I sat down the other evening and put on the TV. There was some superhero movie on which I watched idly. After that, I went to bed and listened to a Christian podcast on the subject of marriage. These two seemingly unconnected things were brought together in my mind as the host of the podcast began to read from Philippians 4:8, which says:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
As I began to ponder that verse, I wondered if the movie I had been watching could be categorised in any of the descriptors Paul mentions here? Was it an “honourable” movie? Was it “lovely”? I got stuck when the word “pure” seemed to leap out at me. Was it “pure”?
The movie itself was ok… there was a bit of action, and no bad language as I recall. It wasn’t rated for adults (an “18” rating here in the UK) and was billed as family entertainment. As I say, it was ok…
But was it pure? No, I can’t say that it was. For however long I was watching it, I wasn’t fixing my thoughts on something pure, I was fixing them on something that was just plain “ok”.
Why on earth would any of us settle for ok, when we can have purity?
Why on earth would any of us settle for ok, when we can have purity?Tweet
One definition of purity is to “be free from anything which contaminates.” While this movie was not bad, it was hardly free from anything that contaminates.
I do not wish to be contaminated. I do not want to compromise the purity and holiness offered by the cleansing blood of Christ. I find myself challenged by a simple movie choice. Am I overthinking it? Perhaps I am. Yet if God is directing me away from such movies, then I will never find satisfaction in them.
I have a fairly demanding job at times, alongside helping to look after the children, manage the household and a whole host of other things. When I get to the end of the day, I am often tired and I guess like most of us, just want to flop into a chair and switch off for a while. As I approach my chair of an evening, the temptation of the TV remote is strong, requiring little effort. My Bible is not far away either, yet the thought of studying the scriptures when tired, seems like effort (I’m just being honest here!). Too often I take the easier road.
In my heart though, I know that spending time with the Lord is far more fruitful. Being tired is a weak excuse (if you pardon the pun).
Isaiah says this:
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)
God is the One who gives us strength. While even the young grow weary at times, those who trust in God will have new energy. At night, when we are exhausted, our bodies are refreshed and renewed as we spend time in His presence and enjoying His holy and pure Word.
God’s Word is pure. It is without taint. If you could sum up my calling in a few words, it would essentially be to encourage believers to fully engage with the Bible. The world has a multitude of entertainment offers; music, TV, streaming services, Internet, podcasts, and the list goes on. Yet so little of it could be called “pure.” Some of it may be ok, but why would we – born again, Spirit filled, children of the Most High God – want to dabble with something that is just “ok?”
God’s Word is pure:
Everything God says is pure; he is a shield for those who take refuge in him.Proverbs 30:5 (ISV)
I know that the next time I sit down, I’m going to have that same struggle with the TV remote. Do pray for me that I make right choices. I want to look again at all of my entertainment choices and weigh them up against the benefits of studying the Word.
For balance, I am not saying you must read the Bible solely and nothing else. That, I think, would be too far and legalistic. There are many forms of entertainment out there, and it is possible to find decent material out there. For instance, there are now Christian TV streaming services which you may find far more wholesome than the mainstream options.
Ultimately, as disciples of Christ, we should be on the hunt for purity. We must hate sin in all its forms, and not tolerate watching it for sheer enjoyment. Indeed, if we devote ourselves to purity, such worldly entertainment will seem alien or even detestable.
How do we seek purity? As always, the Bible gives us a clear answer. And I will close this post with these words:
How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word.Psalm 119:9 (NLT)
8 thoughts on “Pure vs. OK”
“Plugged In” is a great website. While not exhaustive, you can search for a film, or game, and it’ll break it down for you into various segments
I always skip to the sex part, to see how bad any film we haven’t watched may be, then I look at the language used.
It’s fantastic and I highly recommend it!
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Thanks Andy for this useful tip. I do check IMDb and their parents guide to see what a movie might contain. But always good to check first!
PluggedIn is, I find, much better than IMDB, albeit not as exhaustive a catalogue of reviews
It’s written by Christians, for Christians. They break it into adult content, sex content, nudity content, spiritual content, violent content so you can quickly see the issues that you might have.
It’s a fab resource and has prevented us from watching many films we thought might be ok…one glimpse at the review and we quickly moved on
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Excellent. Sounds like a really helpful resource then. Thank you for sharing
I find your post interesting Andy, I personally have a continual battle with trying to control my media intake as a believer. Philippians 4 is the gold standard we should be aiming at I feel, which is difficult in this world. I have been an avid reader all my life, mainly of fiction and history books. I was challenged by this particular area of my life, and now I no longer read crime/mystery books by the bucket load. The content was questionable and the use of my time was very questionable indeed. In the last three years all my reading has been Christian material, mainly the Bible and commentaries etc. I feel I have wasted too much time on worldly reading, and time is short at my age now. I watch a lot less TV than previously, but still watch it at present…maybe that will be my next big change?
Thank you for your encouragement. Yes, when you look with a critical eye at what is now considered a family friendly media, you have to ask how far the world has fallen.
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On reading this post again a year later, it is still a challenge to keep a balance between the world and the life of a child of God. A thought that came to me was rather than reading why not listen to or watch the Bible, which is less strenuous on a tired body? And then there are Christian movies freely available too. All these can be found on YouTube easily.