The slumber of Christianity
I’ve always been an avid reader of Christian literature and the Bible in general but have been very saddened in the last few years seeing so many of my Christian friends and peers to not read any and if – very little – Christian books and the Bible.
Even though a lot of Christians seem to profess their faith, most of their free time, money and energy goes towards watching TV, consuming mainstream media and thinking about the next holiday, favourite hobby or shopping trip.
Whilst all of these things are generally not wrong in themselves I found that this worldly-mindedness has a massive impact on:
- their identity being rooted in material things – and not in Christ,
- limited vision and outlook for their lives – living for the here and now,
- being very unprepared when problems arise or crises hit in their lives
- no or little growth in their faith, i.e. constantly dealing with the same re-occurring issues without being able to make any progress.
A growing challenge in a media-saturated world
I don’t think this is a recent problem as the apostle Paul mentioned something similar in Hebrews 5:11-14:
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Nonetheless, with the constant increase in media saturation in our lives we as Christians need to be even more media savvy and discerning in trying to understand the messages that are being fed to us through mainstream media and our culture. We cannot expect to experience changed lives if we give God’s Word and the Holy Spirit little or no space in our lives and instead feed our minds constantly on whatever spiritual and mental nourishment the latest television, computer games, Internet, music and radio is providing us with.
Many Christians often wonder what God’s will is for their lives and current situations. Romans 12:2 – a famous Bible passage – states:
“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.”
That means we will increasingly see and understand God’s will for our lives and actions if we renew our minds by regularly seeking God in his Word and prayer including some good quality Christian books and music. If we do this then we will start to increasingly experience God’s guidance and don’t end up wasting our lives and retiring as old, bitter people full of regrets.
The animation I’ve created deals with exactly this topic: Four talking animal friends discover an old, dilapidated mansion somewhere hidden in a magical forest. As they start exploring the house they meet some of its strange inhabitants and eventually get stuck in the basement’s enchanted library.
One of the people they meet in the house is the Globglogabgalab, an overweight creature that is addicted to the books in its underground library. His body is like a huge lump of dough that is fed by the thoughts and stories of the books.
The contents of the books work their way just like yeast through his body causing all kinds of changes within him that he can’t properly control and thereby making him extremely overweight and obese. Nonetheless, he spends all his life consuming whatever thoughts and books he can find.
He knows he’s called by the king (i.e. the Great Elohim) to serve and follow him but simply does not want to inconvenience himself by giving up his constant intake of whatever stories and entertainment that come his way.
Running the race on spiritual fast-food
The Bible compares us with runners in a race in several passages:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26)
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
“[…] let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin thatso easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12: 1-2)
The difference between a marathon at the Olympics and our spiritual life is that our race does not occur in the body, but in our spirit and mind.
I’m sure you’d agree that if you’re planning to run a marathon then you must train and discipline your body. I’m sure you’d find it very difficult to run a race with the figure and stature of the Globglogabgalab.
But that’s what I regularly see in many Christian lives. We spend 3-4 hours each day consuming spiritual and mental fast-food by watching whatever we can find in mainstream culture and media and having our only healthy, mental and spiritual intake on Sunday morning and maybe during the week at a Bible study or house group.
Are you a Globglogabgalab?
Please be assured – I’m not against culture, music, the media, entertainment and films. I listen to music all the time and absolutely love watching movies. The fact that I’ve spent several years making a 3d animation should really attest to that! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with consuming mainstream media in a controlled and discerning way in the same way as it doesn’t hurt to have the occasional McDonalds or take-away.
However, I believe many Christians are now at the point where the balance has shifted to an extreme where mental and spiritual fastfood is the norm and healthy, Biblical “renewing of the mind” is rare and banished to passive, weekly, Church related activities.
Here are my challenges for you:
- Are you spiritually and mentally overweight constantly feeding on whatever entertainment you can find? Do you spend more time watching TV in one day than you spend in all spiritual pursuits combined for an entire week?
- Do you actually enjoy reading the Bible or Christian books? One of the signs of being Spirit-filled is a change in desires causing us to want to study God’s Word, hear from Him and make our lives count.
- I’m sure you recognise the parable of the talents that’s embedded within the story. What talents has God given to you? Are you investing your time, money or resourcing in a way that is pleasing to God? How would he respond to you if he was to return today?
Try a spiritual diet check-up. Spend a month writing down a detailed list of whatever films, TV, media, entertainment and Christian content (Bible, sermons, books, etc.) that you’re consuming. Then start to plan how you would like to better spend your free time in order to be spiritually and mentally strengthened and more effectively renew your mind. Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit to walk in his strength and to help you change your mental and spiritual diet and intake.
Further useful resources:
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