Is It a Sin to Consume Certain Media?

Does it matter what we watch on our televisions, phones, and in theaters? Do explicit lyrics in music affect our relationship and walk with God? 🤔 Let's discuss.

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Hello, this is Walking in Step with God, and I am Steve McDonald. 

In today’s day and age, entertainment media is all around us. Many of us carry a phone that is also a multimedia device where we can consume all kinds of media to our heart’s content.

We have an abundance of choices when it comes to the media we consume. Music, Movies, and TV shows are aplenty for every taste and genre.  Today, I would like to discuss the idea that not all media is compatible with a walk with God. That, in fact, consuming media without regard for the material being consumed can have a detrimental effect on our walk with God and lead us into sin.

I will also share a personal experience with trying to mix exposure to sin in the media with my own walk with God and what I learned. 

Let’s review 2 considerations when it comes to sin and consuming certain media.

First, let’s consider the types of media that may be harmful to our walk with God.  Music, movies, and TV shows can contain sex, violence, profanity, and glorification of sinful behaviors such as greed, lust, and envy.

When we seek to walk in step with God, we seek to experience God’s light within us, through us, and with us at all times.  We seek to imitate His holiness. We seek His blessing and we seek an anointing from God.

The answer to the question “Is it a sin to consume certain media?” can be a controversial one, but I’d like to share my perspective on it.   While I don’t believe that consuming media that contains sinful content is sinful in and of itself, I believe that consuming media that contains sinful content can have an effect on our hearts and minds, which can lead us to pursue sinful behaviors.  I also believe that consuming media that contains sinful content can interfere with experiencing the fullness of intimacy with God.  Later, I will share a tangible example of why I share this view.

Before we dive in, let’s take a quick break.  I will be right back.

Welcome back.  Let’s continue in our discussion of media, sin, and 2 considerations when it comes to consuming certain media.

#1 Media that glorifies sin without context can corrupt the mind

Media that glorifies sex such as pornography perverts and distorts what God intended for sex to be within the context of marriage.  Media that glorifies violence such as horror films and certain genres of music can distort our tolerance of violence. 

In both of these examples, our minds may become hyper-stimulated from consuming such material, so much so that our minds become conditioned to accept and even pursue sinful activities.  

Consuming pornography, for example, can lead to sinful thoughts about sex, the temptation to partake in sexual sin, and even foster an addiction to pornography.  

Consuming media where profanity is embedded into most of the language and communication may tempt us to use profanity in our communication.  While watching or listening to profanity may not be sinful in and of itself, over time, this behavior may tempt us to feel it is perfectly normal to use the same profanity in our communication – which is sinful.

#2 Consuming sin in media cannot co-exist with an anointing

I believe that as we seek to align ourselves with God and walk in step with God, what we truly seek is intimacy with God.  We seek that God’s light is shining brightly from within us and His blessing us with gifts, blessings, and favor.  I believe that if we seek intimacy with God we are also seeking a posture of holiness that imitates Him.

I do not believe that consuming media where sinful activity is accepted or glorified can co-exist with the pursuit of holiness and intimacy with God.  To be clear, I am not suggesting that every show that contains a sinful act will interfere with our holiness.  I am focusing on the types of media where sin is rampant and normalized, even glorified. 

I do not believe that we should expect to be able to listen to music with explicit lyrics where sex and violence are glorified and  feel the fullness of God’s Spirit within us at the same time. I do not believe that we can watch an hour of pornography and experience a divinely influenced reading of God’s Word immediately afterward. I do not believe we can pursue holiness and consume media that glorifies sin. 

I’d like to share a personal experience as an example.  I do not take credit for the content of these messages.  I credit God. For these messages, my process is that I review a topic and then ask the Holy Spirit to give me the words to say to the world.  I believe the ability to share these messages with you is part of an anointing from God in me.

One day, I had to write a message. I wanted to eat lunch before I did. I decided to see what was new on Netflix while I ate lunch.  I found a show I had not previously seen that starred an actress that I had a crush on when I was younger, so I proceeded to watch the show. About 1/3rd of the way in, profanity ensued–the type of profanity where people were cursing just to be cursing. Not out of anger or a temporary loss of composure, but just to curse.. I felt a tug in my spirit and I knew what I was consuming through my eyes and ears could not co-exist with the anointing that was also present in me. I had to choose if I would continue to watch my crush on TV with all of the casual profanity, or if I would turn away from it.  I chose to keep watching.

When I finished the show, I proceeded to sit down and write my message. Folks… it was as if all of the divine instruction for the message had left me.  I did not know what to write or how to write it.  This had never happened before at any other time I sat down to write a message.  It occurred to me that what had happened was quite simple.  I had chosen the world over the holiness of the anointing. I prayed and asked God for forgiveness and wrote the message the following day.  I have not watched that program on Netflix since.  Why? If I have to choose between watching an old crush on a TV series and keeping a holy anointing within me, I choose God and His anointing in me.

Wrap Up

In today’s message, we reviewed 2 considerations regarding the question “Is it a sin to consume certain media”.  We discussed the fact that consuming certain media, such as pornography can have a detrimental effect on our minds.  Consuming media such as this can overstimulate our minds to such a degree that we become addicted to seeking out more and more sensational material, distorting our perceptions of sinful activities and potentially causing us to act in sinful ways.

We also discussed that consuming material that contains sinful content, in particular, sinful content with no meaning or context, we interfere with our anointing and blessing.  We discussed the idea that consuming media that normalizes sinful activity cannot co-exist with experiencing the fullness and holiness of God’s spirit within us.  Even if we do not partake in the sinful activity presented in the media, we may not fully realize what God is offering us to experience through an intimate relationship with Him if we are choosing to also consume media that glorifies sinful behavior.

Are you interested in discovering more about the guidance offered in this message? Learn more in the companion article Going Deeper with the Word: Is It a Sin to Consume Certain Media?


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