Overcoming Temptation

Scripture: Philippians 4:8
How is a Christian to live in a world so filled with negative input that are counterproductive to a good life? Does what we watch actually change us? How do we choose what to put into our minds?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our host Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible and talk about themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi there, and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw and with me, Gary Gibbs. Hi Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi John. We have a very interesting topic today that I think a lot of our listeners are going to want to stay tune to hear about. We're going to be talking about how to live a Christian life in today's world, where we're constantly bombarded with negative images and suggestions that are counterproductive to living a Christian life.

John: When you look at the television today, profanity and decency, sexual suggestiveness, it's everywhere.

Gary: You can't even turn on your computer without it bombarding nowadays.

John: The movies -- well, we hardly need to explain that. Music today -- man, music is not what it was when I was a kid listening to music. Every thing's change and this is impacting Christians of all ages a every level of society.

Gary: But you know John, I would venture to say that a lot of Christians don't even... they're not overly concerned with a lot of this. I think we have in our minds this idea that, well, yeah, some of the stuff's negative, but it's not completely detrimental to my Christian walk. And then we'll say, "OK, the obvious things, pornography, X-rated stuff -- yeah, that's bad." But then we create this gray zone. Where would you draw the line as to what a Christian should allow themselves to be exposed to and participate in and what they should just absolutely flee from and leave aside?

John: Well, the Bible says in Philippians 4:8, "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report; if there be any virtue and there be any praise, think on these things." That doesn't leave a lot of room for Hollywood or the music studios tuning up their stuff today.

Gary: Well, the question is does it leave any room? I mean, are you suggesting then that it's got to be honest, true -- I mean I've seen some documentaries that are honest but they're not of good report. You know, they're bad news items. Does that mean I shouldn't look at those things?

John: Before we draw too tight a bow here, let's go where I think it ought to be pretty obvious for the Christian. Let's talk about movies. How about we start there?

Gary: Let's start there.

John: Most everybody watches movies. Lots and lots of people, if you read the newspaper and see the reports of how much money is being spent on the movies, go to the movies. And what are the movies that are most popular? Usually very violent -- maybe the science fiction fantasies which have no root in the Bible. The things that portray a lot of sex and immoral behavior, antisocial behavior. What does a Christian have to do with watching anything like that? That's my question for you.

Gary: Well, they don't need to be watching that. The Bible also says in the book of Corinthians that, "By beholding, we actually become changed." I've talked to friends about this and they debate that and they say, "No, you know that doesn't affect me. I'm adult and I can filter it out," but we don't know the subtle ways that it can change us. In fact, I read a report not too long ago, perhaps you saw it, where it talked about the change in the brain actually. As we watch violent images, they can track what it's doing to the brain chemistry. So there are things that we might not even be aware of that over a long period time that we are affected by what we watch. And so if we're watching murders and explosions and deaths and crime, it's affecting us.

John: I would venture to suggest that many, many Christians watch the same movies as non-Christians without regard with the content or without much regard to the content. I would just go on record saying there's no place for the Christian to be watching immoral behavior, sexually explicit behavior. You're sitting through a lot of movies. Unless they're G-rated, you're exposing yourself and maybe your kids to impure language, impure associations and thoughts. A lot of blasphemy and the name of God is used in vain in so many popular and common movies today. I think it's at least time for Christians to stop and give some real consideration to just what it is they're watching in the movie theaters today, at the cinemas. A lot of the stuff we just don't need to be watching.

Gary: Now John, I want to argue the other side of this.

John: Go ahead.

Gary: Just because we know that our listeners are coming at this from different perspectives and let me kind of voice what some of them might be thinking right now. You said we have no business watching it if it's not a G-rating, essentially what you were saying.

John: Unless it's wholesome and representative of the Bible. You could stretch this too far. There are gonna be some documentaries which might not need a G-rating but may not be necessarily bad to watch. But I'm not interested in splitting hairs on Bible Talk. I'm talking about the stuff where you've got immoral behavior, sexually explicit stuff, wanton violence, this Hollywood stuff that isn't going to help you grow like Jesus and is going to affect your character in a way that's not consistent with the Bible packing. You can split hairs about documentaries all day long, but that's not what we're about on Bible Talk.

Gary: But isn't this though the real world? I mean, you pick up the newspaper, you know there are murders, there are crimes. Isn't this the real world? Are you suggesting that Christians ought to stick their head in the sand?

John: No, the real world is there's murders and there's crimes, but the real world for the Christians is that you don't need to go a movie house and watch people taking off their clothes.

Gary: What about on my television set?

John: Now, there's no difference, is there? You see, everybody's got to realize that on TV today there's more profanity than ever. With cable television there are stuffs that's just way over the edge. I'm not even talking about edgy, this is just plain bad. I hope I remember to come back to the point that I'm thinking. No, let me just say it now. People with televisions in there house, cable, with some of these cable channels that show wickedness... While that's there, your kids have got access to it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I know of Christian families leave full cable with the television set in each of their children's bedrooms. They're free to watch what they want, when they want. Now what on the world is going on there?

Gary: They're getting in education, I would say.

John: They sure are and it's not an education coming from Jesus Christ. TV today contains a burgeoning amount of television programs featuring homosexual characters in very, very positive light. I'm not suggesting that we must always portray homosexuals negatively, but the practice of homosexuality is contrary to the Bible and ought not be promoted. Christians don't need to be imbibing this.

