away at the guard around my heart. Since then, my prayer has been Proverbs 4:27,
“Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.”
If you struggle in this area, I’m sure you are thinking, “All of this sounds great, but how do I actually apply it to my life?” Know this – God has given you and me a sound mind to discern what is right and wrong through the power of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit acts as a 24/7 internal compass directing you where to go. Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (NIV).
The Holy Spirit is God Himself, who guides us into all truth and is our permanent Helper. He will enable and equip you in moments of doubt or hesitation.
Ask God to reveal to you if there are any areas in your life that consist of recreational compromise.
Repent of any sin and ask for His forgiveness.
Pray in advance for God to help you when temptation arises.
Commit to abiding in Romans 12:1-2 – “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
So I want to ask you, “What are you feeding your mind?” Are you glorifying God in your recreational use of TV, movies, and social media? Have you let your guard down by polluting your heart with what Christ was crucified for? If so, make today the beginning of change.
For further study and encouragement: Proverbs 4:20-27 & Romans 13:11-14
Alexis has worked at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas for six years. She loves spending time with family, playing pickleball, and eating Tex Mex. She is “mom” to an adorable chihuahua named Sugar.