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You Can’t Serve God and Entertainment

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by Phillip Holmes


You love entertainment. On-demand streaming, live television, video-sharing websites, and social media are all at your fingertips. Your ability to access entertainment swiftly and effortlessly has encroached on every aspect of your life. Research recently revealed that you’re tempted to check Facebook every thirty-one seconds.


Are your friends boring you with dull conversation? Grab your iPhone. Is your wife annoying you? Turn on your television. Is your professor uninteresting? Sign into Facebook. Entertainment is your means of escape from the inconveniences of life into a comfortable world of fantasy. And your means of escape has made you a slave.


Confessions of a Slave


If I’m honest, I’ve had an unbridled love for frivolous entertainment — over the years I’ve used it primarily as a means of escape. Entertainment was used to distract me from the guilt of sin, friction in relationships, or anxiety about work. It became what daily prayer and Bible reading should have been — a safe haven to retreat for rest and comfort.


I failed to recognize that my never-ending pursuit to be entertained had turned me into a slave. My love for my new master was subtly causing contempt towards God and reticence in my duty to delight in him.


A Tale of Two Masters


In Matthew 6:24, Jesus reveals that when we gravitate towards entertainment as a means of comfort, we’re moving further and further away from our Creator. The notion of two masters is, in fact, a fictitious tale. It’s impossible to have more than one. Jesus exposes an insightful reality: Love for one will cause hatred toward the other.


If we devote inordinate amounts of time, money, and affection to anything, including entertainment, we will despise whatever draws us away. We’ve all been faced with the choice between spending time in prayer and God’s word or spending time with entertainment. At the crux of these crossroads, the all-satisfying gift of Jesus is pit against the temporal promises of entertainment. Whichever road is chosen increases hatred for the path denied.


When we choose the broad path to careless entertainment, seeds of contempt are planted for Christ. Likewise, when we choose the narrow road to Jesus, seeds of hatred are planted, not only for mindless entertainment, but all of our indwelling sin. This path reveals that endless entertainment is a cruel master that seeks to devour our true joy and lead us away from Christ, our source.


The Cruel Master


Entertainment over-promises but under-delivers. It is unable to satisfy what our hearts truly long for. We want rest. We want comfort. But entertainment can only offer a temporary fix. As soon as we wake up from hours of binging on Netflix or scrolling through social media, our problems remain, still waiting to be confronted. And we’re faced with the truth that all we’ve done is put off the inevitable.


Endless entertainment is a cruel master that seeks to devour our true joy and lead us away from Christ.



Chasing joy in entertainment is like “chasing the dragon.” The term is a slang phrase, which refers to the continuous pursuit of an ultimate high previously obtained at the initial use of drugs.


For example, a drug user tries heroin for the first time and has an amazing experience. But when he returns to the drug, he can’t get that same experience. Instead, the experience gets weaker, so the user takes more and stronger heroin to reach that same feeling. As he “chases the dragon” the user’s body decays inside and out. This decay usually manifests itself in extreme itching, unwanted weight loss, slurred speech, kidney or liver disease, and more.


Addiction to entertainment is similar. The physical and health effects may not be as striking as heroin, but the spiritual effects are costly. We chase mindless entertainment hoping for relief for our souls, but instead all it really can promise is death. It distracts us from the highest and ultimate good with a mirage of happiness and comfort.


Jesus Is the Good Master


In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus invites all who labor and are burdened to come to him, promising to provide rest for our weary souls. This promise is not empty. In the gospel, he fulfills his promise by taking up our burden on the cross for our rest and joy in him.


I have never walked away disappointed when I’ve pursued my joy in God through prayer and Bible reading, reminded myself of his promises in the gospel, repented of my sin, and cried out to God for comfort. Were all of my problems solved? No. But my joy was restored, and my soul had feasted on his promises. Likewise, every time I’ve used entertainment as a means of relief for my soul, I was left wanting and unsatisfied.


Even still, when I find myself at that proverbial crossroad between communion with Christ and frivolous entertainment, I’m tempted to say yes to entertainment and no to God.


As we walk through life, we will be tempted to continue to engage entertainment carelessly and ignore our bondage. Some will continue to live like slaves, binging on entertainment and neglecting spiritual nourishment. But you don’t have to live in bondage.


The gospel supplies the power to say yes to God and no to endless entertainment. Here we uncover the beauty of our wonderful master and realize that Jesus is better. In communion with him, we experience lasting joy that entertainment can only promise but never provide.


The next time you find yourself at this familiar crossroad, cling to Jesus. Remember that he alone is your highest good. He died and rose so that we can experience communion with him, which provides the supreme joy that an escape to entertainment simply cannot compete with.

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I've been a slave for entertainment too. At that time I thought it was the remedy to my loneliness. It wasn't until much later when I learned that I was wrong. All they provided was a temporary escape. I wanted a more permanent solution and I found in Jesus. I believe that at the present entertainment is the tool satan uses to lure Christians away from God. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. If we can't dwell in Him [because we spend more time watching movies, TV shows, playing video games, etc] it's only a matter of time before our faith dies. And that's Satan's goal.

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I think today in this digital age and world of social media it's very easy to be distracted from focusing on Jesus and worship. There are so many devices and shows and applications used to distract us away from what is important. Yes the bible does say we cannot serve two masters and I think this is very true. If you look at the way society today is compared to 25 years ago so much has changed. I think there is a direct correlation between advancements in technology and infusion of God in daily life. The more devices and things to take our attention or distract us helps to take our focus on God away from our daily practices more and more. For example, in the 1990s many people physically wake up and take themselves to Sunday service in the morning. Nowadays, more and more people get up on Sunday and turn on the television and watch Joel Olsteen or JOyce Meyers to get "church" in the morning. This brings up the topic again. You cannot serve God and entertainment but what happens when you use and entertainment device (TV) to serve God (church)?

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This is exactly why I am rarely seen on social media. I remember the days of MySpace and how I would log on to it for hours and the time would slip through my fingers before I knew it. I have social media accounts, but I only use them to keep in touch with people I don't usually get to spend time with. I log on maybe once a month. I see how everyone is obsessed with it and I know once I start I could end up just like them. So I try to stay away from stuff like that. That's not to say I don't get sucked into TV shows every once and a while. It's so easy nowadays since we can just binge watch a whole series in one sitting. I filled my Roku up mostly with Christian channels and Bible readings. But it is still sometimes hard to choose the right path considering everything we could possibly imagine is right there at our fingertips!

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I might be against your idea since there are those who preach through the social media. Remember that it is God who gave the founders of the social media the general idea. Most have successfully raised funds to pay for hospital bills and school fees through the social media. It is through the social media that I came to know about the Bible app. I think that very few people join social media platforms without knowing what they should be doing there. Others spend time looking for friends or partners and end up wasting their time there.

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