“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the same, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard girls say, “I am so addicted to that show! I have to watch it!” It’s amazing how quickly we become in need of things. Regardless of the fact that our schedules are so busy that we cannot begin to think about adding anything else to our plate, our need for those things causes us to shift all other priorities and obligations to make room for our new craving. Of course, it’s always at the expense of something else because we can’t possibly fit 25 hours of stuff into a 24-hour day, but it starts so small that we rarely realize it until what began as simply a want has become a need, a must have. It never takes very long before a desire grows inside of us that shouts, “I have to have this; I have to watch this; I have to do this!” Simply put, we make time for what matters to us. As crazy as I might sound, the above description captures the reality of many women, in particular many women who watch this show. It has become an addiction, and that is what needs to be addressed.
If I’m honest with myself, I guess I’m not surprised at the draw to the show The Bachelor. They’ve successfully painted a “too good to be true” picture of attaining true love all wrapped up in immense drama and love triangles. Who wouldn’t want that, right? We watch, completely captivated as the story unfolds before our eyes each week. Another girl sent home in tears thinking she was so perfect for him while the others move one step closer to the prize. Somewhere in the middle of all the fake and the fantasy, we lose sight of the beauty of being pursued by one man with all of his heart, and as subtle as it might be, we deaden the desire we have tucked deep down inside our hearts to be loved well and exchange it for the competition, for the lie. Thoughts begin to race through our minds of how we might appear one step ahead of the others around us to catch the eye of our affection. Suddenly, the emphasis on character is easily exchanged for beauty, and it is then that we are most susceptible to compromise.
Although many write this show off to be no more than entertainment, the sad reality is that I see the toll that it is taking on our generation. We believe lies and reject the truth of who we are in Christ, and we embrace a false reality concluding that love is whatever we choose to make it be. It was just a few months ago that I found myself wandering the aisles at Target. One of my favorite pastimes, I love to walk up and down each aisle and just “window shop”. As I was browsing the bed and bath section, dreaming of redecorating ideas, I stumbled upon a conversation that altered me forever. Although I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, the two young girls were speaking so loudly and just feet away from me that I couldn’t help but hear. Both appeared to be in their mid-twenties. Girl One said to her friend, “I know he’s cheating on me. I just know it, and I’m going to call him right now and ask him.” I gasped, completely shocked that she would be so bold, but also that she would proceed to have this delicate of a conversation in Target for myself and anyone else in earshot to hear. Her friend, Girl Two, echoing my concerns replied, “In Target? Right now?” Girl One replied with a confident “Yes” and proceeded to call her boyfriend. Of course I only heard one side of the conversation, but it was clear from the side I heard that she was correct in her assumption of his cheating. I was devastated for her, and although I didn’t know her, I wanted to run up to her and wrap my arms around her. I wanted to tell her how sorry I was for her and that Jesus loved her more than any man ever could. Before I could proceed with my outlandish expression of sympathy, Girl One shocked me further with her response to her phone call. She said, “Well, he is cheating on me, but he promised me that he won’t get her pregnant. I love him and I forgive him because I want to be with him, and I believe him.” Stunned does not quite capture the emotions and thoughts that ran through me at that moment. Although I am fully aware of all the statistics, I guess I had never been met with such a tragic story of a beautiful young women made in the image of her Creator embracing such an evil, wicked lie. And all I could do was stand there shocked as they moved on and out of my life forever, my heart breaking for hers.
I must admit that I was not much different from Girl One for many years of my life. Believing the lie and taking whatever “love” I could get, I was a mess. I was completely hooked to this show for an entire season. I rearranged my schedule each week, cancelled plans, and said no to what would have been better uses of my time in order to engage in the drama. It was after that season that I realized how much effort I had put into this show and how empty I felt when it was over. The ending is never quite what we hope for, thus it leaves us craving more. I don’t aspire to be one that over spiritualizes everything, but God made it very clear to me through that experience that I should need nothing that greatly other than Himself and His Word. The reality was that often times, I was neglecting time in His Word in order to fit in this new addiction that I had. The absence of regular time in Scripture combined with the trash I was filling my mind with from this show resulted in a deadening of my spiritual senses. What would have once offended me, I was beginning to be able to laugh off or disregard. A desensitizing began to occur, and the moment God revealed that to me, I made a decision. As Hebrews 12:1-2 states so clearly, in order for me to effectively run this race that God has set out before me, I must throw off every weight, slight as it may be, that would slow me down and cause my focus to shift from Christ. There are certain things that we must have a conviction about. Guarding our minds and our hearts from anything that would hold us back in any way from pursuing Christ must be of utmost priority. For years, I carried the same excuse that perhaps many of you do when it came to my stagnant relationship with God. Perhaps worded or described in varying ways, the overarching idea is close to this: “I just don’t have time to read my Bible.” What if we made time for it? What if we chose to throw off the “weights” in our life that hinder us in running the race? With our lighter load, what if we found great delight in communing with our Father? Although this may offend some, it is the truth. We prioritize what matters most to us. If God’s Word is not a regular part of your life, it doesn’t matter to you right now. This doesn’t mean that it never can, but decisions on your part need to be made. Yes, I am using The Bachelor as an example, and some might think I have gone so far as to compare it to Hell itself. Of course that is not my intention. My intention is however to highlight God’s Word and how it can be practically applied in our day to day lives. If you’re willing, God is ready to thrill you with the entirety of His Word. Choose to prioritize Him above all else in your life, and watch your current desires change drastically!