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IS OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL DIET AS IMPORTANT AS OUR PHYSICAL DIET?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an op-ed piece in USA Today. It appeared about two weeks ago written by Art Friends, a clinical psychologist. He says — remember, you are what you eat and we apply that to what we eat physically — when you go into a restaurant, oftentimes, you see what the calorie count might be, how healthy it is for your life — you can make that decision.
However, he goes on to say, in particular, it is easy to not notice the unhealthy or even toxic ingredients in the massive amounts of television programming, social media apps and various tech and screen activities that we expose ourselves to each and every day.
PARENTS MUST MONITOR CHILDREN’S EXPOSURE TO TECHNOLOGY
DR. REEDER: Tom, let’s put the Christian world and life view framing around this upfront: parents need to be engaged, not simply in what is your child looking at on television and what is your child accessing through the technology of iPhones and iPads, but even should be they be in front of the television and should they even have that technology in their hands? And, if so, when and, if so, how do you engage in parental oversight?
Yesterday, we looked at the erosion of parental rights. Today, we want to look at actually activating your parental rights for your child’s nurturing environment as they grow up. And you’ve got to understand that, while television and technology are amoral — they’re not evil — they also are instruments. They are mediums and something is coming through them. It is not the iPhone that is the sin, but what is coming through the iPhone and what your child is accessing.
You type something in on your internet search because you want to shop for something and, the next thing you know, within ten hours, you got 30 ads by various companies on that object or related objects. Well, that happens way beyond the consumption of goods in terms of people that are using the internet to get into your life and determine what information’s coming to your life.
JESUS GIVES US SAGE GUIDELINES
What we’ve got to do, Tom, is believe our Savior. Our Savior said this. These are three phrases that He said related to the parable of the sower and a couple of other parables:
-Be careful who you listen to.
-Be careful what you listen to.
-Be careful how you listen.
Therefore, who, what and how you listen and realize that, when you move into the area of public broadcast or cable broadcast, to a certain degree you start losing control. And then your child, who has less abilities than you to make discerning decisions about who, what and how to listen through their use of television and technology, your child, many times, is out there in this wasteland that is utterly destructive.
You made a great point of nutritional information and knowing that you are what you eat. Well, spiritually and lifestyle, you are what you listen to, who you listen to and how you listen to it. Here’s what Jesus said when all is said and done, the pupil will become like his teacher. In other words, the blind will lead the blind and they both fall into the pit.
Who are you listening to? You’re going to start being affected too. What are you listening to? You’re going to be affected by it. How are you listening? You’re going to be affected by it. That’s why Paul commended the Bereans that they examined the Scriptures to see if these things are so. Learners must be discerning of who you are learning from, what you are learning from and how you are factoring and filtering what you are learning and how you are dealing with it and what you’re going to do with it.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE WISE TEACHERS, TOO
We who are engaged in the media, we have to bear responsibility for what we teach and how we teach it because the teacher incurs a stricter judgment. Why would the teacher incur a stricter judgment? Because teaching communication actually does have effects and consequences. That’s why we incur a stricter judgment.
Well, if teachers incur a stricter judgment because what they teach and do affects people, then all of us when we are in positions of learning, we need to be careful who we select as our teachers, what we are listening to and how we are listening to it.
That includes reading as well: everything that is produced in communication has a world and life view. Nothing is neutral, but those who are using it are not unneutral and they are not amoral — they have a world and life view that is being communicated.
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, for many of us, it’s obvious what is moral and immoral and those decisions might seem black and white. As you talk about discernment for what we read and who we listen to, how can you discern which ones will be speaking the truth?
EXAMINE TEACHERS’ WORLD AND LIFE VIEW
DR. REEDER: Whenever I’m listening to a teacher, I don’t demand that they are Christian, but I do look at their world and life view and, thankfully, even non-Christians, because of common grace, can make communication worthwhile. There are a number of people I won’t mention who are not believers who talk about issues very competently and, because of God’s common grace, they not only know their stuff, they have remnants of a world and life view that are actually beneficial.
Therefore, I don’t demand that they are Christians in every area, but I do say choose your teachers. We will send our children into institutions of learning by teachers that you wouldn’t let your children spend 30 minutes with alone outside of that classroom because of their lifestyle and you’ve got to realize that their lifestyle comes from a world and life view and that world and life view affects how they present the data within a classroom or the data if they’re mentoring someone.
Be careful who you listen to — I can’t say it any better than Jesus — be careful what you listen to and how you listen to it. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, does not stand in the path of sinners and does not sit in the seat of the scorner.” Go on to that next verse, “His delight is in the law of the Lord and, in His law, he meditates day and night.”
Find teachers who not only know their stuff and are affected by God’s common grace, find teachers who extoll redeeming grace and, certainly, the best way to deal with the teachers that are in the world as we are seeking to learn throughout life, is to make sure you’re under solid Biblical preaching day in and day out.
DISCERNMENT IN CHURCH SELECTION IS ALSO IMPORTANT
Be somewhere in a church where there is expository preaching that is being applied to all of life. Don’t just pick a church where there’s an appealing and attractive personality on the podium and tells good “coach me up” stories, but that pastor is a pastor-teacher who is equipping you with expository preaching.
And then, from that, start choosing your teachers in life within your vocation. Who is teaching you, what are they saying and how are they saying it? That will affect not only what you are learning, but it will affect your heart and then, from your heart, you will begin to speak and make decisions in life.
Just as you are what you eat, you are what you listen to and you become like those whom you listen to. Therefore, in your how to listen, make good choices who you’re listening to and what you’re listening to, who you are reading and what you are reading.
BUILD A CORE LIBRARY OF KNOWLEDGE AND STICK TO IT
Build in your life, first of all, good preaching, then get some good books. There are four programs that I will watch and, because we are out doing things when those programs happen, I’m thankful for the technology. We actually tape them so not only can I be selective of the four programs I want to watch in light of their value and enjoyment as well as instruction, but I also get to fast forward through all of the commercials. And, by the way, they affect you also — believe me, those people are experts at controlling your wants and desires to make yesterday’s luxuries today’s necessities that you think you can’t live without.
STUDY THE WORD OF GOD TO GROW CLOSER TO HIM
Honestly, I’m grateful to be able to fast forward by the commercials but let me give a commercial here: Come to Jesus Christ and love His Word because, through the Word of God, you can know the God of the Word. Now, you can know the Word of God without knowing the God of the Word but you cannot know the God of the Word without the Word of God.
And, when you know from the Word of God the God of the Word, then you can leave a life by the grace of God to the glory of God and choose those teachers who exalt the Lord, your God, in your life from His Word in every arena of life.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.