_“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever."
_-I John 2:15-17
When speaking a year ago to a youth conference regarding guarding against the world's influence, numerous questions arose about how to know whether you should or should not watch a movie, buy a CD, or visit certain internet sites. Christians cannot simply apply stickers to certain movies or music that claim they are "God-approved." However, certain Biblical principles such as the ten that follow can guide us into applying wisdom in making these decisions.
- If it cannot bring glory to God, it will not bring joy to you. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)
- If you cannot honor your parents by participating in it, it is forbidden. “Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you.” (Proverbs 23:25)
- If it is not the right thing for you to do, don’t. “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
- If it keeps you from obedience to a clear command, it is illegal. “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
- If it will make you stumble, forsake it. “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)
- If it will make others stumble, forsake it. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)
- If it lacks redemptive qualities, give it up. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
- If it is produced by a non-Christian, be careful. “Walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind.” (Ephesians 4:17)
- If it is produced by a Christian, check it for leaven. “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Matthew 16:11
- If you can do something better, do it. “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.” (Matthew 22:37)
Remember, young people, you are to live in God's economy, where:
- honoring a parent is more valuable than honoring a movie star.
- seeking God is commanded more than seeking leisure.
- caring how your actions will affects a friend's walk is more important than caring about what you want to do.
- where dying is living and living is dying.
In other words, don't let love for the things usurp love for the Maker and Ruler of the things.