I’ve enjoyed several music genres in my life. I grew up on oldies. In my high school years, I liked pop music and went through a country music phase, too. In college, I also learned to appreciate classical music and jazz.
Some of these are genres I’m still fond of, while others tend to make me cringe (I’ll leave you guessing as to which genre is which!). But regardless of style, the older I grow, the more I appreciate the value of Christian music. And the same is true for other forms of entertainment, too, including Christian movies and television programming.
I don’t think there are hard-and-fast rules where a Christian’s preferences in entertainment are concerned. But I do think there are many biblical principles that should guide our choices.
Here are some that I consider:
Biblical Principles for Entertainment
What will it prompt me to think about?
“Finally, brothers, 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.” Philippians 4:8
To what does it steer my affections?
“Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.” Colossians 3:2
Can I maintain an awareness of God’s presence in the midst of it?
“In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28
Is it excellent according to God’s standards?
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9-10
Will it draw me toward worldliness or toward godliness?
A note for parents
If you’re a parent, remember that your entertainment choices affect your children.
My kids like The Andy Griffith Show because of my influence. And guess how I cultivated an enjoyment of it? From my parents – one of whom I can blame for my lingering affection for oldies music blaring in the summer with the windows rolled down.
Incidentally, what do you think my kids always ask to listen to on the way to the pool? Yep. You guessed it. The Beach Boys and the Drifters.
For better or for worse, whatever entertainment you’re feeding your heart and your mind will be what your kids learn to crave, too.
If everything else I’ve written here goes in one ear and out the other, please hear this: as with every other aspect of life, God doesn’t want His will for you to remain a mystery. Don’t be deceived into thinking entertainment isn’t a big deal, and that it doesn’t really matter. What we put before our eyes impacts our hearts and minds, and that matters to God.
So the very best principle of all is to stay close to Him and obey Him. Are you feeling a twinge of guilt about something you’re watching or listening to? Don’t shush it and don’t ignore it. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and you can count on Him to guide you.
Need a hand?
I don’t know about you, but I find it very difficult to find suitable TV shows and movies these days, especially for my children.
I’m excited to let you know that Pureflix, the creator of God’s Not Dead, Do You Believe, and Woodlawn, is now offering a streaming video-on-demand platform. It’s like Netflix but it’s comprised entirely of faith-based content.
They have more than 3,000 titles! You can get free access with a 30-day trial if you’d like to check it out.