Worldliness: Where is Your Media & Music Taking You?

Yesterday, we kicked off a 5 part series based on the book Worldliness by C.J. Mahaney.  With each post, we’re giving away a copy of Worldliness.  Congrats to Lee Buford who is the winner of the first copy.  We’re giving away another copy today, with details at the end of the post.

To recap… Worldliness challenges Christians with the words of Jesus found in John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.” The world is full of things that attempt to seduce and distract us from our primary calling to love and serve God. Surveys show the lives of American Christians are not noticeably different from those who are not Christians. Whether that’s true for you or not, it’s clear that all of us battle the temptations of this world on a daily basis.

Two areas the book examines are media and music, which we’re going to take on together today.

Media is Everywhere

In today’s modern world, media constantly surrounds us from the clock radio that wakes us up, to the radio in the car, the billboards along the street, magazines, newspapers, and MP3 players.  For the last 50 years TV has been the most influential medium.  In the last few years, the Internet has surpassed TV for many people.  Now we are on the cusp of a media revolution.  Broadband mobile devices will ensure that the entire Internet is always at the tip of our fingers.

Media is Powerful

Our culture has conflicting views on the power of media.  Most people say TV, music, and commercials have little impact on them.

But our actions say otherwise.  Advertisers spend $215 billion a year just on TV commercials – because they work.  When we make presentations at work, we usually include video or Powerpoint.  Most medium and larger churches have media teams.  When we want to have a romantic evening with that special someone we carefully select the right music to set the mood.

Television has greater power over the lives of most Americans than any educational system, government or church. – Kent Hughes

The Old Battle with Media

Christians have been battling media for decades.  However, the focus has been rather one-dimensional.  It’s been primarily about trying to stay away from offensive material.  How many times have we been warned of the evils of sex and violence on TV, in the movies, and in music lyrics?

I’ve heard the warnings so many times, that as soon as I even think someone’s headed down that road my instinct is to think, “Here we go again” and tune them out.  (That’s probably a warning sign in and of itself.)

The New Battle

But the temptation of worldliness is not primarily the temptation to choose evil over good, but rather to choose that which is temporary and meaningless over God.  This is true for our media consumption as well.

6 Ways Media Moves Us

I invite you to join me in examining how the media we consume moves us in these 6 ways.

1) Values. Does the media you consume support or insult your values?  Do the shows you watch make gossip, lying, and insulting people look cool?  Does it make fun of people of faith, chastity, fathers, or stay-at-home moms.  Does it glorify self-centeredness or independence?

2) Time. Is your media consumption keeping your from doing more important things?  Do you spend lots of time watching TV or online but struggle to consistently spend time alone with God?  Are you serving others?  Helping the poor?  Spending consistent time with your spouse and kids?  Or is your media consumption getting in the way of that?

3) Heart. Does the media you consume help you focus your thoughts on God?  Or do the ads and commercials cause you to daydream about what you’d like buy?  Does that TV show or website ignite lustful thoughts?  Do those love songs or romance novels stir fantasies?

4) Focus. Does having radio, TV, or computer on keep you from being able to fully focus on your work, listening to the people in the same room with you, or hearing from God?  Are there times, when you just need to turn everything off?

5) State of mind. Does your desire to keep up with your TV shows, Facebook, or Twitter stress you out?  Do you feel anxious if you don’t have your mobile phone on you?  Do you feel like you have to play Farmville, or Webkinz, or Twitter or blog every day?  Do you agonize over how others might perceive a Facebook update or tweet?

6) Pride/Humility. When you’re posting to Facebook or Twitter are you doing so just to get attention?  Are you being disingenuous in order to make yourself look good.

Discussion

Revising the poorly drawn diagram from yesterday what direction is your media consumption taking you?

upward or forward

Of the 6 ways media moves us mentioned above, which is the greatest struggle?  Where are you seeing the most success?

Action

Reflection and discussion are important, but they won’t change your life or redirect you more towards God . What if any changes are you going to make to your media consumption?

