Personal Conviction

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8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.- Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

I got into an interesting conversation yesterday with a good friend. He has been recently convicted by God to get rid of the things in his life that do not necessarily praise Him. For my friend, this looks like getting rid of some movies, books, and even music.

21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent [emphasis added] and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. – James 1:21 (NIV)

Kratos wants blood...

After talking to him, I got thinking about the stuff in my own life I have walked away from due to personal conviction. For example, I played through the original God of War on the PS2. I loved this game! In playing it though, I noticed that it brought out a thirst for what I would call “blood lust” within me. I just wanted to kill, kill, kill. Not only that, but the cut scenes in the game featured what might as well have been soft core porn. There was one time when I was playing that my wife saw one of these cut scenes, she was appalled…I was embarrassed. Soon after I beat the game. I made my wife promise me to never let me play another game in the series again. I simply did not like the all encompassing worldview found in the game. The gameplay was another matter…

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world [emphasis added]. – James 1:27 (NIV)

More recently I have walked away from playing through the game Darksiders on the PS3. The game had everything going for it minus a highly spiritually convoluted storyline. Heck, I could have even looked past that! What really killed it for me was that the game forced you to offer blood sacrifices to demons. It was then that I ejected the disc and never looked back. I know, as a Christian, that God would never consider such acts, even done virtually, to be honoring of Him.

5 You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God… Exodus 20:5a (HCSB)

Beyond the realm of video games, I have also dealt with conviction over books I have read. The best example I can think of is George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series. A few months ago, I rushed through the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones. I loved how Martin was able to weave political intrigue with such a rich cast of characters. What started to bug me though, as I moved through the 1000 pages of the book, were the explicit sex scenes found therein. In the end, I concluded that Martin’s brutal fantasy world was not one I needed to be a part of. Reading what amounted to bits of pornography was not good for my mind nor my soul; Nor was it honoring to my wife and my God.

Being a Christian is tough. The price for following Christ often means making choices that you don’t want to make but know you need to. I have not always followed the Holy Spirit’s prompting when it comes to things I need to walk away from. But the times I have listened to that prompting have lead to an even closer walk with the Lord. So I encourage you to put down that which you know you shouldn’t be touching. God will give you the strength to walk away.

13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

In conclusion, the conversation I had with my friend has bought me to prayer. I am now praying that God would help me figure out what “moral filth” I have allowed into my life. I know that removing it will not be easy but am reassured that God will see me through.

The Library

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After reading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, I found myself wanting to check out other works of modern fantasy. Brandon Sanderson, the author who took over for Robert Jordan on his The Wheel of Time series, wrote a book last year entitled, The Way of Kings. This particular book, priced out at $12.99 (e-book price), was too expensive for me to justify buying as a digital copy–I won’t do it!–. Remembering that there is something called a library, a place where books are free, I quickly made a visit of acquisition. Upon check out, I learned that I hadn’t checked anything out since 2007. One could have called this trip quite overdue.

The Way of Kings is a massive tome clocking in somewhere near a 1000 pages. Hardbound, the book is heavy and hard to situate when reading in bed at night. Now I have to confess that my Nook has made me forget what it is like to have to wrangle a 1000 page book. Weight and size have no meaning in the digital form. I could be reading a 2000 page book on my Nook and never know the difference. This is where the e-reader and the e-book shine. The other thing I had forgotten is how nice it is to have the Nook save my place every night. Bookmarks have always failed me with physical books. Somehow, someway, the bookmark always ends up falling out. Utter frustration ensues.

So how is The Way of Kings so far? At this point, a few hundred pages in, I am enjoying it immensely. Unlike Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series, Sanderson has not seen the need, thus far, to throw-in gratuitous amounts of sex and language. Brandon Sanderson is slowly restoring my faith in modern fantasy.