Troublesome Topic: Does This Make Me More Like God?

Lesson 13 of 14

I try to ask myself often, “Does what I am doing right now make me more like God?” With TV, secular videos, the leisurely use of the internet or video games the answer is usually “no.” Every part of our lives should in some way take us closer to God. Inner transformation to make us more like God is the purpose of all those laws in the Former Covenant related to holiness. If we know something does not make us more godly, then why do we do it so often? American culture has placed entertainment and relaxation in a very elevated position on the ladder of priorities. God is in the business of making me more like him; He has never expressed much interest in making me comfortable or keeping me entertained.

I will not try to delve into why women love sports, but here are my thoughts on why sports are so captivating for men. I believe it has to do with the warrior deep down inside each man. We thrive on competition, on the battle of strength against strength. In today’s culture there are a few other ways for the warrior nature to be displayed, but sports is the big one. Our military operations happen far from home (thank God for that) and they are often highly technological. But in Bible times, the stories of exploits in battle involved one’s own father, uncle, brother, even grandpa. People had heroes they knew, heroes who lived lives of honor every day of the week as well as lives of valor on the battlefield. Those exploits had meaning and importance. But in the absence of such heroic exploits close to home, men of today strive to identify with the physical exploits of their sports “heroes.”

Does this make us into the warriors God wants us to be?

If you are a God-fearing man, I suggest that you begin to live for something bigger than you are. Find a cause worth fighting for. Become a hero to someone in need, help the needy, fight against injustice, put yourself on the line for others. When you do this you will find much more fulfillment than cheering for your favorite team. When you spend yourself for something of eternal value it will highlight the passing quality of achievements in sports. If our own lives are full of meaning, we will not have the desire to live vicariously through an athlete or movie star.

Besides watching TV and movies and playing video games to relax and be entertained, some do so to be distracted. Distracted from what? From their problems? Probably so. Does it help? Does it effectively deal with our problems, or prepare us to deal with them? Does it make them go away?

If we don’t watch TV and movies to relax or to be distracted from problems, then maybe we are doing so because we are seeking the surge of specific emotions. After some time, we have become almost addicted to those emotions and a movie is not very good unless it whips up the emotions even more than the last one. But because of the law of diminishing returns, it will take more stimuli to get the same level of emotion as last time.

Is there anything wrong with having our emotions stirred up, or leaving our problems behind for a while? Actually, there can be. If we are not finding fulfillment in life and need to have our emotions stirred up in an artificial way, that means there is a spiritual problem that is not being addressed. If we are always avoiding our problems, God is not given the chance to help us work through them and help us grow stronger in the process. On the other hand, if we are finding fulfillment in God we will be emotionally and mentally stimulated and we will not need artificially induced emotional highs.

We sing songs that say Jesus is our all in all, but if we seek fulfillment, relief from problems, and stirring of our emotions from artificial sources, it calls into question if what we are singing is true. Jesus is called the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end; He is said to be all and in all. Are those phrases referring to only spiritual issues, or does God intend that the spiritual and the practical aspects of our lives become intertwined? I am convinced it is the latter, in which Jesus being “all and in all” means that He is the one I should go to when I have problems, He is the one I should find fulfillment in, He is the one who should help me relax, He should help me grow, He should be my everything for everything.

If we are finding our needs met in God, our relationships with others will be more fulfilling and we will meet others’ needs better. God designed us and knows what we need. If you follow Him fully, your marriage will be better, your relationship with your kids will be better, and on down the line. Modern forms of entertainment usually pull us away from people; God wants to draw people together.

I must hasten to add that we don’t grow in our relationship with God at the same rate, in the same manner, or in the same order. You may think I have been pretty hard on the use of modern media, and I have been; that is the standard I see in God’s word as expressed through God’s covenant conditions. However, I also realize that not everyone is ready to receive the same word at the same time. Some will read or hear these things and know they must act on them now. Others will read or hear these same words and take baby steps in that direction. Still others are working on the obvious things first, and God will bring them to things that are less obvious as they grow. This does not excuse you from action if God is telling you to change something in your life. But it does mean that we cannot be judgmental toward others who are not at the same place we are in our walk with God – in fact no two people are at the exact same place in their walk with God at any given time.

The next lesson in the Full series on Covenants is: All Areas of Spirituality Are Closely Related

This is the last lesson in the Medium Series on Covenants. Thank you for reading it.