I concluded the sermon for the week on this passage by reading this from Proverbs: 

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
I also said: “Our hope is not based on a future event. Our hope is based on the historically verifiable event of Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Because Jesus ascended into the heavenly sanctuary and is there eternally interceding in our behalf. We don’t have to worry about our sins being covered because that has already taken place. They are eternally covered by the enteral blood of the redemption of Jesus.” 

Prov 4:20-23

At the risk of being repetitive, I have to ask, how much time are you giving Jesus? Especially in comparison to the time you’re giving to the influences we spoke of yesterday? 

At the beginning of this journey we asked you to do an “Input and influences” audit. My hope was that you would take a week and look at all the input sources and influences of your life, determine if they were positive or negative and compare the amount of positive sources with the negative. 

I’ve also shared with you a statistic that I discovered. For every minute that the above average Christian spends with Jesus, they’re spending 32 minutes with secular sources. 32:1. Perhaps an illustration will help. 

If you were to save 32 cents a minute, in one 24 hour period you would accumulate $460.80. If you save 1 cent per minute, in one 24 hour period you will have $14.40. Pretty big difference. Now let’s apply the same math to the amount of time people spend consuming media versus consuming Christian content. If you save 32 cents per minute for every hour of media you consume during ONE day, that would be $211.20. If you save 32 cents per minute for every minute of Jesus time the ABOVE AVERAGE Christian consumes per day, you would have $6.60. Over the course of one 7 day week, that’s $1,478.40 worth of secular media content versus $46.20 of Jesus content. 

Let’s go just one further. Annually, that’s $76,876.80 worth of secular content compared to $2402.40 of Jesus content. 

What’s my point with all the math. My point is simply this. One of those is a life, the other is a hobby. One of those is a lifestyle, the others is a side interest. One of those amounts is a living, the other is a vacation. You can live off of one, you would be homeless with the other.  

I get it, screens are addicting. They are mesmerizing. I’m looking at one right now! Screens make a lot of things possible. But, something that should be a hobby or side interest has become the central part of most of our lives. You may not be addicted to your smartphone, but you might be addicted to your TV. You might not be addicted to TV, but you’re probably addicted to computer. You might not be addicted, but you’re obsessed. 

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Prov 4:20-23

Am I saying we should stop using screens altogether. Sometimes I have such thoughts. But, no, that’s not my point. My point is, who’s words are we paying attention to? Who’s words do we never let out of our sight? Are they the words of life or the words of death? Are they the words for which God designed your heart? Or are they words of an imposter? 

You see it don’t you? Whatever has our attention has our heart. Early on in this series, we said that “Whatever consumes my attention and my affection is what I worship.” We said that in the Like Christ series too. 

We just watched the movie (yes, I know I’m a hypocrite. I talked about a movie yesterday and today while talking about not watching screens) “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” It’s a good movie. The key phrase from the book and movie was this: “That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.” ― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

Now, I don’t want to get into the whole “manifesting” argument, because I don’t really think that’s true or the point the author was making. He was talking about racing, and the truth that your cars go where your eyes are focused. If you’re obsessed with the wall and not crashing into the wall, eventually, you’ll be in the wall. “That which we manifest is before us.” Another way of saying that might be, we become like what we worship. We become like what has our attention. Whatever has our attention has our heart. The heart is where worship comes from. If the thing consuming 11 hours of our attention is a screen programmed with an infinite number of hours of secular content, we will become like that which is before us. It’s impossible not to. 

“Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.” We would love to shift the blame for the current state of our lives to anyone other than us, but the realities is, whether we did it on purpose or by accident, we did this to ourselves. We can argue that no one has been sounding the alarm to the severity of the problem (that is unless you read or listen to the Jesus Habit:). Ignorance might be bliss until is destroys your life.

The question is, are we Christ-followers or Culture-followers. Who has the lead in my life? Not who do I say I’m following, who with my $76,876.80 am I actually following? Is Jesus your hobby or your hero? Is Jesus constantly before you or is he the hobby you tinker with in the garage? Want to know how you can tell? Your life. Do you look more like Christ or more like the culture? 

Maybe it’s time to start making a bigger investment in following Jesus. Maybe we should start to take some withdrawals from the millions of dollars of our lives we have deposited into the culture and start to make some major investments in Christ in us. Maybe we should try to bankrupt the culture account to see if we can intentionally focus on Jesus so that we become like Him. 

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