I have long struggled with maintaining a balance between the time I spend in personal study, education and edification versus that watching sports or sports-related programming (Pardon the Interruption, etc). I realize everyone needs some outlet to get a break from the stresses of life, but keeping a proper balance was difficult.
In recent years, I quit watching programming that openly denigrates and offends my faith. This includes watching and reading national news media and some television series. I mean, why would I spend my time trying to relax by watching or reading things that only made me angry or more stressed when that is what I was trying to avoid?
In the last few weeks, ESPN has been praising and exalting as “heroes” two athletes (one NBA and the other NFL) who have “come out” as homosexuals. Audie Murphy step aside, we have a man here who is sexually attracted to other men! (For those attending public schools, here’s a link for you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audie_Murphy.) Also, the outcry over an Arizona bill protecting businesses from being forced to violate their religious convictions was shouted down by every media outlet, and ESPN in particular. In fact, the NFL threatened to pull next year’s Sup*er B*wl out of Arizona if the governor didn’t veto the bill (she did).
Every program I watched, whether sports talk or sports news, condemned the bill and agreed that the NFL should pull out of Arizona if the bill was signed into law. In recent weeks, I haven’t been able to watch anything sports related that didn’t uphold as admirable that which God calls an abomination. So, on Thursday (Feb 27, 2014) I decided to give up watching the NFL, the NBA, as well as sports talk TV. In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t watched much NFL or NBA in several years, but watched a lot of sports talk TV. I reckon when our court system determines that a free, six-figure education isn’t enough for college athletes and permits them to unionize, I can relieve myself of them as well. (Oh well, there always hockey!)
As I contemplated my decision I thought, “I am going to get a lot more Bible study and reading done because of this perversion. If the devil didn’t have such a hold on the sports world, I likely wouldn’t be freeing up so much time. