On Sunday, I taught my Sunday School class about the importance of being intentional about what we allow into our minds.
I began by having the group analyze a number of comics. As I have explained on other occasions, comics are a great source of fun entertainment. But they also provide insight into culture. Each writer weaves a worldview into his particular comic. I asked them to discuss what theme was in each comic.
After talking about the comics, I discussed a recent episode of the TV show, “Once Upon A Time.” The prior episode, “Souls of the Departed,” the twelfth episode in season five, presented the idea that you can work your way to heaven. In the episode, the characters of Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Henry, Robin, and Gold take the S.S. Purgatory to the Underworld to rescue Hook. (I know, you have to suspend some disbelief to watch the show.)
While they are there, they meet several characters who are confined in the Underworld because they have “unfinished business.” Henry Mills, Regina’s father, helps Regina, and thus is able to cross over to a better place, while Cora, Regina’s mother, fails in her task, and receives greater punishment.
The episode communicated an underlying philosophy that you can live your life without any thought of the consequences because you will have a second chance after you die. If you do enough good work in purgatory, you can still work your way to heaven.
I used the comics and the TV show to illustrate what Paul was teaching in Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 10:3-6, that we are to control our minds.
Romans 12:1–2 – 1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
2 Corinthians 10:3–6 – 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
In Romans 12:2, Paul says that we are resist going with the flow and becoming just like the world. Instead, we are to be transformed by renewing our mind and testing what is the will of God. In 1 Corinthians 10:3-6, Paul says that we are engaged in spiritual warfare, and part of the battle is in the world of ideas. The world erects ideological strongholds such as selfishness and earning your salvation which need to be torn down. But it is not enough to merely tear them down, we also have to bring our thoughts captive to Jesus Christ in order to be obedient.
Whether reading the comics or watching TV, whether going to the movies or listening to talk radio, we need to keep our minds engaged and thoughtfully analyze what is being presented. Will it help us become more like Christ? Does it teach a philosophy contrary to God’s will? What does Scripture say in regards to what is being presented? What would God have me to think on this topic?
To become like Jesus, we are to exercise intentionality in what and how we think.