"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, January 25, 2013

* G, PG, PG-13, R, WHAT'S YOUR STANDARD? - Part 3

Philippians 4:7-9  (NIV 1984)  "And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."

Several years ago while ministering to college girls I thought I would 'enter their world' and watch what they view to get more familiar with them.  Not a bad idea.  

Until, one episode of The Bachelor turned into the next and another.  I thought I could handle it, but the handle broke off.  My ministry effort turned into an unhealthy craving that hooked me into the entire season!  The love story drew me in.  Never mind that it was completely unrealistic, immoral and hardly revealed an ounce of virtue or nobility.  As the season progressed, my love story suddenly didn't seem too exciting and I even began to place unfair expectations on my husband.  

Now I know, women typically like a good old fashioned love story.  However, the unreality of this 'reality' television show, bombarded me spiritually.  What entered my mind, infiltrated my heart, which messed with my worldview about biblical love. 

Our mind is stimulated visually, which also produces a response in our heart.  What we see, watch and read, via television, magazines, movies, music, internet etc. impacts us in ways we may not even consider.  Thoughts are fed by recurrence and by association of related thoughts of like nature.  When these thoughts are put into isolation they have less control over us.  We can isolate these thoughts by avoiding the very things that fuel them.  For me, this means no more Bachelor.

We are attacked daily with visual rubbish we can't control.  Half dressed girls flaunt magazine covers at grocery checkout.  Revealing internet ads pursue us.  Commercial ads between Jeopardy, for goodness sake, wreak of illicit fantasy.  In the midst of our scandalous world we do possess the authority for what we should manage.

The third way to protect our mind is to control input.  This means we shield what we invite into our mind.  Even though our culture has a rating system for movies, we must guard what we allow to govern our viewing standards.  While Christians may have different standards for decency and propriety, regulating input is necessary to maintain an honorable thought life.

Philippians 4:8 exhorts us to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. These are the qualities we are to dwell on and promote.  When our mind gets entangled with worldliness through media, it becomes increasingly difficult to store up these characteristics in our heart.  

Sadly, many become numb to the influences of worldly media when, in actuality, we're likely held captive to the world's standards.  Much does not shock us anymore.  Many are desensitized while laughing at immorality or feeding a thirst for violence.  Others may joke about shows that tear down men and some fall prey to the worlds' view of love, marriage and morality, like I did.  

Well Hester, this just sounds a little legalistic.  I get that this is an area of Christian freedom.  I also know that what is an area of weakness for me, may not be for others.  There are simply some types of shows/movies and music I cannot watch or listen to because they cause my flesh to flare up.  I've also learned through failure that my heart is vulnerable.  

Regardless of where we stand, when we justify our choices to convince ourselves we're okay, we're likely to fall.  As I humbly confessed at the beginning, we are unwise to assume we are stronger than we are.  For us to think it's okay to allow some junk into our mind is like drinking an Italian soda with a drop of strychnine mixed in.  It's just a little.  It won't hurt this one time.  C'mon, we're adults.  All my friends watch this.  Who are we fooling?

Be on your guard.  Protect your mind.  Renew your mind.  Evaluate your thoughts.  Don't let the culture's standard govern yours.  Dwell on Truth.  Control input!

Heart Exam:
Take inventory of the last two weeks of media influence in your life.  Based on what you've allowed, what thoughts have governed your mind?  Do you find yourself replaying unhealthy scenes in your head?  What song lyrics do you hum?

Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to control the input you allow into your mind.

Heart Work:
Who/What governs your media standards?

Let's be honest, are there any television shows you are addicted to?  Do you understand the connection to your heart and mind and how your spiritual life can be impeded?

What input are you allowing in your mind and heart that needs to be uninvited?

Heart Transforming Word:
Proverbs 23:7 "For as a man thinks within himself, so he is . . ."

John 8:32 "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Romans 16:19b  "But I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil."

1 Corinthians 14:20  "Brothers, stop thinking like children.  In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults."

2 Corinthians 11:3 "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ."

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Ephesians 6:13 "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen.  Edited 2013.  All rights reserved.


  1. Preach it, Hester! Great words of encouragement. Those who suggest it is legalistic do not understand the purpose of "freedom in Christ." : ) Be Still Retreat

    1. Beth,

      Thank you so much for your comment today - I appreciate your encouragement. You're right, we often misunderstand the purpose of our "Christian freedom." God bless you as you serve our Lord.

