Monday, January 16, 2012

The God of Entertainment

Our culture in America, especially among younger people, is focused on self-entertainment. This is one of the reasons why the smartphone industry has exploded, along with Netflix, Redbox, YouTube, live online console gaming, and a thousand other media services. We WANT to be entertained, all the time, anytime. With anything we want. And in high speed so we don't have to wait more than a few seconds.

When we don't have it, we get angry. "What? Your wifi is down? I'm going to Starbucks across the street..." or "Dang it! My iPhone doesn't have 3G service out here, and I'm down to whatever that lame EDGE is or something... sooooo sloooowww.... ugh..." We give our time and energy and money to this pursuit of entertainment. When we're tired, or angry, or aimless, or sad, we go to entertainment to be... entertained! Distracted, amused, to waste time and just "dink around" online...

This affection for entertainment, the anger at its absence, the amount of resources poured into it, all are characteristic of a heightened love to the level of worship. This entertainment thing is an idol! It has taken the place of God. It consumes our affections, and we run to it for satisfaction and comfort. That fiery Old Testament prophet Jeremiah speaks to this kind of substitute worship and idolatry:

Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
(Jeremiah 2:12-13 ESV)

We have forsaken the Lord, and have pursued something ELSE to slake our thirst. This is idolatry. We can do it with anything, but it seems that this god of entertainment is a personal favorite of many.

And here's the really dangerous part: this entertainment idol is largely under the radar, and just sits in the darkness of our unawareness, thriving and growing and throbbing in its strangle-hold over us. Its roots are deep in our selfish hearts that long for SELF-pleasure. We don't want to love God, we don't want to serve others, we don't want to have to suffer the pain of an unfulfilled desire in NOT having immediate pleasure. And in our impatience and prideful DEMAND for entertainment we sacrifice our time, our money, and even other people in our worship of OURSELVES at the altar of entertainment. This comes out in a thousand different ways: video games, movies, porn, Facebook, Twitter, FailBlog, overeating or indulgent eating, Funny or Die, YouTube, Netflix, etc.  This is disgusting, and we need to repent of our hedonistic gorging of SELF and instead gorge ourselves on the Only One who can truly satisfy us! Sure, we could fight against these little demon predator drones, but they're just flying out of the mothership of selfishness and entertainment idolatry. Let's attack the mothership :)

Thankfully Jesus Christ has come to take the punishment for selfish self-worshipers like ourselves. He died our death, He atoned for our sin. And in doing so, He has set us free from our bondage to self-worship and has liberated us to be true worshipers of our Father in Heaven! In His presence is fullness of joy and everlasting pleasures (Psalm 16:11) that FAR surpass the silly little pleasures of a 20 minute sitcom.

Let us look to the freedom that Christ offers, and fight against our selfish lusts!

Fighting for joy in the Lord,
The Relentless Fight

PS: Not for self-entertainment ;) but for some TRUTH to energize you... Check out this YouTube clip by John Piper, "Is God Better Than Sex?"