I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1
When I first read that verse my mind wants to think of a living sacrifice as simply taking care of myself: eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, etc. Yeah, yeah....I got that. But really, what is the sacrifice that God is looking for? TIME! That make's me think of the rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland". "Time?! Time?! Who's got the time?!"
Giving Him time is the sacrifice He wants from me. Time means I give my mind to Him. I think about Him. I included Him. I need Him. It's the least I can do ("your reasonable service"), considering all that He has done for me. What does that entail? If you're like me you might be thinking, "I have so little time as it is!" Oh yes, we have SOOO much going on in our lives. Shuttling children around, taking care of our homes, spending time with friends and family, working, exercising, and the list goes on and on and on... But name one thing on your list that is more important than spending time with God. I know I can't.
How do we do it? Here's a start...and this is a HUGE step in the right direction...TURN OFF THE T.V.! I believe this is one (if not THE) single biggest problem with American Christians today. When I gave up secular t.v. programming I freed my mind of the garbage that Satan wants me to focus on rather than God. Yes, our family still owns a t.v. (eh hmmm...okay, more than one...), and yes, we have satellite programming. But of all the 300+ channels, we probably watch 10 of them. Seven are Christian programming, one is PBS (educational children's programming), two are Disney (and the jury's still out on the necessity of that one - quality has gone WAY down in recent years), and then there's the news (which is becoming less and less important because of all the smut stories in it). I can't even remember the last time I watched the FOOD Channel and I love cooking shows! But the thing is, even a cooking show can pull me away from time with God. Instead, if I'm looking for a particular recipe, I'll search for it on Pintrest and then I've saved myself some time.
I'm not saying that watching something like the Food Channel or a DIY show is a sin, but it's worth asking the question...does it consume time that I can be spending with the Lord? Do I walk away closer to Him? Well, there is probably some gray area there. We can use the knowledge we gain from it to bless others and in turn bless God. I'm not saying STAY AWAY from it. Just judge the time spent on it. Everything in moderation.
And then there is the just, plain darkness of t.v. That's where things get heavy. I will NOT waste anytime with crime dramas, murder mysteries, reality shows, crude humor, mindless sitcoms, soap operas, anything that focuses on witch craft, vampires, zombies, sex, fortune telling, or infidelity. Basically, anything that does not include the Lord and glorify Him. I just won't do it. It fills the mind with darkness and is of the devil. How can I grow closer to God if I'm filling my mind with such oppressive material? If I truly claim to be a believer in Jesus, but entertain myself with things of the world, I'm not walking the walk. I'm holding myself back.
I'm also not going to fill my mind with music, movies, books, or magazines that glamorize the above listed things. They all hold me back. How can I have the mind of Christ, when I'm filling with songs about "cheatin' hearts" or getting drunk?
Here's the follow-up verse, for the above reference one:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
You know, it is possible to be entertained without having to give our thoughts over to things of the devil. As a family, we do enjoy movies and entertainment that includes God; that have an ounce of morality to them. We come away feeling blessed. I can't say that about those other "so-called" forms of entertainment. In fact, I wouldn't even call them entertainment. I see them simply as the devils hooks. I won't let him get a hold on me anymore!