There is a funny commercial on TV right now for Progressive Insurance where the actor walks through a few scenarios on how NOT to become your parents. Do you know which one I’m talking about? In one scene, he says things like, “you woke up early today … nobody cares.” Ha! Funny! My parents will definitely share when they get up and when they go to bed. In another, he says, “and the waiter doesn’t need to know your name." Funny again! Another habit I bet we can all relate to that our parents seem to do.
Then, there’s another line that he says, “Remember ... they’re not PROGRAMS, they’re … TV shows." Referring, of course, to the countless sitcoms, dramas, or news shows that are available to watch on TV. But when I listened to that statement, I paused. It was funny because I can remember my grandmother telling me during the times that I got to visit her that she was going to sit down and watch her “program.” But then, after laughing a little, I thought ... I disagree with him. The things we watch on TV are “programs” because, as human beings, we often walk away from watching these things being “programmed” to believe or think one way or the other!
We know this. The information we allow our brains to consume are the things that become embedded in our thinking. Whether we like it or not, much of what we watch in our “programs” on TV is competing to shape our thinking during the time that we’re watching.
I wonder how many of us think of things that way when we place ourselves in front of our favorite “TV program” for six to eight hours a day. Or, if we have that TV program running in the background for the entire day. Could you see maybe that the information we are taking in for that length of time, whether intentional or not, could be programming our thoughts?
Trust me, as I evaluate this question, I am talking to myself here, too. I am a fan of HGTV and any of the home remodeling stations. I like the home transformations, appreciate seeing the decorating trends, and staying on the cutting edge of home improvement. Yet, I know I have to be careful as I watch what is seemingly just a TV program. Because, if I start to become discontent with what God has blessed me with regarding my home or begin comparing my home to others on TV or I start to invest in so much remodeling myself that it causes me to be less generous to others ... then maybe I'm being programmed into thinking I need all that HGTV has to offer. Do you get my point?
Please understand that I’m not saying that you shouldn’t maintain your home and keep it up accordingly, but I am saying that we must watch what and who we’re being influenced by.
Name your station. Is it HGTV, Fox News, ESPN, CNN, or something else? Again, name it. And ask yourself how much influence the information shared through this program affects my thinking or my behavior? Is it affecting me even more than the word of my savior Jesus Christ?
As Christ-followers, we have to ensure that anything we’re watching or listening to isn’t the thing that is programming our thinking.
It should be Jesus. It should be God our Father. It should be the Holy Spirit.
My question to you is ………….. IS IT?
To get us to reflect on who is programming us, earlier in the year, a couple of the elders and one of our guest speakers asked it this way:
Who or what is it that you admire, respect or revere so much that they move you? Is it Jesus?
Who are you sold out to? Is it Jesus?
Who is the loudest voice in your head? IS … IT … Jesus?
The only way to be sure that Jesus is the loudest voice and is doing your “programming” is to spend time with him.
Perhaps you can ask yourself this week, how much time did I give Jesus for him to program my heart with His ways? And then, begin to adjust the time as needed so that you can assuredly say, Jesus Christ, is programming me!
Lynn Utley is a 17-year member of North Central Church of Christ. She is married to Marvin Utley and has a 15-year-old daughter, Kamryn, and a 23-year-old stepson, Logan. She enjoys writing to prompt reflection and encouragement and looks forward to submitting her next blog.