“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” [Romans 12:2; NLT]
Do you know that you are being programmed with the information that is presented to you through media entertainment? The movies and TV shows we watch, the entertainment articles on the Internet and social network platforms that we encounter all have the effect of influencing the way we think. As we have learned from our lessons on sound coding, what we hear influences our hearts and affects how we think.
Romans 12:2 is very relevant for us today as Christians. The growing influence of the internet and social network platforms is exposing us to a greater degree of worldly customs and traditions, making us even more vulnerable to the wisdom of this world. We find ourselves compromising on what the Bible says because we are being taught otherwise by the world. The sound codes we receive from what is being transmitted through movies, TV shows, and various forms of media entertainment are continuously warring within us, affecting our hearts and minds, and by extension how we act. Apostle Paul puts it this way, “but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me” [Romans 7:23, NIV]. He teaches us there is a battle in our minds – a war which could lead us to become slaves to sin, if we are not careful and do not guard our minds and hearts.
Let’s illustrate it this way. The Lord heard the cries of the Israelites, saw their need, and sent them a savior, Moses, to redeem them from the oppression and suffering of Egypt. He gave them the promise of a better life, riches and prosperity in the Promised Land and so they followed Moses, who brought them out of Egypt. However, although the Israelites were physically removed from their bondage, they still remained slaves to Egypt mentally. Thus, they complained and grumbled against the Lord, and against Moses, and desired to return to Egypt and to the dire conditions of which they had cried out to the Lord to redeem them from. Thus, the Lord had to keep them in the wilderness for 40 years (when they were required to journey from Egypt to the Promised Land in 11 days) because he had to kick the system of Egypt out of the Israelites and transform their minds, so that they would be ready to enter the Promised Land [the book of Exodus].
Similarly, God sent Jesus Christ to redeem us, spiritually, from the bondage of this world and death, so that we can enjoy the inheritance as joint-heirs with Christ. We have received the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of Christ [Colossians 1:13]. However, our minds continually need to be transformed so that we can be purged of the world’s system which we were accustomed to when we lived in the world, and be made more and more into the likeness of Christ by the Spirit of God [2 Corinthians 3:18]. Thus, we need to be careful about what we watch and allow to influence us. Media entertainment is controlled by the prince of the air [Ephesians 2:2], therefore, we must watch and be alert, lest we do not mix light with darkness. In fact the Bible states clearly, “[d]on’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” [2 Corinthians 6:14; NLT]. We cannot do what unbelievers do because light and darkness cannot be best friends, as the Message Bible translation puts it. Let us give up the things that promote worldly wisdom and pick up the things that promote the Kingdom of God. Let us do things that will edify us in the Lord, edifying others also in the long run [Romans 14:19].
Therefore, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” [Philippians 4:8, MSG]. We need to realize the importance of having our minds transformed so that we will be effective in the Kingdom of God, as we will know what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is. Now that we have been gifted with righteousness and holiness, we have the ability to live godly lives. “Therefore…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us” [Hebrews 12:1; AMP].