Gary: Well, why not? I mean, what is the harm? We realize it's out there. I mean are we to be Pollyanna and not even recognize and realize that this type of stuff is happening? What is the harm to a Christian watching the stuff?

John: Well firstly, you know it's out there. You'd be living in a vacuum if you didn't realize what was going on in the society. Even Jesus didn't live that way and he associated with sinners; he didn't associate with their sin necessarily. What is the harm? I'm going to go back to the verse that you used, "By beholding we become changed." Christians of all people ought to realize that, but I'm not sure that we do as much as we ought to. What you focus on is what you become like. What you accept as normal is what you will accept as OK.

There is a lowering of the standards in society, worse in the Christians heart; you open yourself up to be exposed to the playground of the devil. Man, I sound old fashioned here today, but the Bible is an old fashioned book. And on Bible Talk we are going to encourage people to be consistent with the Bible.

Gary: I think a lot of people... Well, we all need to realize that we are constantly programming ourselves to think a certain way, to behave in certain manners. We're actually programming our future, you might say, by what we put in to these brains.

John: There's no question. We cannot serve two masters according to the Bible. And so think of this in the context of a devotional life. The Christian gets up in the morning, spends time along with Jesus in prayer. "Oh Jesus, come in to my heart." And then reads the Holy Bible for a few moments in the morning and focuses on the word of God, and then spends the rest of the day listening to irreligious rock music, watching immoral television shows, being entertained by Hollywood fare that is totally opposed to the Bible.

Man, you're undoing everything that you've done, and you're going to find it very difficult to maintain a real connection with Jesus when you're inviting the devil to take up residence in your heart.

Gary: I would actually suggest that you couldn't even; you're not going to like studying the Bible. If a person is filling their mind with that type of entertainment, the Bible is going to be like eating sand.

John: It is well known.

Gary: It's going to be dry and gritty, and you're not going to desire for it.

John: It is well known that imbibing this, it gives people a distasteful spiritual things because these things are diametrically opposed to spiritual things. So this is another reason it's very, very important that we insulate ourselves against unnecessary exposure to the things of the devil that speak to us not of the things of Christ.

Gary: That's right. You know John, I think we ought to at this point mention our free offer that our listeners are going to be able to take advantage of at the end of the program to help them in their spiritual walk.

John: We've got a tremendous Bible study we want to offer you today. It is entitled, "The Word That Transforms." And this is going to help you in your study, going to help you navigate the troubled waters of the world out there. Get a hold of this. Call the number we give you. Write to the address we give you. "The Word That Transforms," this is an offer that I really want to encourage you to take up today.

Gary: We've talked now about movies and what we watch on television. But what about music? Music is such an integral part of our life and there are so many styles of music. What about music, John?

John: Well you know what again, I don't want to split hairs here because somebody's going to say, "Well. this one has a little bit of this. This one is slightly that." Let's just talk on obvious times. Today, the music of today is vastly different to the music of yesterday. Now we were never...

Gary: How far back yesterday do you have to go?

John: Well, let's go back ...

Gary: Go back to my childhood; the people... the adults in my childhood were saying the same thing about the music I listen to.

John: Well, you know what, they were right when they were going crazy about Elvis swiveling his hips. Sure, today that is tame. Today, that is nothing. I think that shows you just how far downhill we've gone. The Beatles came along and sang, "I wanna hold your hand." Let me tell you, in case you haven't been listening, they've moved way past holding your hand in music today. The advent of rap music... I'd like to think that majority of our listeners aren't listening to rap but I want to tell you, there's a good chance your children are.

And I just, I got curious one day when I saw a title of a rap song. It was number two in the charts and I said to myself, "I'm just going to check this out." So I did a little search, I look up the lyrics to the song.

Gary: Mm-hmm.

John: Number two in the charts and man, I've been around but when I read those lyrics, I was horrified. This stuff is blue. And it's not just rap. Even in stuff s seemingly innocuous as some of the country music that we listen to today... What's it about often? Inappropriate relationships, immorality, sex. Not all of it but a great amount of it. It's time, at least, for people to start giving a lot of thought to what they're putting in their heads.

Gary: So what you're saying is we need to be listening to the lyrics, but does it go beyond lyrics? Does it go to the style of the music, the sound of the music?

John: Music has a physiological effect on people, there's no doubt about it. And there is music that is calculated to get your body moving and grooving. Not calculated to get your body praising the Lord and feeling at one with Jesus. We've -- I guess I have, I'm going to guess you have -- been in rock concerts. Just the music gets you moving and acting in a way that, well, you wouldn't want to act if you were sitting down face to face with Jesus. Let's put it that way.

Gary: That's right. So you're talking about we need to look at the lyrics, but we ought to listen to the style of music and needs to be a music that uplifts us spiritually instead of physically, in a fleshly manner.

John: I've heard Christian music and I've said to myself, "Man, what is that? It sounds like rock to me, it's getting me moving." Oh, it's about Jesus? You'd never know by the sound of it.

Gary: It's an important topic because it affects our spiritual life.

John: And Jesus wants you to have the very best spiritual life possible. Accept that from him today, come close to him. And until we get together again next time on Bible Talk with Gary Gibbs, I'm John Bradshaw. God bless you. If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed. It expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simple call, write or email and ask for, "The Word That Transforms."

The toll free number is 866-BIBLESA; that's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058 Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk is being produce in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of LifeTalk Radio.

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