Satan uses manipulative tactics like the media to cripple our spiritual growth. And its end goal is nothing but to paralyze our faith. The distinct difference between a saboteur and a manipulator is that the former is a hitman, and the latter is a conman. When we talk about media, Christians, especially parents are quite sensitive to the kind of contents children consume.
However, is it possible that we’ve become negligent in guarding our hearts and minds against the devil’s schemes? We must never hesitate to stay alert to the enemy’s tactics like the men of Issachar who understood the times, 1 Chronicle 12:32. Ryan Holiday is a PR strategist for multimillion-dollar brands, and his job is to use media to make people think or do things they ordinarily would not. Holiday says, “media manipulation exploits the difference between reality and perception in a Forbes article.”
The media might be a problem for Christians because we do not belong to the world, nor should our behavior conform to the puppet masters who desire to change it. Our Master is Jesus Christ alone; likewise, our eternity is the everlasting kingdom. As Christians, the only way to surmount the fiery darts the enemy launched at us through media manipulation is to stand our ground, take our armor and pray Ephesians 6:10-18.
To debunk some of the schemes, here are three subtle ways media cripples spiritual growth.
1. Memes With Bad Theology
A meme can be a video or image that conveys a message shared via social media platforms. Memes can be humorous; while some are poignant, others are motivational. Whether they make us cringe or laugh, these little messages hold a powerful punch of persuasion because it adapts our short attention span and diffuses our thoughts through emotional stimulation.
Information like “love your life” and “follow your heart” is pretty encouraging and uplifting, especially if posted with a sentiment of love and packaged in appealing endearing images. Imagine, who could ever find these positive messages offensive? God does, and His truth exposes these beautifully wrapped messages for what they are—deceit.
“The heart is dishonest above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
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2. Painting Good As Evil and Evil as Good
The good old days were fun because we watched many superheroes movies. Some of the movies were filled with the good and bad guys and it was easy to tell them apart. More disturbing is that with the rise of origin story-themed movies, moral lines are blurred, but the roles of heroes and villains are interchanged. You can’t help but feel sorry for poor Cruella, who featured in a Disney movie under the same name. Cruella’s childhood charming and suffering tenacity must have earned her the right to steal, kill and destroy.
However, many movies perpetuate this subtle message that now pictures villains sympathetically. The idea of flip-flopping human perception of good and evil started when Satan met Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Any time Christians watch a movie or television show and find themselves thoughtlessly rooting for evil, you can be certain the content of that program is working Satan’s age-old purposes into their subconscious. Likewise, it seems the only thing that’s changed in our media-driven era is that Satan no longer needs to masquerade as an angel of light to manipulate our ideals—a villain will do just perfect.
“How terrible for those who call evil good and good evil, who say darkness is light and light is darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)
3. Laughter As Hallucinogenic Drug
As destructive as sitcoms may have been to Godly values, they are just like a child’s July 4th gemstone compared to the atom bomb of social media. Countless social platforms exist with the main aim of providing a quick laugh. However, it is no hassle for these modern sitcoms-on-steroids to administer a dose of deception in less than a minute.
The average American spends 145 minutes daily on these platforms, research indicates. Is it okay for believers to have a good time laughing and watching funny video clips? Of course, but if we are watching and posting things that are contrary to God’s truth and ways, probably because we feel immune to the devil’s schemes—we lie! 1 Corinthians 10:12.
We should understand that Joy is a gift from God, and He is the source of genuine delight. Everything else trying to take his place in our life is nothing but a sham—a temporary gratification. Satan uses cheap peals of laughter to quench our desire for true joy artificially. When defenses are low, He takes advantage of our weakness and replaces God’s truth with deception. Ephesians 4:3-4 is a reminder that not this coarse joking or foolish talks but thanksgiving should exist among us.
How shall we then live as Christians? The essence of knowing the subtle ways the media cripples our spiritual growth is not to call a ban on media instead to expose the danger that threatens our Christian race. Indeed, amidst all the negative tactics, the media is still a powerful tool and platform to spread the gospel of truth. By diligently seeking God and not being ignorant of the enemy’s scheme, we can walk as children of light.