In ancient times, kingdoms were defended by strongholds. An enemy might invade opposing territory and burn farms and houses but the presence of a stronghold in an area would deter them from entering certain areas. Strongholds had thick walls, highly defensible gates and held reserve troops readily deployed if needed. To go beyond one of these fortresses meant endangering the soldiers who might be cut off from retreat or safe territory.
On a personal level, every one of us has strongholds - areas of our life that are highly defended against change or conviction. We give God room to roam and change us in certain areas but then we have some areas that are in a stronghold - highly defended life choices that we protect from the redemptive power of Jesus. We've looked at our habits, our language and today we look at our media choices. This is one of the last things we surrender to God's control.
Media is a very personal issue. The music we enjoy, the shows we watch, the movies we attend and the websites we frequent are all matters of personal preference. Our sensitivities and tolerances play into this issue as well. Movies I would never let into my house are some people's favorites. Music I enjoy would never be given a second chance by someone else. But submitting our media choices to God is about more than personal preference. The question we must ask is, "do my choices of what to watch, listen to or visit, reflect a heart fully submitted to Jesus Christ?"
There are two big issues to consider here: One is that if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we have freedom in issues that are not addressed specifically in Scripture. We should be able to engage in the activities we want, without fear of judgment from other Christians. This is Christian liberty and a by-product of the grace by which we are saved.
Two is that when we enjoy certain media products we are giving our endorsement to them and other Christians who are not as strong as us spiritually could take that as license or permission to enjoy it as well, with negative results. For example, you endorse a movie you find entertaining but it contains strong profanity, graphic nudity or satanic/cult elements. Another Christian watches it and is deeply offended or opens themselves up to attack from the Enemy because of the content.
If you are hoping for a set of rules by which you can determine what to watch or listen to, I will disappoint you. The Bible is clear about what pleases God. The question is whether you are willing to submit your media choices to God. For example, you may have always loved movies with graphic violence and blood and gore. But one day, you sense God is telling you to stop watching that kind of content. Are you willing to listen? Again, the issue is not whether that sort of movie is right or wrong, the issue is your willingness to obey.
I, personally, do not watch horror movies with Satanic or cult elements. My conviction is that those types of movies welcome forces and powers into my home that cannot dwell side by side with the Spirit of Jesus. I still remember the day God convicted me about owning a series of movies that celebrated killing, promiscuity and godlessness. These were entertaining movies but they celebrated things I, as a Christian couldn't stand behind. I got rid of them. But even as I write this I know there are still some media choices I should rethink. I need to stay tender to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and not keep rebuilding strongholds.
So, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being ready to change, where is your heart? Are you unwilling to yield your media intake to Jesus or are you ready to let him change things up?