For readers who may have been wondering lately, yes, I know that I have been a terrible blogger for the last few months.
What started out as a break from blogging and a reduction in the amount of time I spend online to focus more on God, family, ministry, seminary, and other real life pursuits has, quite surprisingly I must admit, turned into a nearly electronic distraction free life for me.
I still check my email daily, read a devotion on my phone every morning, occasionally look something up, and do a little online shopping but, not kidding, that’s it. No Facebook, no Twitter, no cable news other than what I happen to catch when I walk past a TV at work or in an airport, and virtually no TV or movies. And. You know what? I don’t miss any of it, really. And here’s why.
Christ died to purify his people. It is an absolute travesty of the cross to treat it as though Jesus died only to forgive us for the sin of consuming filth, and not to purify us for the power not to do so.
He has blood-bought power in his cross. He died to make us pure. He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession” (Titus 2:14).
If we choose to endorse or embrace or enjoy or pursue the vile and impure garbage readily available to us, we take a spear and ram it into Jesus’s side every time we do. He suffered to set us free from impurity, not make us slaves to it.
Wait, what? What the heck had you been up to, James? You might be wondering.
Well, nothing all that bad by most people’s standards but, the more I think and pray about it, nothing all that good either.
One of the things that has become increasingly clear to me over the past couple of weeks is that one doesn’t need to watch porn, YouTube videos of women in thongs playing soccer, Game of Thrones or anything else Christians know they should avoid in order to consume “filthiness and rampant wickednes” (James 1:21 ESV).
What about investing precious time and emotional enegry in nut-jobs, neurotic and hysterical political ideologues, Flat Earth conspiracy theorists, militant God haters, virtue signalers, and the perpetually outraged who exist online solely to stir up trouble?
I have a friend at work, smart guy actually, who has for some inexplicable reason been interacting with people who believe the Earth is flat on Reddit. As I understand it, it started out innocently enough, I guess, but it has morphed into a weird obsession that has become a source of incredible frustration.
Me: “How are your Flat Earth pals doing?
Friend: “Oh God. I watched an hour long video last night and…”
I am not proud of this but I have to admit that I have been having fun giving him a hard time but today, having had enough of it, I point blank asked him how what he was doing is a better use of his time than watching porn.
He was obviously taken aback by my comparison so I explained.
Sure, engaging with the mentally imbalanced online isn’t sexual sin but, in all honestly, how is getting down in the mess and drama of people who are clearly not well much better? Think about it. People you don’t even know are angering you, frustrating you, stealing time from you, and you are letting them do it. Flat Earthers are literally living rent-free in your head.
Of course I wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know but I was trying to help.
Anyway, the constant mind numbing lunacy I routinely subjected myself to is largely why I have reduced my time with electronics to little more than the bear essential minimum. I can’t, in good faith anyway, live in the ungodly mess of others any more. Instead, I prefer to think of other things.
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
When I said above that I watch very little TV and very few movies lately I meant it. I do still enjoy both but I do so rarely and with a firm resolve to never willingly expose myself to nudity, excessive violence, foul language, or shows or movies that glorify or condone sin. Not that easy to find good modern stuff, although there is some, so I have turned to the classics. Last weekend I watched To Kill a Mockingbird, next up, this.