To say we live in an age of entertainment overload is an understatement. Never before have we had so many options to keep ourselves entertained as in the current digital age.
Bored when we’re standing in line? Watch an amusing dog video on Facebook.
Bored while cooking dinner or getting ready for the day? Put on the TV or Netflix in the background.
Need a distraction when we come home? Watch a few YouTube videos.
Need a distraction for a few weeks? Binge-watch an entire series on Netflix or Hulu.
And I could go on with the myriad of apps, games, and websites that flood our lives.
But the point isn’t merely how much time we’re spending on these sites (although that does point to the real root of the issue), but how all that entertainment is starting to blur and distort our understanding of reality. When our minds are constantly being fed by this entertainment, we begin to have unrealistic expectations out of life.
Kids who watch YouTube videos that make them laugh all the time expect everything to be a joke – and all they want to do is make others laugh around them.
Young adults who watch shows or movies including “sex with no regrets” one-night stands expect they can have the same.
People who compare themselves to others’ “Instagram-perfect” lives feel depressed and anxious about their own lives, and they put pressure on themselves to match up.
And most dangerous of all are the subtle messages about they way we should think and believe – about God, about sin, about lifestyle choices, about right and wrong. Suddenly without knowing it, our belief system starts to shift due to the way entertainment is infiltrating our minds. That which is not real is creeping into what is real.
Ironically, people feel dissatisfied with their lives, so they look to entertainment to distract them – but it only makes them more dissatisfied with how their lives can’t measure up.
We reach for an illusion to satisfy our longings, but it only makes us more hungry in the end.
Why? Because we were made to be satisfied by One and One alone – and that’s Jesus Christ.
Instead we take something that isn’t inherently bad – entertainment – and we stuff it into all the empty cracks of our lives – all our moments of being bored, lonely, sad, or irritated. We try to make it cover the things we don’t want to think about, the things we’re running away from, and the things we’re trying to hide.
As a result, our eyes are blinded to what reality should look like. There is an inability to sit still, engage deeply, focus on meaningful topics, and immerse oneself in the true issues of life.
We’ll sit through hours of the same Netflix show we’ve seen before, but we can’t seem to handle ten minutes of reading God’s Word.
We’ll allow ourselves to scroll through Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for large chunks of time, but we find it insufferable to sit still and pray for the same amount of time.
We surround ourselves with viewpoints we disagree with, saying it’s “just entertainment,” yet we fail to spend the same amount of time making our own viewpoints even stronger.
Do I appear to be chastising too harshly? I’m talking to myself here. I give in far too often to the entertainment overload, and I’m alarmed when I realize my reasoning and thinking are being shaped more by what I’m watching than what I truly believe in the Word of God.
But I’m desperate for that to change. I long for accountability in my life to catch those flaws in my thinking – to remind me of the entertainment distortion and to push me back to loving Christ more. I long for all of us to do so.
We need to sit and grapple with the infinite –
Consider the Creator of the cosmos –
Ponder the power of the Prince of heaven –
Sink into the safety of the Sovereign.
Our minds need to be challenged,
Our hearts need new desires,
Our souls need to be disciplined.
And when we do this – when we reach for Scripture before smart phones, when we pray before pressing social media buttons, when we cling to Christ instead of the cacophony of entertainment – we’ll start to see reality come into focus again.
We’ll begin to see the world as God created it – beautiful, even in its brokenness. We’ll start to see each other more clearly – as valuable humans, not as objects to be played with. We’ll be given more drive and purpose – to accomplish God’s purposes more than our own selfish desires.
Priorities will shift. Relationships will blossom. Contentment will increase. Worship will be realigned.
And we will know the Savior better.
Which is worth far more than any TV show, video, social media post, or movie.
Worth a million times more.