Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Power of Immersion For Spiritual Breakthrough

Seeking Righteousness? Desire Holiness?  Try Immersion 

My youngest son, Robert, played high school baseball for a coach who hammered on the idea that baseball needed to be their number one focus. The team members were constantly reminded that they needed to be playing the game, thinking about the games, and watching others play the game. This approach recognizes that when we are immersed in an activity, it provides training to every part of our being, and keeps out distractions that might work against the goals. 

In my personal walk, immersion is a key component of any success. As soon as I turn off the news, and the TV, and put aside secular entertainment, my life changes almost immediately. According to Christian pollster, George Barna, “Born-again Christians spend seven times as much time on entertainment as they do on spiritual activities.” 5 Imagine what the percentages might be if you compared all forms of secular input with all types of Christian input. I imagine the percentage would be much higher. 

Just imagine if your car radio and TV only played Christian material. Or what if you turned off your TV and spent the 3—5 hours per day you are probably spending now on sitcoms, cop shows, and other programming, and spent that time with Christian authors, speakers, preachers, community with other believers, and outreach. Think of the difference in what would be on your mind and affecting your thinking. 
When was the last time you watched a TV show of any kind that had no characters on the show who were involved in blatant sexual sin. Try this: Watch any kid’s sitcom and see how many times per minute somebody is lying about something in order to stay out of trouble, and with absolutely no thought of it being wrong, and no consequence. 

Try immersing yourself for a period of time: 40 days, 90 days, a year. Once you have started the practice, you will find great joy in the experience, but you will also find that it helps you towards holiness. When I am immersed, I prefer to listen to Christian talk radio in the car. The impact of hearing one or two sermons per day is profound. I know others who prefer praise music, of which there is an almost unlimited selection in every genre. 

At home, I generally turn to Christian books, both fiction and non-fiction, and turn off the TV completely. Of course there are numerous programs and movies available that are biblically sound. Some of my friends are enjoying audio books and podcasts. 

There is also a wealth of sermons on YouTube on almost every verse in the Bible from multiple pastors. The Charles Spurgeon sermons on the Beatitudes mentioned above are so incredible that I have now spent almost 30 hours listening to them over and over. 

Be careful, however, the world has a way of creeping back in, one half hour game show at a time. I feel sure that God intends for us to make time for relaxation and mindless activity that provides a time to refresh. However, the very use of the word mindless is problematic. Your mind is not turned off during these mindless times.

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