R. Kent Hughes on Media Consumption

Recently, the men of our church have begun to read R. Kent Hughes’ The Disciplines of a Godly Man. Nearly halfway through, it is already a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. The following quotation comes from his chapter on the discipline of the mind.

I am aware of the wise warnings against using words such as all, every, and always in what I say. Absolutizing one’s pronouncements is dangerous. But I’m going to do it anyway. Here it is: It is impossible for any Christian who spends the bulk of his time, month after month, week upon week, day in and day out, consuming such media to have a Christian mind. This is always true of all Christians in every situation! A biblical mental program cannot coexist with worldly programming.

If we are to have Christian minds, there are things we must put out of our minds—and this extends beyond TV to what we read, listen, and laugh at.

My advice? Stop watching television. I mean that sincerely! Not watching TV will liberate so much time in your life it will be difficult for you to escape becoming a deeper person and a better Christian. Even if you play poker with your friends, you will be better off, because you will be relating to human beings!

I am not suggesting a new legalism that forbids digital media. (There are many worthwhile things to view; moreover, while Christianity is by nature countercultural, it is not anticultural.) But I am calling for Christian men to take control of their minds—what comes in and what goes out. If you cannot control what you watch and read, perhaps it needs to go. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell,” says Jesus (Matt. 5:29). My wife and I chose to raise our children without a television for this very reason, and we have no regrets. What we did is not for everyone, but it may be for you.

The psalmist gives sage advice for those living in the media age: “I will ponder the way that is blameless… I will walk in integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless” (Ps. 101:2-3). We need to allow Christ to be Lord of our prime time.

Some of you need to schedule a transparent conversation with your spouse and prayerfully seek God’s will regarding this. And you single men, who have so much trouble with your minds, need to likewise seek God’s will—and some mature older Christian men to hold you accountable.

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