John Piper, on breaking free from the “entertainment addiction”

piper speakingHere is a helpful response to a question regarding being too enamored and drawn to personal entertainment all the time (the original article is located here). Very few people never struggle with maintaining their personal spiritual disciplines, and yet being drawn to satisfy our desire for fun and pleasure. John Piper gives a balanced and challenging bit of insight into how to begin winning that battle. The question first, then the answer. And then I’ll make some closing comments.

I believe I do love Jesus, but most of the time I’d rather spend time being entertained than spend time in God’s word. How do I break this hold that entertainment has on my heart?

That’s a very good question. And I think it’s especially relevant because we live, I think, more now than ever, in a day when entertaining kinds of things are immediately accessible.

I was thinking the other day of the difference between our temptations and, say, 250 years ago, the day of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards would write about the folly of young people getting together to do “frivolous conversation” or other worse things (“bundling” it was called: getting in bed together and keeping your clothes on, that sort of thing. Just spice up life a little bit. Life gets boring in New England 250 years ago.).

Today we carry in our pockets radio, television, internet, and games, and anything that would be titillating, fun! And “fun” is a word in the church today that’s just rampant! It’s an adjective, it’s a noun, it’s a verb, because we do ministry in order to fit this mentality.

I’m deeply concerned about that. I want to stand for seriousness about God, instead of making him palatable by making him “fun”! Turning him into another piece of entertainment.

So this question is, “How do you break free from that kind of addiction?”

  1. Recognizing it is a huge step in the right direction.
  2. Seek the Lord earnestly about it. Pray like crazy that God would open your eyes to see wondrous things out of his law.
  3. Immerse yourself in the Bible, even when you don’t feel like it, pleading with God to open your eyes to see what’s really there.
  4. Get in a group where you talk about serious things.
  5. Begin to share your faith. One of the reasons we are not as moved by our own faith as we are is because we almost never talk about it to any unbeliever. It starts to feel like a kind of hothouse thing, and then it starts to have a feeling of unreality about it. And then the powers of entertainment have more sway in our life.

And so those would be some of the things, but ultimately it’s a gift of grace to feel the glory of God.

One last suggestion: think about your death. Think about your death a lot. Ask what you’d like to be doing in the season of life, or hours or days, leading up to meeting Christ. I do that a lot these days. I think about the impact of death, and what I would like to be found doing, and how I would prepare to meet him and give an account to him.

Brian here again…I think those are helpful and serious suggestions. I think the phrase “feel the glory of God” is a little confusing. I trust he means that “we must have a greater understanding and apprehension of God’s glory, and be moved in our spirit to live accordingly.” That truly is a gift of grace, and something we should be cultivating in our lives (by being entertained less), and that we should be diligently praying for as we seek a greater understanding of God in all His glory through the Word.

Perhaps someone would be interested in starting another group at CCC where “you talk about serious things.” We have men’s breakfasts, and one small group at Paul’s office. We have had “book club” meetings periodically. The women are having a discussion June 20th discussing God’s attributes using James MacDonald’s book “Gripped by the Greatness of God.” Have you signed up (see the back table if you haven’t)?

Do you have another idea? Let me know, and we could discuss how to do it in a productive and useful way.

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