by John MacArthur
How do we make biblical decisions about entertainment? God’s Word doesn’t say anything specific about what kinds of movies or TV we should watch, or what kinds of music we should listen to. In the absence of explicit biblical instructions, how do we determine what kinds of entertainment are acceptable?
Those are questions most believers face today. In our media-saturated culture, we’re bombarded with entertainment choices and encouraged to pursue every fleeting interest. But how do we submit those choices to the Lord? In light of our salvation and our new nature in Him, how ought we view the endless options for entertainment?
We’ve been considering some biblical principles to help us make God-glorifying decisions when it comes to entertainment. Specifically, we’ve been looking at the nature of Christ’s lordship and how submission to Him ought to shape our entertainment choices. Last week we saw how His lordship demands good stewardship, denounces impurity and worldliness, and determines right priorities. To close out this discussion today we’re going to see how the lordship of Christ defines a proper perspective.
Right priorities and godly passions stem out of a proper perspective—a heavenly mindset that understands eternal realities and interprets this life accordingly. If this world were all there was, we would be wise to amass treasure and search for happiness in the here and now.
But that is not reality; this world is not all there is.
Reality, as revealed by the truth of Scripture, encompasses much more than the temporal pleasures, priorities, and pursuits of this world. God is real. His Word is real. Heaven and hell are real. The gospel is real. Jesus is real. His death, resurrection, and ascension are all real—as is His soon return. The brevity of this life and the certainty of death are real. The threat of eternal destruction is real, as is the promise of future reward.
In contrast, the world of entertainment is not real. In fact, most entertainment is about escaping from reality, not portraying it accurately.
As Christians, our worldview must be grounded in reality, not in the imaginary worlds of Hollywood. People can deny reality, and they can distract themselves with fantasy, but they cannot change the fact that one day they will stand before God (Hebrews 9:27). At that moment, the riches, pleasures, and accomplishments of this world will be of no use to them.
The parable of the rich fool is a striking example of this type of foolhardy shortsightedness. Jesus tells the story in Luke 12:16-21:
The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Jesus’ words ring as a wake-up call for those who profess to know God and yet live as though God were no more real than whatever movie they watched last night. For those who keep hitting the spiritual snooze button, it is time to wake up and focus on what really matters (cf. Romans 13:11). As Christians, our perspective must be eternal in scope. And entertainment, though enjoyable in the moment, is not eternal.
(Adapted from Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong.)