Entertainment: The Distraction Before Downfall
Last week looked at physical possessions, an area that is easy to identify but difficult to abandon. This week we turn our attention to something a little more abstract. Entertainment is a relative term. Some find it in television and others in a good book. Some find it in social gatherings and performance events. Regardless, entertainment can be a good thing that stimulates the senses and the mind. However, it is easily overindulged in and can lead us to removing from reality. That's the danger that we look at today through the downfall of several groups and people.
The Party That Ended An Empire
Babylon had been the most influential political, economical and social power for centuries. They had been a formidable city since the time of Abraham. Now, in the time of Daniel, they were at the height of decadence. Besieged by the Medo-Persian Empire, the Babylonians had retreated into their lavish city. It is believed they had provisions enough to last them 20 years as well as the gardens and the river that would continue to replenish them. They reveled in the midst of their entanglement, believing themselves too great to fall.
However, as they partied, the Persians found a way in. It is believed that deserters showed Darius the Mede the only way into the fortified city, a drainage gate that hid beneath the waters of the Euphrates. All the Medes had to do was dam the river enough to reveal the drain and then the army could wade into the city. The Babylonians were so drunk and caught up in their entertainment that they did not notice the river drop. They didn't see the Medes enter into the city. Even the scriptures move seamlessly from the party atmosphere to the overthrow of the great empire (Daniel 5:30). There was no great final battle. Babylon was conquered as it lay in a stupor.
A Common Problem
Babylon wasn't the only empire to fall because of entertainment. It is estimated that the Greeks spent more on their festivals than they did on their infrastructure by the time of their downfall. The Romans had more holidays than regular days by the time they were routed by the Goths. Louis The XVI was holding parties just like Belshazzar at the time of the French Revolution. Even in society today, we see a propensity to distract ourselves from the major issues that face us by diving into television, the internet, music and other forms of entertainment. If we are not careful, it won't just be our countries that will fall, but our own spiritual walk with God.
Entertainment can be a good thing. It can take our mind off of the difficult seasons we face in life. However, entertainment can just as easily lead to our destruction. Entertainment can distract us from the reality of our situations and the trials we face so much we end up surrounded and overwhelmed by them. In those moments, the enemy will seek to enter into our lives and wreak havoc. With our minds focused on the distracting world of entertainment, we'll fall at the hands of the enemy. Temptations we never thought we would fall to will overrun our lives. Sins we never dreamed of committing will become part of our lifestyles. Before we know it, we'll be slaves of the enemy, living under their authority and the entertainment we once enjoyed will be a bitter reminder of our downfall.
Worse Than Just Distraction
Entertainment holds a far worse power than just that of distraction. If we rely on it too much when times get tough, entertainment will replace God. Instead of seeking Christ when our times of trouble arrive, we will seek that comedy show. Instead of reading God's Word, we'll read that racy novel to take the edge off of a bad day. Instead of getting involved with the purpose that God has given us, we'll sit in front of a computer screen wasting the day away. Entertainment, when not checked by God, will morph from a pleasant respite into a spiritual virus consuming our lives one moment at a time. One day we'll look up and realize how much time we wasted and wonder what went wrong. We'll almost be able to hear the devil snickering in the background as he counts up all the lost opportunities to grow in relationship with God and serve in His Kingdom.
Examine To Subtract
There is a solution, though. By identifying the areas of our lives where entertainment has taken the greatest hold, we can start to undo the damage of distraction. It may take removal of some items and activities from our homes and lives, but it will be worth it in the end. We'll dive into the statistics further on Wednesday in our video and gives some personal stories on Friday, but begin looking in your life today. Where has entertainment started to get out of hand. Is it emanating from you television, a video game console, your laptop/desktop computer? Is it your book or magazine collection? Is it the movies you watch, the games you play or the social engagements you attend? Whatever is keeping you from God's work must be adjusted or eliminated, depending on the severity of its influence. Only, then will we be free to pursue God's plan without the distracting and spiritually draining pull of this world.
Dave Mustaine: Overcoming Satanism Through Sacrifice
Best known as the lead singer of Megadeth, Dave practiced witchcraft and even sang songs about the devil. However, Dave found Jesus and committed his life to follow him. Dave still plays rock music, but refuses to play any of the songs that once edified Satan or even the concepts of evil. This has limited he and his band's ability to get venues as those songs were some of his most popular. He also refused to play the same venues and lineups with bands who do have songs that sing about or promote Satanism or the occult. In the world of hard rock, that's almost an impossible task.
However, Dave chose to put God first. As a result, he has been an inspiration to many in the music industry to abandon satanic and even worldly overtones. Dave isn't perfect, but he is working each day to grow closer to God and spreading His message. His story inspires us to do the same.
If someone who was so entrenched in evil can overcome, we can do the same. Through a relationship with God and by looking for ways to subtract harmful elements of entertainment from our lives, we can start living an overcoming lifestyle. That lifestyle will be a light to others and lead us to fulfilling God's plan for our lives.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.