Simon and I ditched our cable this year. We only had it a few years, but it was long enough to feel the acute absence of it now.
During our detox period, we turned increasingly more to Netflix. There are a plethora of great shows to watch on Netflix. During my “alone” time (husband traveling; insomnia; convalescing from a back problem), I unfortunately did not choose one.
Instead, I chose (Am I really going to admit this publicly?!) The Vampire Diaries. Yes, you read that correctly. The Vampire Diaries. In two short weeks I had worked my way into season 3 of this lame teenage drama.
From the first episode, I was appalled. There was rampant teenage drug use, teenager sex, more blood than a blood bank, violence to women, witchcraft, communing with the dead, and absolutely NO STORY LINE. I didn’t like this show, but for some reason, I kept watching it anyway.
For two straight weeks I watched countless bloody murders and various crimes committed. For two straight weeks I voyeured the practice of witchcraft, allowing those heinous exercises into my home via the television screen under the guise of entertainment. For two straight weeks I binged on imagery that was unglorifying to God and, to be honest, harmful to me. For two straight weeks, with each episode, I felt the weight of my guilt heavier and heavier on my shoulders until, thankfully…
I started noticing more and more in my quiet time that what I was reading in Exodus (yep, Exodus!) applied to me with regards to this wretched show I was watching.
I confess that I resisted God’s reprimands. I dug my heels in over whose will I would follow – His, or mine.
God is persistent. He loves His children and wants His best for each of us. He chased me through the pages of Scripture, no matter where my Bible reading plan took me.
Here are some of my actual journal entries as I wrestled with God:
Exodus 6:9 – Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and hard labor.
How often have I not listened to the voice of the Lord for any number of reasons? Today I am struggling with not wanting to listen to Him regarding the show The Vampire Diaries. I’m embarrassed that I started watching it a couple of weeks ago. I do not like that my kids see that I watch it every time we open Netflix. It is vile. It is some of the worst t.v. I have ever watched. To add insult to injury, they recently added witches, spells and seances! This is evil stuff made into entertainment & I am knowingly partaking in it. I know I need to stop. I feel God prompting me to stop watching. I feel His reprimand with every click of the remote when I turn to it, but I’m unwilling to give it up! WHY?! What is holding me back? God wants to free me from my bondage, but I am like the Israelites in Egypt preferring my slavery to being FREE just because it may be rough going as I walk away from it.
Exodus 13:14b – By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.
I feel like the Lord my God wants to deliver me from the yoke of slavery I feel to this wretched show I’ve been binge watching on Netflix in my free time. I am resisting – even though I do not like the show! I’ve gotten to the place in my heart where I truly do not intend to watch it again, but I feel like God wants me to bind & seal the deal with a promise/vow. And I am resisting doing that because I know elsewhere in Scripture we are told it is better to not make a vow to God than to make one and break it.
Exodus 13:15a – Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go…
I. Am. Pharaoh. I am stubbornly refusing to let this show go! I am like Pharaoh when he agreed to let some of the people go, but not all of them. I feel God wants full compliance from me, but I am “bargaining” with Him for partial compliance – only offering something I am willing to give (“I don’t intend to watch it” is what I am willing to promise God, just in case I later don’t follow through and return to it. I’m bargaining a loophole – with God, of all people!). I’m trying to please God by naming my own sacrifice instead of obeying His leading when He is the One that determines what is acceptable or not. How foolish I am!
(I thought the Psalms would give me reprieve…)
Psalm 26:4-5 – I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
Could this be applied to what I watch on Netflix? Could I boast of doing the same if I included the characters on the screen in my list of people I sit or consort with? I am spending a lot of my time with them.
(And this from the New Testament…)
Romans 8:5-6 – Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.
I am not feeling the peace! I think my flesh is vying for a coup with the enemy’s support. I am even looking for ways to bargain with Him, to stop watching this show without technically vowing to do so (so that I’m not bound by it if I fail).
(He didn’t go for that.)
2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Woah. (That was my actual journaled response.)
A few days after that last entry, I repented in the truest sense of the word – I turned from my sin of disobeying Him, of sitting myself on the throne of my life, of running from the freedom He offered. I turned from the show, to God.
I made my promise/vow. And I found peace again.
What about you? What has you enslaved from which the Lord wants to set you free? Of what are you stubbornly refusing to let go?