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What Are You Putting In Your Head?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Some people identify themselves as Christians and creationists, then wonder why their spiritual life is a shambles. A big part of the problem is the negativity and time-wasting that occurs. Here are some things to consider.Although this article is written for Christians, other people should be able to get useful information out of it as well. 

There are Christians who complain that their walk with God is severely lacking. We cannot base our faith (or worse, base our assurance of salvation) on how we feel, but perhaps we're getting a spiritual nudge to examine ourselves.

It amazes me how in conversations, on social media and so on, I encounter people who have indicated that they are Christians but have — uh, interests — that are opposite to those that a Spirit-led Christian should be indulging in. Now wait, I'm not going to get legalistic like some Fundamentalists I've known and give you a list of "approved" activities. (I'm listening to secular instrumental music while I write this.) What I am going to do is give you some things for your prayerful consideration. Not being a fan of the highly subjective "What Would Jesus Do?" movement, there are still times it may be useful.

Let me make up someone, a sort of composite of several people in my experience. Nemo Nominal states that he is a Christian. He has a Bible, listens to teachings once in while and passes along biblical pictures with text. Nemo also listens to various secular music performers that glorify promiscuous sex, violence toward women, occult themes, alcohol abuse, profanity, the party lifestyle, rebellion and more. He also likes movies with extreme violence, crude humor, lots of profanity, graphic sex, mocking God and so on.

Nemo's television viewing includes quite a bit of violent and immoral programming. His Bible? On a shelf somewhere; he made a New Year's resolution to read it daily and fell away after about a week. When he bothers to read a book, it is an action adventure with the same elements as his television and movie choices. Oh, wait — he did read the "religious" (but unbiblical) books The Shack and Heaven is for Real. His copy of The Greatest Hoax on Earth by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati has been on the shelf for two years after he received it as a gift. Right next to The Lie: Evolution/Millions of Years by Ken Ham.

If you asked him if he knew for sure that if he died right now that he was sure he would go to Heaven, he cannot answer. Nemo is uncomfortable around Christians who are enthusiastic about their faith, and is willing to compromise on biblical authority regarding Genesis and evolution.

One time, Nemo tried to imagine Jesus attending one of his movies with him and listening to some of his MP3s, then pushed those images out of his mind because they made him uncomfortable.

After all these influences, he still wonders why his spiritual life is virtually nonexistent.

There are two admittedly flawed but somewhat helpful analogies that I want to use. One is from my father, who likened the mind to a garden. If you plant bad things and give them attention, those will grow. The same with good things. Also, the mind is like a computer. I learned this with programming languages: Garbage In, Garbage Out. For that matter, in Web page design, a bit of bad HTML coding can spoil a page or even a site.

It's not rocket surgery to realize that filling your mind with negativity will affect your emotions as well as your spiritual life. In fact, it can have some detrimental effects on your physical health as well. For that matter, when I was listening to Kid Rock, I was more willing to be aggressive, and my blood pressure was elevated.

There are two other aspects that I want to address. First, negative people. We can't escape them of course, but we sometimes we can find ways to cut down on our contact with them. Especially online. One of my Facebook friends was discussing how he is less willing to have people post things to him that they know he objects to, or people who will make a point of being argumentative. I have my own areas where I'll "unfriend" (or, on Twitter, "unfollow") someone, or block if needed. Watch who you hang out with, they can bring you down (1 Cor. 15.33).

Negative people can be in various discussion groups, Pages, other aspects of social media. Some Christians think that by arguing with atheists, they are promoting the gospel. Sometimes, yes. But too often, they will argue with its own sake and to bolster their egos by attacking Christians (especially biblical creationists). There comes a time when these Christians need to stop throwing pearls before swine and giving what is holy to dogs (Matt. 7.6), to shake the dust off their feet and move on (Matt. 10.14). There are other people who may want to have a genuine conversation, but their time was squandered by arguing with atheopaths.

Some of these obstreperous types are only after attention and bolstering their egos. (I can name some that it is practically impossible to do anything "right" in their eyes, and the few times they are wrong, they have excuses that it wasn't their fault anyway). Many are consumed with hate and are willing to listen, let alone, to learn. These types should be ignored so that the Christian can move on to more productive uses of his or her time. Not to mention being better for the blood pressure and spiritual growth. Besides, we need to be more concerned with glorifying God than with what they think about us!

But I must add that there are negative Christians as well. Some will judge you for not being a good enough Christian because you don't follow their pet doctrines on nonessentials for salvation. Or they just argue too often. I believe many are just as full of arrogance and pride as angry atheists, and I recommend distancing yourself from people like that as well. They may be weak or even false Christians (Gal. 5.16-17).

Next, neutral activities. While not everything you do has to be "productive", some things can easily be black holes for your time. For example, how much time do you spend looking at funny videos and pictures or just "surfing" without a goal? It can be fun, of course. And suddenly, several hours are gone. You can plug several other things into the above and see if, while not actually damaging, they are taking away from your valuable time and mental energy.

What do we have, then? Some of the negativity in your life is easily controlled by paying attention to your entertainment choices. Be honest with yourself and ask if it's harmful to your attitude and mental health. Consider how is it affecting your spiritual life. Would Jesus do this? If you do watch some things, watch them with discernment and take your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10.5).

Biblical Creation and Evangalism, The Question Evolution Project, Philppians 4:8

I have a challenge for you. Go on a kind of fast. Give up the raunchy material for a period of time, say thirty days. (Don't get rigid about it, if you stop into the convenience store and their radio has Lady Gaga playing or the television is on, that's no reason to run out of there.) If thirty days is too much for you, try less. Two weeks. One week. But I urge you to try.

This kind of a fast should have a positive effect, but it is not enough. It was emphasized to me when I came out of messing with occult matters that I had left a void, and that needed to be filled with good things. If you want music, there are good substitutes on the Christian market, and even streaming audio on the Web (as well as apps) that can give you the sound you want with lyrics that are far better for you. I cannot recommend much Christian "entertainment", unfortunately, but I can recommend that you find other uses for your time than filling your mind with junk (Phil. 4.8). Personally, I recommend biblical creation science material. You can even find videos from good teachers on the Web (here, for example). And podcasts. And sites. And books. And... You're not going to be able to adequately defend and present the truth of biblical creation, or the Christian life itself, if you don't put some effort into learning.

My main purpose with this article is to encourage people to get rid of the negativity and replace it whenever possible with more wholesome things. Christians can get spiritually uplifting and edifying material. Make friends with more positive and spiritually-minded people. And most of all, get into your Bible reading!