Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

It's the Thoughts That Count

The secular world rarely considers the effect of popular culture on our thoughts. The only time it shows concern for the thought life is … when someone becomes a racist through being exposed to racist literature, or a killer mimics a scene from a violent film. The Bible presents the different idea that what we think is judged alongside what we do. It's possible to keep the law and yet have an immoral mind. Our thoughts are as much a part of our moral character as our actions. …

Often people will defend unsavory entertainment because they say it hasn't led them to do anything bad, but this doesn't take into account the content of their minds. We can remain meek and mild yet have a brain swirling with the most poisonous images. When Jimmy Carter was running for U.S. president in 1976, he gave an interview to Playboy in which he was asked whether he had committed adultery. In his answer he said that he had committed adultery many times in his heart. The secular media scoffed at this because it hardly seemed like a moral infringement, but Carter was of course picking up on a Bible truth that it's possible to commit sins in the privacy of our heads; sins known only to God. …

Christians sometimes expose themselves to dangerous stuff just to show how resilient they are. It's the spiritual equivalent of tightening your six-pack and challenging someone to deliver a swift punch: "See! It didn't hurt." But we can't always tell at the time how things will affect us in the long term. Images we saw decades ago can rise to the surface of our consciousness without us being aware of where they came from. The biblical proverb asks,

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Giver
The Giver
It isn’t really a narrative that adapts well, because it isn’t really a narrative at all.
TrendingMark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
(UPDATED) Driscoll offers 8-step solution to followers: 'Current climate is not healthy for me or for this church.'
Editor's PickThe Wrong Kind of Christian
The Wrong Kind of Christian
I thought a winsome faith would win Christians a place at Vanderbilt’s table. I was wrong.
Comments
Christianity Today
It's the Thoughts That Count
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.