Everybody has a weakness when it comes to entertainment. Some people are big into music. Others have the guilty pleasure of movies and TV shows. Some people are very active, playing sports and exercising.
I’ve met people of all kinds, even people who like playing cards and other board games. Let’s not forget the big video gamers out there. People have all sorts of ways to unwind and relax at the end of the day.
In any one of these categories, we can fall prey to addictions. They usually amount to spending too much time enjoying these forms of entertainment. They can also speak to the types of entertainment we choose.
God wants us to make holy choices and spend the right amount of time enjoying our pastimes and hobbies. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can live holy lives and honor God as we unwind from a busy work day.
Moving to Music
Most people love their music. Whether you think the 70s were the greatest times where the best hits happened or you love that good ole’ rock ‘n roll, we all have our jams. But it’s not just about genres. Some people are convinced they wrote better lyrics back then.
I enjoy any music with a good beat. I used to play the drums before I became paralyzed. I love rhythms, especially the ones that get stuck in my head. But I don’t always listen to the words.
I can be enjoying the music and the beats of a song and not even realize what the song is putting into my head subliminally. I’ve found myself saying the words to a song, realizing my brain learned them without my knowledge. And when I listen to the words, let’s just say the song didn’t say what I thought it said.
Then it’s practically impossible to get the song out of my head because it is so catchy. I bring this up because we as Christians must realize what we’re allowing into our heads and hearts. The world will influence us in many different ways.
What we listen to matters to God. But it’s not just music. Sometimes we use our ears to listen to gossip. We want to know what’s going on in our little corner of the world. But much of what we hear is none of our business.
Whatever you listen to, you must make sure that it is holy. This doesn’t mean we can’t listen to worldly music at all. I enjoy many songs and bands that aren’t Christian. But as with everything else in holiness and addictions, we must ask the Holy Spirit how he feels about what we listen to. And then we must obey what he speaks to us.
We have the unique opportunity to use our ears to listen to God’s voice instead of the voices of this world. We must hear Jesus’ voice above the noise all around us. We need to spend time learning how to hear his voice.
What’s on TV?
If you are like me, you not only enjoy music, but you also enjoy watching TV or movies. I lean more toward TV, especially shows with surprises in the plot. I like TV shows that surprised me. The twists and turns can be quite enjoyable.
But as we all well know, there are shows we would feel convicted about if Jesus was physically in the room with us. The thing is, he is with us through the Holy Spirit. We must become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice.
It’s not that God doesn’t want us to enjoy a TV show here and there, or a great movie. He wants us to make holy choices about our entertainment, what we watch. What if your pastor saw your Netflix, Hulu, and other show and movie apps playlists? Would your cheeks get red?
It goes further than TV shows and movies. Another popular way to use our screens, especially on the computer, is to view pornography. If your heart doesn’t skip a beat when you see things you know don’t please God, you have a bigger spiritual problem than you can imagine.
Ever since Genesis 3 when even a husband and wife recognized nakedness was a problem, people have been dealing with sex in all the wrong ways. Adam and Eve were married and recognized the difference.
We have been invited into people’s bedrooms, their sexual relationships, and all sorts of places we don’t belong. Scientific studies on pornography prove that it destroys the way we look at one another, interact with one another, and it destroys proper relationships. We objectify one another, and we can no longer carry on a normal relationship, let alone a romantic one.
Pornography changes the way our brains think. It floods them with endorphins, and we can never look at one another the same way again. We must be careful not only what kinds of TV shows and movies we watch, but that we avoid at all costs the soul-damaging effects of pornography.
Ask the Holy Spirit if what you are watching pleases him. If it doesn’t, you must have the sensitivity to him to know he doesn’t approve. Change your ways and your channel. Put away the evil things.
Realize this is not about seeing pieces of skin on people you shouldn’t see for morality reasons. Holiness goes much deeper than morality. God knows what seeing these images will do to your spirit and soul. When you feel convicted, don’t ignore it. Deal with it.
He knows they will make you callous toward his presence, that they will grieve his Spirit. They will move you further away from him in your walk. It’s not worth seeing these images to risk your relationship with God.
Playing the Game
When I was growing up there was a particular bent toward steering clear of any kind of card game or dice. They considered all of these things, even if they weren’t evil in themselves, to go against the biblical principle of not looking like the world (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
I’m a sucker for just about any board game. They come with dice and cards in many situations. But the kind of cards and dice they wanted me to avoid were those that can lead to gambling.
They have a point here. We must avoid gambling because it leads to idolatry and relies on unbiblical means to provide our needs. But I have played card games like Solitaire, and even in my denomination we had what we called “Pentecostal poker,” also known as Rook.
We tend to replace the things we think are evil with other things we don’t consider as evil. I’ve played poker without putting money on the table. None of these things have made me feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
And that’s just it. When other Christians tell us what we can and can’t do, they are trying to take the place of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit guides us into holiness. He is the one to convict us of the things in our lives he finds offensive.
Always listen to the Holy Spirit. You can seek the wise counsel of mature Christians who can give you reasons for God’s expectations instead of just telling you not to do them. We must hear the Holy Spirit’s voice.
There are some board games I would seriously advise you not to play. Some of these games put you in a place where evil spiritual forces can get a hold of you. One example is a Ouija board. The devil has been known to use this to inhabit and influence people.
But that doesn’t make all games evil. Games with dice, like Yahtzee, are not evil. You must use Christian discernment and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know what kinds of games go beyond the scope of just fun. Don’t open the door to evil forces in your life.
The Other Monitor
When you are looking at a TV screen, movie, or computer, pay more attention to the Holy Spirit who monitors your heart and spirit. When he tells you not to view something, listen to something, or play something, be sensitive to his voice.
Our consciences monitor our lives, holding us accountable to the Holy Spirit’s commands and principles. It makes sure we don’t violate God’s laws written on our hearts. We must evaluate the things we take in.
We cannot allow the world to influence us. We must influence the world. The Great Commission commands us to go and make disciples. But we can’t do that if the world is making disciples of us.
Pay very close attention to the sensitivity of your heart to the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and the counsel of mature Christians. These things can spare you from becoming addicted to things that go against God’s best for your life.
There are lots of ways to entertain ourselves. And in one sense, we need the entertainment. When you do a hard day’s work as the Bible commands, it’s good to unwind and relax. Your brain and body need a break.
But the way you choose to use your leisurely time matters to God. Just because you check out from hard work for a time doesn’t mean you can check out of holiness. We must find ways to entertain ourselves that please the Lord and honor the Holy Spirit.
Watch carefully what you do in your free time and monitor your heart and soul. Be sensitive to every word from the Holy Spirit concerning your entertainment. The Lord has high standards even in our times of relaxation. Leave a comment and describe how you have found a balance between enjoying your free time and not offending the Holy Spirit.