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What kind of entertainment is okay?

First, I don’t believe that the Christian life is meant to be one of constant work and toil without a break. Although our daily work is meant to be a blessing for us and can actually be a tremendous joy if we have the right attitude, it doesn't mean we shouldn't take time to enjoy the other wholesome pleasures of life.

There are many activities that can fill this void: camping, being with friends and family, church functions, and others. I want to make it clear that these aren't what I would even call “entertainment.” Typically, entertainment is defined as: “something affording pleasure, diversion, or amusement, esp. a performance of some kind.” When I hear the word “entertainment,” I generally think of films, television shows, books of fiction, computer games, and the like. That’s how I am approaching this question.

Unfortunately, our culture is profoundly addicted to entertainment. As dangerous as it is to work non-stop without a break, it is just as easy for even the best of Christians to fall prey to the deluge of mind-numbing entertainment. It’s best to think of entertainment as a short break or as a treat that comes after school, work, prayer, Bible study, and other activities of the day. It’s like dessert, really. Have too much, and it will cause harm to you. Have it too early, and it can ruin your appetite for better things. But as long as your priorities are straight, some entertainment is certainly okay!

But what kind of entertainment?

The Bible says in Philippians 4:8, “Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report … think on these things.” If you apply these criteria to what you’re watching, reading, and hearing, I don’t think you can go wrong.

Is your choice of entertainment elevating? Is it noble? Is it true? These are some of the tests that Paul applies regarding how we determine what to think about. It’s up to the individual to decide exactly how to apply this standard, but remember that King David said, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” (Psalm 101:3).

When we follow these guidelines, we’re more likely to choose activities that nurture the fruits of the Spirit. And the bottom line is always,” What would Jesus do?” What would He watch, what would He read, and what would He listen to? These are very good questions to ask yourself in every situation. A Christian is a follower of Christ, so His example should be foremost in our minds and hearts. The only way to really find that out is to study your Bible.

I also want to caution you to not be deceived by things called “Christian” or “family entertainment.” For instance, some Christian films and books are not only filled with misleading errors, they have violent scenes outside a biblical context. You can also apply this to the trendy Christian rock scene and similarly to the popular Christian culture at large. There is a reason why many of these types of entertainments are on the rise, and I don’t think God has very much to do with them.

By Pastor Doug Batchelor

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