"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit." John 15:2
God is not as interested in my happiness as He is in my holiness. This business of becoming holy is tough stuff. How much has to go before I have achieved it? Aha! First of all, I'm not the one doing it. This is God's work in me. Second of all, it ALL has to go.
Christ says "Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you
Myself: my own will shall become yours."
C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity
I think about this a lot in terms of entertainment. I'm starting to wonder if there is any room in our lives for any of the entertainment the world has to offer. There is so much on TV and so many movies available to rent/buy. Most of it is just rotten. The rest can be pretty questionable. In trying to be more choosey in that area and trying to glorify God in my choices, I'm finding that there is almost nothing that is worth watching. What should be my standard? Even in Christian circles I see the standard sounding a bit like this: "Well, it's a lot better than anything else out there" or "It could be worse" or "I've seen worse". That isn't a good standard. When we use that standard for our own behavior we get into trouble. If I use the excuse that "I haven't murdered anybody", or "I don't cheat on my taxes" then I'm comparing myself to what I consider the worst examples (and I come out looking pretty good) rather than comparing myself to God's standard which is Jesus. In that case, I come out looking like I'm in need of a Savior. Which happens to be the truth. I'm going to go out on a limb here (with a saw) and say that I think Hannah Montana is garbage. In researching the show online I find that so many people think it's a great show. Even Christians. That surprised me. Even PluggedInOnline (a media review site by Focus on the Family) gives it a good review. That surprised me also. I guess it's getting good reviews because it's "better than the other stuff out there." I still think it's junk but I have a hard time explaining just why. Here's a stab at it:
-immodest, worldly dress
-inappropriate boy/girl relationships
-focus on self
-inappropriate situations portrayed as funny
-lack of respect for parents (this usually turns around by the end of the episode but it still keeps happening so the lesson never seems to be learned)
-answers lie within oneself
Oh, most of what I just said about Hannah Montana goes for High School Musical and HSM2 also. As you can probably imagine, I'm quite popular with my 11-year-old daughter right now.
We were asked by family members whether or not she could have those movies for Christmas. After researching them online (we had watched Hannah Montana on TV several times) we said No to Hannah but yes to High School Musical. Well, she got Hannah, HSM, HSM2, and HSM2 Behind the Scenes! Yikes! We took away Hannah and let her keep the rest. Yesterday I saw part of HSM2 and I was horrified! I couldn't even stay in the same room. Then it occurred to me that we had only agreed to HSM and not the sequel. When I looked at the review of HSM2 on Plugged In I realized that I would not have agreed to that movie if I had been asked in the first place. I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'm more interested in the holiness of my family and less interested in their happiness but, boy, this is hard.
What do you think? Do the titles I've talked about have any redeeming qualities? Am I missing something here?
I guess I thought of something to say! :-)