Reprinted by the kind permission of Believer’s Magazine
If you wish, you can buy a television the size of a mini-cinema screen for your home, with DVD, which has now replaced VHS, furnish it with a sound system which will transform your lounge into the Albert Hall, and insert a broadband connection enabling you to communicate on a scale comparable with GCHQ. Online chat rooms and instant messaging bring you a circle of friends and a fantasy social life without ever meeting people. If you are feeling a bit flabby then get some equipment for the house and you can run and cycle for hours without moving an inch. This is the world of 2003 where everything is possible in your living room.
Daily newspapers, the wireless radio in your car, 8 track cassettes, reel to reel recordings, record players, televisions, videos, CD and DVD players, satellite, cable and now there is the Internet. Each of these was the latest thing when introduced into society, and in their day brought the believer in the Lord Jesus to a point of decision. Was it right to possess such things? The issue is basically the same today, with the difference being the increasingly sinful content available through these pieces of equipment.
We all have personal decisions to make when it comes to any of these items, from newspapers to the Internet. If you are setting up a home, newly married or soon to be, then you will face these decisions when you think about furnishing your home. Perhaps you have had a home for some time and it is time to take stock of what you have in it.
These decisions are yours to make, as they are personal decisions which will affect your home and eventually your family, with the responsibility that follows such decisions. The ultimate responsibility will lie with the husband or father in the house. This is not political correctness: it is the teaching of the Bible in relation to the responsibility of headship and decision making within the family unit.
As a husband or father, do not duck the decision or avoid the responsibility. The Apostle sets out the teaching of God in relation to headship within the family in Ephesians 5, and also instructs children to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise,)” (Eph 6:1-4). Husbands, wives, and children are seen living in a relationship of mutuality and responsibility. As you face your responsibility and think about what to have or not to have, there are things you must consider.
What can this bring into my home? Will I watch, or listen to, or read things I should not be allowing into my mind? It is easy to become hardened to sin, and anyone who watches soap operas, for example, has become attracted to the display of violence, immorality, and an ethos of godlessness which is portrayed as “real life.” You would not allow a person to curse in your house, yet you listen to the display of this on television. You do not endorse adultery in your street, but you watch it being played out on a screen in your home.
We need to be careful about content, not only with television, but also the Internet, in fact, especially the Internet, which is the only uncensored purveyor of pornography in our county (UK), and a medium which has become the favored tool of the pervert and pedophile.
With content, it is good to remember that what is sinful for you to do, is also sinful for you to watch, listen to, or read about others doing.
Time management is a big thing in business. Before it became a favored subject of management training, the Bible taught time management for Christians: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:16). Time is that precious commodity that cannot be bought or recovered. Each hour passes into eternity to be examined at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The gospel preacher exhorts the sinner to respond to the claims of Christ, for time is short and the coming of the Lord is drawing ever nearer. It is good to remember that time passes just as quickly when you are saved.
Whatever you have in you home must not rob God of your time. If you are not studying the Bible and are trawling the Internet or in a chat room, you have a decision to make. If you will not go to a meeting because you want to watch something on the television or a video, you have a decision to make. If a visit from some saints is irksome because you would rather get your nose into a novel, you have a decision to make. It is the difference between spending time and squandering time, buying up opportunities for serving God and wasting time on meaningless things at the best, and squalid sin at the worst.
It is safe never to underestimate your ability to control and never to underestimate your potential to sin. With most media outlets there are controls you can exercise. An on/off button is perhaps the most obvious. With the Internet there are filter software and service providers which will not allow sites with undesirable things to be accessed. However, control is not in a button or a piece of software; these are simply safeguards which you exercise as a result of your control. Control of a radio, library card, computer, or whatever, lies in the heart. You know your own heart and what control you have over your eyes and ears. Err on the safe side and remember this good advice: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1: 13).
It is good sense to consider carefully what you could or could not control in your home. Recognize that what one person can control and never allow to be a problem in his walk with the Lord, another person may find a huge stumbling block and the cause of much trouble. Consideration must also be given to your husband or wife, and also children whose curiosity may open locked doors and unlock passwords. The responsibility is yours.
If you take a walk through your town or village in the early evening and look at the house, you will find the light of a television shining out of the window of almost every house. Millions of people in our country, indeed the vast majority of the population, are all watching and listening to the same things: a few channels and perhaps five or six programs entering into the minds of the whole country. Television has anchored the people in their homes and has become the enemy of the gospel preacher as he conducts gospel meetings.
It is also why Christians do not attend meetings beyond the necessary gatherings of their own assembly. After work you want nothing more than to have your tea and settle down in front of the television and chew some mental bubble gum. There is this, that, or another thing you noticed will be on tonight: Champions League football; Eastenders; the classic Christian staple diet of nature programs or, perish the thought, Big Brother.
Wait a minute. Isn’t it you who moans about the assembly being dull and the lack of sinners at the gospel meeting? You hold court at the supper table on Sunday night and then watch the TV during the week; elders who don’t have time to visit the saints but know all about Newsnight; young believers who can tell you the statistics from the football, but don’t know the names of the seven churches in Revelation; sisters who know who is who on Friends, but have never visited an old sister to help her.
It is time to get offline, put the book down, get away from the TV, and take the headphones off. Are you being entertained in your home or are you spending your time investing for eternity?
It is your decision what you have in your home. Take care that what you consider to be controllable does not become a snare. Remember, Peter wrote of the need to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour? (1 Pet 5:8).