Monday, January 17, 2011

Professional Daydreamers

Confession time: I like playing video games. And watching tv. AND reading sci-fi/fantasy books....

In the past I have attempted to appease my conscience by telling myself that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with these things. After all, what 20-year old guy doesn't like to play some video games at least every once in a while? What's so wrong with watching tv? It's relaxing my mind and is just a nice form of entertainment. I'm not even watching any of those inappropriate shows! And what could be bad about reading some books? Isn't reading supposed to be a good exercise for your brain? A thousand and one other excuses always seemed available to counter any doubts about these activities or any other ones like them. Then I read this verse: "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). Or how about this one: "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time" (Col 4.5)? Wow. Talk about a wake up call.

In light of these words a decision must be made. What life will we choose? Is it to be fantasy or reality? We in America have become all too accustomed to a life of persistent delusions. We are professional daydreamers. We consistently prefer to accept lies over and above the truth. If you have any doubt about it, then simply walk down the aisles of any supermarket, or turn on the tv, or take a drive in your car. Images confront us everywhere we go to purchase the latest and greatest - to enjoy maximum comfort brought by our technological advancements.

I must say that I don't believe it is necessarily wrong to enjoy some form of entertainment or relaxation. What I am saying is that I believe we (myself included) tend to preoccupy ourselves with entertainment and relaxation rather than God and His Word. This is nothing new, for it is the nature of the flesh to focus on self rather than others. Though this indeed tends to be the call to Christians: get outside yourself, know God, and reach out to others. However, a dilemma occurs when we attempt to straddle the fence between Christ and the world.

We relish the fictional because it helps to distract us from reality. Truth: most of the world lives below the poverty level. Truth: human slavery still persists today in the form of sex-slaves. Truth: clean water and adequate nutrition are unavailable to most people throughout the world. As if these were not enough, we, as Christians, understand that these problems are "the tip of the iceberg" so to speak. Truth: over a third of the world's population have never even heard the name of Jesus. Truth: if nobody goes, there is no preaching; if nobody preaches, there is no hearing; if nobody hears, there is no believing; if nobody believes, there is no hope. Truth: God's desire is for ALL mankind to be saved - coming to the knowledge of the truth!

We must cling to the truth! Jesus said that the truth will set us free. His Word is truth - we must immerse ourselves in its cleansing waters of life. Christianity is not about Bible bookstores, or going to church, or feeling good about yourself. Christianity is about the truth!

Talking to Christians, Paul said: "for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Eph 5.8). None of us would argue the complete difference between darkness and light. By definition they are totally contradictory to one another. God has made us into NEW creations, yet we tend to cling so much to the old. The exhortation is clear: Behave as those who have been enlightened to the truth! However, the implication is also clear: we may choose to live as if we had never known the truth in the first place! And is this not the supreme struggle that every Christian faces, though they may not even admit to it? Philippians 4.8 says this: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

Know it. Live it.