Beautiful Day

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Inheritance and Integrity

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Last week I was reading a devotional by Jerry Bridges.  It spoke of inheritance and how we do not comprehend the riches of our inheritance in Christ.

"To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."
~Ephesians 3:8, NKJV

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,..."
~Ephesians 3:16, NKJV

He is speaking of the riches of the gospel--that we are now heirs with Christ to all His unsearchable riches.  But we know it not.  It is as though we had received an inheritance of $100,000 but relegate ourselves to begging for bread.

THIS is how I am starting to view media as well.  That doesn't mean I'm on a crusade to end all media consumption and demand that others do so too.  Yet I see a challenge before me.  God has truly given me a grand inheritance--in many ways and forms.  One of the most beautiful and precious treasures is my family.  And I am only beginning to comprehend just how fast the years fly by and how fleeting is the time I have to invest in loved ones.  I do not wish to squander the inheritance I have been given!  And I see, that in our culture (and I am not exempt), there is this tremendous pull into virtuality.  And virtuality is a poor substitute for reality, especially where meaningful relationships are concerned.

I write this as one who does not spend all day on Facebook.  In fact, I am resisting Facebook.  Nor do I watch much of any videos.  I have my select ones I enjoy watching--special times with my husband once a week, and a family movie night once a week.  We do try to carefully select and monitor.  And yes, we can even have disagreements under our own roof about it.  I don't say any of this to puff myself up as some grand example.  For I am not.  I write it to give you perspective of just how much pull media can have even for one who really tries to draw strong boundaries around it.  So when I consider its impact on me and my loved ones, I write as one who knows what that pull feels like and who has to constantly evaluate what I allow in my life and use of time.

Email and even social media has its positive qualities.  Some are even very positive.  I treasure that I can keep up conversations with people I am genuinely connected to on email and blogs.  In fact, my closest friends who do use the computer to communicate (I have several who do not) are like me, I think.  We either can't stand or have no time for the phone, but for rare occasions.  So we keep up with each other by email and/or blog.  My point is a tool.  I do view it that way.  But like everything, we must exercise caution.  This tool has power.  And so much of its power seems to be wrapped up in either a.) escape and amusement (read...wasting time!) or b.) the fact that we are all narcissistic and want to feel that we are "liked" and belong and feel we have something valuable to contribute.  Belonging IS important.  But again, virtuality is a poor substitute for real relationships.  Media needs to enhance real relationships, not replace them.

I am sensing for me, that it's really a matter of integrity.  What do I want to do with the time God has given me?  How do I want to invest in the lives of those entrusted to me?  I want to display a true integrity to my children when it comes to the use of media.  And I don't want my hours to suddenly be vacuumed up behind a screen!  No matter how important my research might seem (and I can get lost in researching, because I enjoy it so much).   I can't have that time back.

We are still in the midst of watching and processing the film, "Captivated."  How much it is challenging me.  I keep thinking about a passing comment in talking with a friend.  Most of her children are older.  And they have never watched a lot of television, though they do like movies.  She said recently that she wishes they had watched even less because she thought the time could have been better spent.  Here are a couple of points from the film that I am thinking about:

1.)   "What the brain does a lot of, it gets good at."--  I think this was spoken of in terms of distractions and even attention deficit.  I think I have "trained myself" to be easily distracted over the years.  I think it's an easy thing to do in the midst of managing a busy household.  Multi-tasking is a valued trait in our society.  But I am starting to think there really is no such thing as multi-tasking.  I cannot give focused attention to more than one thing at a time.  Did you know that a contributing factor to the Titanic tragedy was that the passengers were enamored with a new technology called the telegraph and they all wanted to use it while on board?  The telegraph officer silenced a neighboring ship's warnings about icebergs because he was too busy sending "important" telegraphs!  You can read more about it here. 

2.) "A man may be judged by his standard of entertainment as easily as by the standard of his work."--I have always believed this, but find it a good principle to be reminded of.  We are easily taken captive "through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8, NKJV)  We must always evaluate our choices and hold them up to Scripture.  We always have to ask ourselves the proverbial, "Does a fish know it's wet?" question because we live in this world and cannot always see its influence on us.  Do you know that Christians are just as guilty of supporting Hollywood in all its forms, as the general population?  And it's really not only about the content in terms of language, violence, or sex.  Today's animated movies are just a kid-friendly guise for slipping in all of the above in a non-discerning parent-approved form.  It's really about the worldview being everything!  Those other categories are just reflections of that.

These are just a few succint thoughts mulling about that really have their root in this:  I have an amazing inheritance through Christ!  But I can be as Esau---trading the tremendous gifts that are my birthright for a measly pot of beans.  I want to live with true integrity in how I spend my days.  And I don't want screens to keep me from what truly matters.

***For some more wonderful thoughts on "Personal Integrity" by Sally Clarkson, visit here

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