Get a Free Book

If you’d like a free copy of Worldliness, all you have to do is

  1. Retweet this post or share it on Facebook, and
  2. Post a comment to this post.

One person will be randomly selected to receive a free copy of Worldliness.  If you don’t win today, don’t worry, there are 3 more posts yet to come. If you  tweeted/shared/commented yesterday, yes, you need to tweet/share/comment today to have a chance to win the book today.

[image by oddharmonic]

EDIT 2/25 9:40 AM: I’m going to wait until tomorrow (Friday) morning to post the next article in this series (on Worldliness and money/materialism) and draw the winner of the second of 5 books.  So, anyone who shares/retweets & comments today and before 8 AM tomorrow can still win.

13 Responses to “Worldliness: Where is Your Media & Music Taking You?”

  1. Am convicted of how I spend my time in media. Even good blogs ought not to have the priority in my desires. Oh, that all men who are excited to surf the net/blogosphere/Twitterworld may be as excited to read God’s Love Letter to them in the Bible, and to pray.

  2. Thanks for sharing, this is very timely. I have been thinking about this very subject for some time, especially about the effect music may have on children. I have been examining my own personal music library and asking myself if someone got ahold of it would they be able to tell I was a Christian. Having two young children of my own, it has become more important to me to make sure I am setting an example that Christians are different from the world and to provide the reasons why. Thanks again for the timely post, the book sounds like a good one.

    • Brian, that’s a challenging thought. I was a big fan of 80s metal bands growing up and so I’ve got my Motley Crue CDs right next to Rich Mullins and Def Leppard next to DC Talk. I don’t listen to them often… I’m also a bit of a pack rat and have trouble throwing anything out… for nostalgic reasons… Yes, I’m rationalizing, aren’t I?

  3. This topic is a very big one for me. I am a true lover of music. I would rather have music than t.v. or computer. I appreciate many styles of music. That being said, it is also the greatest way the enemy tries to “invade” my thoughts. I recently struggled in my purity and it came about because I had started listening to secular music again (primarily) and was hanging out with people involved in the secular music industry. I had to cut all ties in order to return back to my walk. The influence in the music was causing double-mindedness in my life. I KNEW what Christ said, but the agenda in the music was de-sensitizing me to the sin involved.

    My pastor recently posted about the lyrics of a Jay-Z song where he says “the church can’t save you” and it was very saddening to see so many people defend him and praise his talent rather than recognizing he is offended God when he talks negatively about His church (His BRIDE).

    I’m loving this series!

    • Karen, thanks for sharing that story. It’s great that you recognized the influence music was having on you and you had the courage to do what you did.

      I know when people read that you “cut ties” and read Brian’s comment about throwing out/deleting some of his music, some will think that’s extreme or puritanical. I don’t know that it’s a necessary step for everyone, but I commend you for doing what some might consider extreme because you want your heart to be more focused on God.

      And I suppose purging ones music collection isn’t nearly as extreme as Jesus suggestion to purge an eye if it causes us to sin.

  4. This subject is also very dear to my heart since I now have three grandchildren whom I want to see follow Christ with all their hearts. Also having worked with scores of women who have experienced the betrayal of their husband’s use of pornography on the internet which is also available on television now, it is one of my major concerns for the family of the future. I was very encouraged to see this blog and its subject matter. I will pray that many will find you through facebook and find freedom to make the right choices for their family through reading your posts. Robin Williams

  5. Great comments so far! You guys are really challenging me and making me think even more about media and music.

    I’ve decided to wait until tomorrow (Friday) morning to post the next article in this series (on Worldliness and money/materialism) and draw the winner of the second of 5 books. So, anyone who shares/retweets & comments today and before 8 AM tomorrow can still win.

  6. Thanks Paul. I too had to delete some of my music. Extreme changes require ‘extreme’ measures!

  7. I’m here watching bits & snippets of the 82nd Academy Awards(also known as the Oscars)and seeing all the beautiful people dressed up in suits and gowns! Could this be worldly? Watching an awards show? I don’t know if it has an effect om me, but it’s just a show!Maybe, since I went to church today, I need to get into the Bible more and deep into God’s word and see what he says! BTW, the show is hosted by Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin!

    Keep Up The Good Work!

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