5 Biblical Principles for Entertainment

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What does God say about a Christian's entertainment choices? Does it even matter? Insightful post offers 5 biblical principles for entertainment.

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? 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

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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.

To summarize

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?

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What does God say about a Christian's entertainment choices? Does it even matter? Insightful post offers 5 biblical principles for entertainment.

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15 Replies to “5 Biblical Principles for Entertainment”

  1. Leah Adams

    I grew up on country music. Listened to soft rock in my 20s and early 30s. For the past 15 years, I listen pretty exclusively to Christian music, with occasional forays into soft rock when there is a song on the radio I like. I choose music that encourages me in my walk with Christ. Most music outside of Christian music does not do that. I watch very little television, and go to the movies even less. I’m a firm believer in the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ mantra. Whatever we put into our heads/hearts is what we will get out of them. I want to put in things that are encouraging to my faith.

    Reply
  2. Jessica

    Hello! What a great article on entertainment. You’ve made some really awesome points. No one ever told me not to watch this and instead watch christian channels or listen to christian music, it just happened. Before I became saved, I would listen to christian radio stations because I wanted what those songs proclaimed, a relationship with God, but I didn’t understand how to make that a reality (my mom only listened to this music when I was in high school so that planted that seed into my heart). When I became saved, well now, it’s the only music I listen to because when I fell for Christ, that became my life. I started listening to only Christian music, started watching Christian tv when I happened upon a Christian tv station, and now watch Christian movies. Since this is my lifestyle now, I’ve started to realize when I watch secular tv or secular movies I’m often disappointed or unhappy with what I’m watching because those shows and movies don’t tell the truth, the truth of Jesus Christ, or anything in the bible. So I find it hard because a lot of the time I’ll watch something and people in movies are confused or lost and I’m screaming at the tv “Jesus! Jesus! The answer is Jesus!” Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy some non Christian shows, movies, and even music sometimes, but mostly I stick to what I know which is Jesus and His truth. I would also say that there is usually as a conviction in my heart not to watch some things or sometimes watch anything at all because when I’m not at church and I’m at my job I need to constantly be surrounded by God otherwise in my humanness I can easily fall prey to some of these lies. Either way Christian entertainment is great because it is what I understand and also I’m praying they will make some Christian entertainment shows, not talk shows or children’s shows, a show for adults, because when I want to watch television I’m stuck watching non Christian tv shows or It Takes a Church which can also be frustrating sometimes. Lol. Anyway thank you for writing this article! It’s a good read!

    Thank you!
    Jessica

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hi, Jessica! Thank you for stopping by, and for sharing from your experience. God is so good to mold us into who He wants us to be, isn’t He? All we have to do is stay sensitive and obedient to His leading. I’m glad this post resonated with you, and I look forward to more interactions with you in the future. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Amy

    I think it is very important to guard what we put into our hearts. It can be a touchy topic to talk about it, thank you for sharing.

    Reply
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  5. Alex Guglielmo

    This is a great reminder to be aware of what we’re consuming! We can’t escape the need to make choices that are ultimately glorifying to God. Sometimes, we aren’t very popular because of it, but we cannot allow what the world thinks to weaken our convictions. Thank you for the scripture!

    Reply
  6. Autumn

    My rule of thumb is,if God wouldn’t sit with to watch a particular show or listen to a song with me,then I dont need to be watching or listening to it.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      I think that’s an excellent principle, Autumn, especially when we consider that God Himself lives within us, and is therefore always with us. Thanks so much for sharing with us here!

      Reply
    • Dennis Teel

      This is precisely why so many youth are not going into churches today..here it is 2016 and the church is more concerned with legalism ( ie,the movies somebody watches and music someone listens to)..To hear most ministers ,they still seem to be believe that these are the main concerns of Christ..whether or not someone watches Bruce Willis movies.. or listens to Aerosmith–(good grief people!!) I’m a collector..An Audiophile..Been collecting since i was 5 years old and i’m 61 now..I collect music videos as well..i have everything from the Andrews Sisters to operatic metal like Tarja Turunen..I don’t make any apolgies to the Church or Jesus as He(Yeshua) has no problem with my hobby..But the Church always has had a problem with it..I was harassed all through the 70’s and 80’s and to this very day, by Christians advising me to throw away all my music and videos that they’re all evil,yada yada yada…It’s a hobby..They don’t like it tuff..And after 25 years i would have thought the Church would have learned by now that this constant harping by evangelists every sunday regarding tv and movies is legalism and chasing young people from entering through the Church doors..I’m surprised at the Christian nitwits in the world that preach that one’s salvation relies on 3 things– accepting Christ then the tossing of one’s secular movies and music in the trash..good grief!!

      Reply
      • Jennifer Clarke Post author

        Hello, Dennis, and welcome! I’m honestly not familiar with the kind of teaching, preaching, and discipleship you’re describing, but that is not what I have espoused here. There is nothing legalistic about what I’ve written; I have relatively little concern with the entertainment others choose. In this post, I merely shared some principles I use when evaluating my own choices, for the benefit of readers who are also seeking to live out their faith.

        The Bible teaches that when a person receives the Son of God, he or she is filled with the Spirit of God, and that makes a difference in the choices we make and the words we speak and the thoughts we think and yes, the entertainment we choose. I John 2:15 states plainly: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I have no desire to dissuade you from any of your habits and hobbies; I trust God to convict you if you’re in error, as He often must do for me. Thank you for sharing some of your experience with us here!

        Reply
  7. Oken Emmanuel E.

    I am blessed by this teaching. My question for long time on entertainment has been answered. This will help me be a better Christian. Thank you.

    Reply

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