I remember it so vividly.
It was bedtime for the kids, and Claire and I were planning on praying with them and getting them tucked into bed and then relaxing.
I had my headphones sitting on the armrest of the sofa ready to plug in, relax and watch a TV show.
What show you may ask?
A little show called Stranger Things.
A couple of years back I had watched the 1st and 2nd season, and I had heard they just released season 3!
Everyone was hyping it up, and I figured I needed to check it out! What was I missing? What were the characters up to since season 2?
Now, I want to be clear when I had watched this show in the past I had zero conviction about watching it.
And even if I did… some of the people I hear recommending this show I know go to church too! Not only that, it has a TV-14 rating, and I’m like double that age, right?
So hear we go. Let’s watch it!
*spoiler alert* Show starts out with 2 young teenagers kissing, a couple of curse words (little awkward having to hear that but whatever no big deal), now here comes the typical, good-looking lifeguard and all the ladies excited. Show continues on…more cursing etc.
Now, let me be clear. I’m a strong Christian and man of God and by the grace of God I never have struggled with cursing, so I figured even if I hear a few words it won’t be a big deal.
But wait… there’s more.
The end of episode 1 starts to close, and they blindside me and probably everyone else who has been enjoying this show.
The young, male lifeguard makes a pass at a married woman on the show and they arrange to meet up that evening at a nearby motel. Then the scene that evening shows her putting on make up and then slipping off her wedding ring, heading downstairs and seeing her husband asleep with a child on his lap.
Now, if that scene alone is not terrible enough itself, want to know what my first thought was when I saw that?
I literally just thought if I hit fast forward all would be well because I would miss anything that happened further!
But I had already seen enough.
I heard the blasphemies. I heard the profanity. I saw them plan to meet up. I saw her slip off her wedding ring. What is this show (and many others) teaching our world?
Not only that, even if I did fast forward, how many other adults and children are viewing the remainder of the content?
You see, entertainment has a way of doing this. They have a way of starting a show and keeping it innocent for a period of time. To reel you in. To get you connected and committed to the characters and the story line.
I heard a quote from John and Lisa Bevere that said, “You can’t have authority over something you are entertained by.”
Once we are truly entertained by something it can sneakily enslave us.
We ignore our convictions because we NEED to know what happens. How the characters turn out, etc.
And yes, finally after 45 minutes of watching this I allow the Holy Spirit to awaken my conscious to what I am viewing.
Well, you’d think after feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit I would stop.
You think I’d be like wow what am I doing watching this?
How would I react if my child wanted to watch this, would I allow one of them? Um of course not.
So what do I do?
Continue to watch another episode.
Turns out in episode 2 the lady’s conscience kicked in and she did not meet up with the lifeguard, and had to confront him the next day. Well, when she goes to confront him and explain why she didn’t show up he bashes her head into a wall…
Writing all of this down now, I seriously wish I could honestly say that I turned off the tv and that was the end of it.
EVEN after the conviction of the Holy Spirit and some spiritual attacks it wasn’t until I got an email from a website called VidAngel that reality sunk in. (VidAngel is something that lets you filter the bad stuff from TV shows and movies). In this email from VidAngel they discussed how much cursing and blasphemies have increased in this season of Stranger Things compared to the last was it a huge eye opener to me.
I remember thinking to myself, “Seriously what am I doing watching this and letting entering my home?”
Once again, that quote rang true. You can’t have authority over something you are entertained by. I had to awaken to the truth. I couldn’t be entertained by this any longer.
How can I, as a Christian, Man of God, Husband, Father and leader in church continue to watch this?
How do I feel knowing that so many other adults, teens and even children are watching this and it is shaping their view of life and marriage.
The sad thing is Claire even knew something was off.
After everything from being convicted, alerted by an outside source email, spiritual attacks, and Claire even asking me about it… I FINALLY gained authority by surrendering my entertainment. I refused to watch another episode.
Now I know there are many who argue that we have grace and salvation brings freedom!
But hear this verse…
“It’s true that our freedom allows us to do anything, but that doesn’t mean that everything we do is GOOD for us. I’m free to do as I choose, but I choose to never be enslaved to anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 TPT
When I think back to this whole scenario and even a few other similar scenarios that have happened in the past, I always found myself saying ONE simple excuse when I felt the conviction. “Everyone else is doing it.”
You may even be thinking, “Well I know for sure my pastor watches this or does that, so it must mean it’s ok?” Or “So and so in my life group told me they are watching this or doing that.”
Let’s got to scripture again.
But the Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV
Looking back now, I can’t even believe I used the excuse “everyone else is doing it,” but I know the enemy is a deceiver. And he is using entertainment to enter our homes, minds and hearts and we have to stand guard.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
I have actually experienced this conviction and surrender process before with other TV shows, with drinking alcohol, and just every day things that “every day people do” and even Christians do, but I knew God was calling me to go deeper. Calling me to surrender MORE of the things of this world in order to truly embrace all He had for me and my family. A bigger purpose. A greater plan. But it involved consecration. It involved sanctification. It involved giving up things that even other Christians viewed as “acceptable.”
I didn’t want to write this to bash, shame or condemn anyone, but to share my testimony, in hopes that it will help at least one other person step into all God has for them. I also didn’t write this with the intent to try and talk you out of watching Stranger Things. I wrote this with the intent that you invite God into the picture. Ask the Holy Sprit to convict and reveal to you shows, movies or any other thing in your life that is displeasing to Him. Just pray this simple scripture, “God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways— the path that brings me back to you.” Psalms 139:23-24 TPT
Hear this profound statement made by Allyson Rowe..
“If the enemy can lower your standard, he can numb your conviction. When we lose conviction, we lose our Fear of God. It is a very dangerous place to be.
We cannot influence a world that we conform to.
I urge you- protect your eye-gates. Protect your minds. Protect your ears. Don’t allow perversion to flood your spirit with images of sexual and vulgar messages.
Our hearts should break at these things- not embrace them.
You don’t have to find sin. Sin is already waiting at the door for you to open. Don’t open it.”
“Therefore, since we have these [great and wonderful] promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, completing holiness [living a consecrated life—a life set apart for God’s purpose] in the fear of God.” 2 CORINTHIANS 7:1 AMP
“But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:19, 21-22 NLT
“All who seek to live apart from me will lose it all. But those who let go of their lives for My sake and surrender it all to Me will discover true life!” Matthew 10:39 TPT
“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Matthew 6:22-23 NLT