There are some things that are simply distractions to me when I am driving and then there are some things that cause me nearly drive off the road. The billboard you see in this post was one of those near accident causers. When I thought I had seen it all (and clearly I have not), this appeared ahead of me as I was driving north on I-95. While it may be hard for me to make a direct connection from this billboard to specific marital infidelities, it is not hard for me to connect the dots from what goes in the mind to what comes out in a life. This kind of “mind pollution” is all to common in America these days and does not even require a billboard. For many of us, these kinds of salacious suggestions occur in the average television show, most movies and on the internet.
To avoid these kinds of mind pollution is nearly impossible unless you are Amish or dead and these days, even the Amish minds are under attack. It is very clear to me that avoiding the culture is not a real option, but changing it is. The culture I am referring to though, is not the broader culture, but the culture of our minds, our homes and our lives. An old saying says, “Change begins with us.” and I believe that now is the time for some of us in the evangelical community to take that seriously. We need to stop trying to change those around us and start working on ourselves first.
One of the best ways that I know to begin this is to be intentional about what goes into our minds. It is like any diet – what we feed ourselves changes the way we look, act and feel. So what are we feeding ourselves? This would be the point in the blog where I could take pot shots at all media and suggest you stop watching TV, going to movies or using the internet and simply start reading books. That however, is too easy, and too self serving for a guy who loves and sells books. The reality is that we need a gospel transformed media consumption plan. We need to pass all our media through the grid of the gospel and ask the right questions. Is this helpful, useful, edifying or entertaining (and yes I do believe that Christians are allowed to enjoy wholesome entertainment)? Simply asking yourself, “Why am I watching or looking at this?” is a great diagnostic question to begin with. Far too often we become media zombies that are simply numbed to reality of what we are letting into our minds.
With that said, I do believe that there is a vital place for books in your gospel transformed media consumption plan. If you make the effort to simply list books that you plan to read and then begin doing it one at a time, you will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life. Recently, I have begun setting aside specific times in the day when the only thing I allow myself to do is to read the current book that I am working on. This can be over a lunch break or before bed in the evening. I am a firm believer that what goes into your mind right before you go to sleep can even impact your subconsciousness and your dream life. The investment of time to feed your mind the right things is at least as important as making an effort to choose healthy food to eat. If you care about your body, you should care about your mind even more because, “What goes into the mind comes out in a life.”