      Love, Hester ;)

  2. I second what Beth shared. It is freeing to have healthy limits and a pure direction in this life! Great story and encouragement Hester. Praise God for helping each of us find Him in this part of the fallen world. ~ Love out, Amy

    1. Amy,

      Bless you dear - I appreciate your feedback. You're a blessing to me.

      Praise Him indeed for helping us find Him. :)

      Much love, Hester ;)

  3. The old adage "You are what you eat" is also true in the spiritual sense - which is why Jer. 15:16 is one of my favorite scriptures:

    "When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven's Armies."

    Thank you for reminding me of the constant need for heart examinations when it comes to what I am "devouring". Bless you, Hester!!!

    1. Cathy,

      I appreciate your comment so much and just love that verse in Jeremiah. ;) Thank you for sharing with me sister. And yes, let's exam what we devour. ;)

      Much love, Hester ;)

  4. Good stuff, Hester. I try to keep up with pop culture because it's the subject of so many conversations in the office, but surprisingly, also in church! Plenty of teachable moments, but you have to be VERY guarded and prayerful. As you said - it's easy to get sucked in! And those reality shows are anything BUT real, which is a teachable point in itself.
    Snowy hugs from VA!

    1. Thank you Susan,

      I appreciate your comment today. Being guarded and prayerful is certainly important. God bless you as you minister to others too.

      Much Love, Hester ;)

  5. Great word! You are right, we do all have different opinions on what constitutes "bad" media, but we all need to protect our minds and hearts the best that we can. We tend to protect our children and yet fail to protect ourselves! It is very easy to get drawn in to to idea of what it "could" be like. And really, if Sean is such a Christian man would he really be kissing all those women? I wont lie and say I am giving up Bachelor (I will try). I did give up Real Housewives and that was my first big step! Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Hi Brandy,

      I appreciate your candid honesty. ;) You know, I was thinking a similar thing when I was writing this but hadn't included it and your comment about us protecting our children reminded me again. ;) So true.

      Thanks for sharing with me today and God bless your weekend too.
      Love, Hester ;)

  6. Thank you dear sister. I know Scott and I have struggled with this battle, and how our convictions have conflicted with our own Christian friends. I have to say, every time I have allowed it to be ok to watch something that might cross the "line" of my convictions, I have felt remorse. Along with that, I have found if I keep allowing myself to continue watching it, His voice seems harder to hear, and I tend to justify my actions. I know the bottom line is HIS word that says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Phil. 4:8
    I love you and keep on speaking the truth, my friend.

    1. Linda, I truly appreciate your comment and believe me, everything you wrote I identify with and find myself in the same boat. Thank you for sharing your heart with me. I love you too,

      You're such a blessing,
      Love, Hester, ;)

  7. Oh Hester, you are so on target! And girl, I've fallen into the trap too. And yes, just last season with The Bachelorette. I could rationalize it because she was from Charlotte. :P And I appreciate your being real about how it affected your own thoughts. It does have an impact on us. The enemy would love to destroy marriages and that fantasy world easily draws us in.

    God calls us to be holy. We must guard our hearts and minds for that to become our reality.

    You are a treasure!

    1. Kristi,

      Thank you so much for sharing your comment with me today. ;) I appreciate your honest openness too. I like how you said that we must 'guard our hearts and minds for that to become our reality' -- even in this midst of 'unreality'

      Love to you Kristi,
      Love, Hester ;)

  8. Can you put this post to music so all my middle school kids can remember it!!!! I say this all the time (maybe that is why they tune me out)! Brandy made a very good point about screening what our kids watch and then we forget about ourselves. I think the same thing goes for music and books we read. I am laughing because for such a long time I could not watch The Sound of Music because it made me feel like a bad mother cause I wasn't whipping up handmade clothes or taking my children to the hills to sing beautiful songs!! My husband informed me that Julie Andrews was not the "mom" of these children when she did that!! Funny I know, but even good movies can get to a person.

    1. Lisa,

      Now that's funny! :) Thank you for sharing with me today. ;) And I understand too as a mom how our children need to hear the same stuff from different people. ;) It's helpful isn't is?

      Love to you dear,
      Hester ;)