About a month ago in prayer, God challenged me. He challenged me to live without television for 30 days. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but that challenge destroyed me. I’m not sure I would have been more devastated if God had asked me to go without food for a week. Honestly. It was that big of a deal to me. When I heard the Spirit say, “No TV,” my stomach dropped. I felt sick. I thought, “God, that’s impossible.” For the next ten minutes or so, my prayers consisted of things like, “Well, God, you’re going to have to give me the strength, ’cause I can’t do this!” Eventually, though, I resigned, saying, “I am not my own, my life is yours. Who am I to say ‘No’ to you, God?” And so I committed to this task. And by God’s grace, in 4 days, it will have been 30 days without television.
Let me give you a few more details. As I went on with this challenge, I felt God further defining it, and further challenging me. I wasn’t watching any TV, but I’d enjoy a YouTube video now and then. “No YouTube,” God said. Yes, Lord. Then, one day I watched one of those “Vines” posted by a friend on Facebook. I felt conviction. “Okay God,” I said, “I get it.” Then another week or so went by, and I felt compelled to stay away from Facebook. Basically, God was stripping away all ENTERTAINMENT from my life. I know, I know. This seems extreme to our American sensibilities, over-saturated with Entertainment as we are. But there it is. This is how God dealt with me.
I can hear some of you saying, “Well, what did you do then? No TV, no YouTube, no Facebook, no entertainment at all?! What did you do with all that time??” I played with my son. I had conversations with my wife. I found time to pray more, now that I wasn’t so busy in front of the TV. Once, my wife and I even went on a drive – for an hour and a half – with my son asleep in the carseat – and we talked about all that God was doing in our lives, and all we hoped He would do. My wife said it felt like a date night!
Let’s admit it to ourselves – we’re addicted to entertainment. We need, nearly every hour of the day, to be entertained, amused, distracted, mesmerized by…something. Life isn’t enough anymore. Reality isn’t enough anymore. We’re always looking for an escape. And what’s worse, we seem to spend HOURS of our lives in search of that elusive experience. We flip through the channels 50 times before admitting that there’s nothing on. Then we either do it again, or settle for some boring show that we don’t really want to watch, but for some reason we’ve determined that we MUST watch TV right now.
But the Word of God says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). Are you ‘looking carefully’ to how you live? Are you making wise choices? Are you making the best use of your time? I’m not saying that you need to never watch TV again, or even that you should follow my example and take a month off (though I think it would be good to take even a day or two off).
The reality is that as Christians, we ought to be different from the world. We ought to do stuff that seems weird and freakish to the world. We ought to be willing to give up anything for the sake of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave up everything for us. So ask God about this area of your life. Let Him deal with you. I’m sure He will deal with you differently than He did with me. He knows what you need far more than I do, and He will “lead you gently.” Trust Him, and submit to Him. Amen.