I Triple Dog Dare You…

17 Oct

Okay, so recently I have been feeling my over-dependence on slothfulness…and my biggest enabler of being a three-toed tree climber is the good ol’ television.  It has become way too much of the highlight of my day to go vegetable on the couch in front of TV’s “warm glowing warming glow” (a quote from Homer Simpson himself).  But it is more than just the laziness invlovled, it is a bit deeper.

It is escapism.  I am trying to lose myself in TV.  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with getting wrapped up in a show or movie, it is just that it can be what “gets you through the day.”  Anything that you need to “get through” something that is not related to God is probably not a good thing.  So escapism is a problem for me.  I admit it.  But as I dig through my growing TV addiction conviction, it seems there are even more issues involved.

I am allowing what I watch to invade my mind.  Not that I am watching anything bad, but I find that my mind is grabbing on to quotes from shows, funny scenes, or just anything from TV (including commercials).  These play through my mind all day.  When a situation comes up, I jump to something I watched recently.  I am spurred on by the created show/movie/commercial…not the Creator of all of everything.  Shouldn’t the Spirit be speaking to me and not Michael Scott?  I am drowning out the movement of the power and wisdom of God in my life with the blaring sounds of the world.  This can’t be a good thing.  It can’t.

I know this is probably linked to something deeper.  Okay, not probably.  The heart is that I am worshipping at the chruch of Joe.  Pride and self-idolatry is the real issue.  I have been reading a lot in the Old Testament about how the Israelites kept turning away from God to idols…even in the desert with the thunder and lightening of God dancing with Moses on the mountain top just down the road where they can see.  How more likely am I to turn to idols?  All throughout the prophets, God is begging Israel to turn away from these, smash them up, and trust him.  I do believe he is wanting me to do the same.  This weekend the Spirit started showing me some of my idols…it is weird but they all seem to have my face.  I do love ME too much.

So how do I start smashing idols?  Discipline and listening to the move of the Spirit in my heart.  This is what led me to the conversation with LA after church that has resulted in our Unplugged Challenge.  We are unplugging from our TV.  We are going to do this for a week.  We will move from there once the week is over and see if it needs to be longer.  No using TV as a way to drown out God.  We are going to seek him and each other this week.  I am looking forward to it.  So far, so good.  (Sidenote…we don’t have cable or anything, so unplugging for us includes Netflix and Hulu online.)

Here is the thing.  Paul said in Philippians 4:8- 9 (NLT), “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”  Basically, what ever is worthy of God is what we should dwell on.  We so often don’t.  We think about things that are fun, entertaining, or interesting.  We don’t think of the things of God as much because sometimes that can be hard and challenging.  Sometimes it means breaking down our pride.  Smashing our Me Idols.   Who likes to do that?

I would like to give you the challenge to pick something you need to unplug from.  I triple dog dare you to take the Unplugged Challenge.  What do you need to give up for a week so you can hear the gentle voice of the Spirit leading you closer to him?  What “Me Idols” do you need to smash or at least get a good look at and allow God to help you smash?  Will you take the challenge for a week and give something up?

What is your “something in the way” that you can give up for a week?  What is it that you are using, consiously or unconsiously, to run away from God in your life in small or big ways?  Do you think you can take the challenge for a week?

Performancing Metrics


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7 responses to “I Triple Dog Dare You…

  1. aldaraan

    October 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Wonderful thoughts Joe! I was reading Sherlock Holmes once and Watson had told Holmes, who had been ignorant of the fact up until that moment, that world was round. He could not believe that Sherlock Holmes had not known the fact. What Sherlock told him next was even more incredible. He said he was going to try and forget that the world was round because his mind had a limited capacity to contain knowledge. Therefore he wanted to fill it with only knowledge that would help him meet in his job as a consulting detective.

    I have often remembered that when people, myself included, are watching tv and listening to music. As I store those things up in my head are they taking up room that might be more wisely used with the knowledge that comes from God’s word? As you mentioned should we not be able to quote scripture when circumstances come up instead of Homer Simpson?

    I have been tempted to challenge the young people at the church where I pastor. They are good kids but they have some bad habits. I can almost promise if they hear the first few beats of a lot of the sinfulness that passes for music today they can recite the rest of the song. But if they hear, “The Lord is my shepherd…” I will probably just get blank looks.

    We need to correct this and fill our hearts with the word. It is by the word that faith is born and the word must be stored up in our hearts and ready to use at a moments notice. As Jesus said:

    Mat 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
    Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

    • ragamuffinjoe

      October 18, 2011 at 5:48 am

      Thank you for your comments! I love the Sherlock Holmes analogy to this. I wish I would have known that when I wrote the post! Awesome stuff. I agree with everything you said. We really are storing things in our hearts more than we know. Scripture is hardly ever the first thing that I say. A lot of times, like I said in the post, it will be something from TV or a movie. The Holy Spirit is working on me, and I know he is working on others. We just have to be willing to take the challenges to start weeding out these things that allow us set ourselves up as idols. Me and TV is just a symptom of a bigger problem. I am prideful and arrogant. Getting rid of TV is just a way to let the Spirit move and help me start smashing my self idols.

  2. Bill Moore

    October 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I have encouraged my 6th grade Fusion guys at Grace to take the “drop your idol for a week challenge” With them it’s video games. We will see how it goes. I have found that if you ask anyone, especially Christians, to consider giving up tv,music, movies, or video games they look at you like you just asked them to sever a limb.

    • ragamuffinjoe

      October 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Awesome! I didn’t know you were involved in Fusion. I know what you mean. When I mention not having cable to people they think that is crazy. I think we are over dependent on technology and the world’s entertainment. I know I am. I want God to help me get a reign on my earthly addictions and hooked more on him.

  3. Scott

    October 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I’m looking forward to hearing how it went for you… Obviously I think it will be a good thing.

    I think the tough thing for me is I tend to go into to the “ditches” of life far too easily (my pastor talks about going into ditches all the time). Ditches are going from one extreme to the other. In this case, I’m watching 20 hours of TV a week, so I’m going to throw away my TV and all my DVD’s. The same can be said for overeating. Since I eat too much, I’m going to limit my intake to almost nothing so I won’t overeat.

    No TV ever probably isn’t realistic and watching 20 hours of TV a week is too much, but somewhere in the middle there is this place called balance. Trust me when I say I agree with you about TV, it’s one of my addictions/idols and I use it to escape just like you, but I don’t want to go to extremes, then fall right back into a bad habit.

    Plus, I think there is value in some forms of entertainment. I love the artistry of a good story, just because I enjoy the story played out on screen doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, I think you use the medium very well to teach the kids in your school. I also believe you & Bill will continue to read books, which can also be a form of escape… just ask my wife.

    Loved your thoughts and as you can see, I’m wrestling with all of this myself.

    • ragamuffinjoe

      October 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      Well, we ended the challenge early, but it was for a reason and prayed through. Yeah, I completely hear you, Scott. This was more of a fast than a give up TV situation. We will do it again, soon, and then probably come up with TV limits. Trying to strike a balance. Moderation. That is key. TV is not the idol…I am the idol. Food is not the idol…I am the idol. The balance is not to use these things to sacrafice my time and self to my idol…me.


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