April 16, 2011

The Loss is Gain

Dear Readers,
For a few weeks now, I have been reading this book by Leslie Ludy called 'Set-Apart Femininity', and it has opened my eyes to many new truths - truths to which my vision had been clouded. It is one thing to know something and believe it, and another thing altogether to carry it out in your life. Leslie Ludy's book has helped me realize the importance of putting Christ first, not just assuming I am because I set aside a certain amount of time for Him every day. She defines true beauty as living whole-heartedly for Christ, and forgetting self completely.

Radical? Yes.
Doable? Surely, with the Spirit of God.
Worth the trouble? ABSOLUTELY!

I was just reading Leslie Ludy's online magazine at her website, setapartgirl.com, as suggested by a very good friend of mine. The things I read were amazing. I was convicted to the core, and encouraged immensely to do some important sacrificing for Christ TODAY! She was writing about idolatry, and how something as simple as watching television or movies could become a kind of idol in our lives. (It isn't that I had never heard that before, but what she said and how she said it cut me to the quick.) She writes,

A woman ... wrote me a letter about how God had convicted her of idolatry in her life - worshipping pop culture through her addiction to movies and television. "What God calls sin I've been calling entertainment," she admitted. Bravo. Rarely have I heard anyone be willing to speak that truth so honestly. ... I've written in previous articles about how God convicted me of this same thing a few years ago. He gently opened my eyes to see that by filling my "down time" with the images and messages of Hollywood, I was participating in something that dishonored Him and grieved His heart. I was wasting countless hours of my life on something opposite of His Kingdom and His nature. Movies and television had literally become an idol in my life - something I was unwilling to give up. Something I couldn't imagine living without. ...I had been looking to worldly entertainment to bring the rest, refreshment, and pleasure that was supposed to be found in my relationship with Christ. In fact, I had started noticing that often when I tried to pray or meditate on God's word, my mind would be distracted by scenes from a movie or TV show I'd recently seen, and I would labor to get my mind back upon Heavenly things.
{End of quote}

I can absolutely relate to that! Truly, I cannot even begin to count how many times I've watched a movie even while God's Spirit was prompting me to leave and spend time with Him instead. Lazily and selfishly, I convinced myself that the movie wasn't that bad and it wasn't necessary for me to stop watching it; besides, I was enjoying myself, and even learning things! Well, Katie - here is the bad news: you are flat-out ignoring God's call! It could have been SO EASY for me to just walk away from that movie, but I gave into the temptation to stay; that silent whisper in my head which kept justifying my selfishness. Once the movie was over, I was sickened in the heart that I had not answered the Lord in obedience. After all the grace and patience and mercy and love He has shown me, still I continue to wander off the road and serve myself instead of my Savior.

Leslie Ludy continues,

...How could I survive without at least a few nights each week to relax, unwind and escape reality for a couple of hours? ... When I thought about it, I couldn't picture my spiritual heroes like Elizabeth Fry, Viba Perpetua, or Gladys Aylward spending every weekend at the movies and rushing out to see Spiderman 3 on opening night. I couldn't imagine Amy Carmichael or Sabina Wurmbrand getting hooked on Survivor or American Idol. They were far too busy living out a real-life drama with the King of the universe; spilling out their lives to bring Him glory, reveling in His abundant mercy and faithfulness; marveling at His unspeakable power, and de-lighting in the joy of His surrounding presence. ...So with the help of God's Spirit, Eric and I completely overhauled our "down time" activities. Time that we typically spent watching movies we now spent in prayer, serving others, and cultivating intimacy with our King. And though it was not an easy transition to make, in the end, the results were nothing short of extraordinary. For the past five years we have lived this way. Worldly entertainment no longer distracts me or eats up my precious time. My "down time" is spent on things of eternal value and my daily "refueling" happens through time with my King rather than time in front of the DVD player. Now that I have tasted the incredible peace and joy that comes from spending hours in God's presence, I have no desire whatsoever to return to the cheap counterfeit and temporary rush of Hollywood. I have truly discovered that in His presence {not in a movie theater} is fullness of joy. ...Making this decision has truly transformed my spiritual life in a way that nothing else ever has. It keeps me from spending hours of my week on meaningless worldly things and frees my time for things that really matter - like prayer. If you find it hard to believe that time in God's presence could be more exhilarating and fulfilling than time in front of the latest movie, I challenge you to try it for yourself and find out what you've been missing!
{End of quote}

I do not know if it is like this for everyone, but I know most of my friends spend a lot of time in front of the television set - including me! I have probably wasted YEARS of time on PlayStation games, action films, comedic TV shows, and animated cartoons. Yes, they were enjoyable, and there may have been nothing wrong with the things I watched in and of themselves, but the fact that they sucked up my time so that I had none left for Christ, or distracted me so that I couldn't even close my eyes to pray without seeing a picture of something I had watched recently, I was on the same road of emptiness the world was blindly stumbling over.

I could easily have plopped down on my bed with the Bible - God's precious Word - and found truth which brings eternal joy, but I chose rather to fill myself up with the temporary pleasure of a laugh-out-loud comedy, the pleasure of which will only come to an end. What about desiring worthless worldly movies over the pure love of Christ can POSSIBLY make sense?? If we are unwilling to give up our favorite movie to spend time with our Father in Heaven, then we are lost. If we think we can get away with withholding anything from the One who did not withhold His rights of deity, His place in Heaven, or even His life for our sake - we who are nothing but wretched sinners - then we better have another think coming!

Evening upon evening these past few weeks, I have known a HORRIBLE emptiness in my heart; a cavernous hole in my being from neglecting the Lord my God. I prayed and prayed and prayed for it to be removed, but it was not until I read these words from Leslie Ludy that I finally understood what had come between me and my Savior. Megamind and Psych, two of my absolute favorite things to watch, had stood up like a wall between me and Christ. I could not find Him because I was too busy staring at a screen of blinding lights.

Have any of you found that this same barrier has separated you from the Lord? Do not waste another second! Go straight to Him and put everything else aside! A hungry person would not bind their mouth shut, nor could they satisfy themselves with mere reflections or mirages of good food. They would unbind themselves and run straight to the real and glorious feast! And so, do not be satisfied with the mirage of pleasure and joy that the world promises, but unbind yourself; run straight to Christ and feast on His pure love, His true Word, His coming promises. Lose your desires, your dreams, your treasures, yourself - and gain Christ. The trade is more worthwhile than we can imagine!

God bless you all! ♥

1 comment:

  1. Katie, I really appreciated this post and your honesty. I've been struggling with this too for the past few weeks...except it's been over my book and just life. It's so easy to let life take over and not spend time with the Lord. So thanks for this post. Love you!! =D <3


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