It seems that people can become addicted to anything these days: alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, sex, plastic surgery, shopping.
You name it, someone’s probably addicted to it. One thing to add to the list is entertainment addiction. Americans spend more and more time pursuing various means of entertainment. Television is a great example. When I was a child, we had an antenna on top of the house that picked up about four channels on a good day. Today, with cable and satellite dishes, TV viewers can choose from hundreds of different channels. Just think of all the different ways entertainment affects our lives. We have become a society that expects to be entertained everywhere we go.
Generally speaking, addictions are bad and entertainment addiction is no exception. The only exception that comes to mind is the household of Stephanas in Corinth, who had addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15). One of the bad things about addictions is that they have a negative impact on so many other aspects of life. Think of the ways entertainment addiction negatively affects other areas of life.
First, it places an undue emphasis on pleasure and fun.
The word entertainment is defined as, Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language). There is nothing wrong with pleasure, and there is nothing wrong with seeking to be amused. However, there is great danger in developing an attitude of expecting those things in every facet of life. In Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, one of the things that He said choked out the seed in the thorny ground was the pleasures of this life (Luke 8:14). Paul warned about some who were lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4). Solomon said, I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2). There are many things in life about which we need to take a serious attitude. The apostles encouraged us to be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; 1 Peter 5:8), which means to be clear and rational in our thinking and self-controlled in our actions.
Second, it tends to make us self-centered.
Entertainment is all about personal preferences. When we let our personal preferences dictate what we do in serving God, we have ceased to serve God and have begun to serve self. This attitude is prevalent in the new styles of worship being promoted in many churches today. They emphasize what is appealing to the worshiper rather than seeking to honor the Lord’s commands. Consequently, the standard of judgment for all actions eventually becomes, Do I like it? Jesus explained the servant’s mindset and showed that it is not one of self-service.
Third, it promotes a hunger for something new.
When someone looks for entertainment he generally wants things that are new, fresh, and exciting. While there are a few classic movies, books, and songs that people enjoy over and over, the majority of things we do for entertainment depend upon being new. This is why so many people become so enamored with new theories about biblical events. For them, the same old story of the Bible just isn’t as exciting and entertaining as a conspiracy theory about deep, dark secrets held by the church. But the child of God needs to see the Bible as the living and powerful Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). If we seek wisdom and guidance instead of entertainment, and excitement we will search God’s Word with joy. We will be able to say with David, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).
Entertainment addiction is a deadly malady for the soul who seeks to please God and to receive His promises. Breaking that addiction requires a complete change of mindset. Paul described the change: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). – Kevin D. Beard