Saying No

June 21, 2022 | Jaci Miller

I flicked through a streaming service yet again. So many choices. Yet so few. I was searching for something new to entertain me but something seemed amiss with all the most interesting films.

“Oooh, that looks interesting. Wait. It’s rated ‘R.’”  

“That sounds really violent.”

“Good story, but why the sexual content?”

 “Sounds innocent enough, but there’s that ‘R’ again.”

Sometimes I feel like that “R” rating stands for “Rats.” As in “Ah, rats. Another one I shouldn’t see.”

Not that I watch only “G” movies. Not that I’m against all “R”-rated films. Sometimes, after some consideration, I still choose the debatable media. I’m cautious about my intake, but I’m far from perfect. And I have seen a number of films I wish I hadn’t. So, I try to do better.

Not everyone has similar convictions about media. That’s fine. I’m not here to debate your film choices.

My point is … say no to something. To be clear, saying “No” means choosing not to consume for spiritual reasons. Not avoidance because of disinterest or boredom.

If I don’t say “no” to some things, then I am saying “yes” to everything. In our culture, that’s spiritually dangerous. Absorbing from an ungodly culture means I absorb some of its ungodliness. Not desirable for the Christ-seeking Christian.

Philippians 4:8-9 says,
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

A lot exists in our culture that is completely untrue, ignoble, not right, impure, ugly and unworthy. Do I really want to ingest a regular diet of these things? What of the effect on my spirit?  And don’t I want God’s peace? If I pursue the heart of the Philippians scripture, I’m promised that peace.

Excellent and praiseworthy can seem like far-off friends in the media landscape. I’ve learned, when I pick up the remote, I can’t mindlessly click on whatever is new on my favorite streaming platform. I have to be a bit more diligent than that.

We’re all supposed to be diligent. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

No one said foregoing the latest film by my favorite actor would be easy. Or fun. But I’m told it’s possible (Philippians 4:13).

And if God has asked me to give up something so small as watching a film, who am I to argue? Am I really so unwilling to give up a few hours of very specific entertainment when His sacrifice for me was so much larger?

Whether your distraction of choice is films, television, books, music, whatever, have you said “No” to anything lately?

What is God asking you to avoid?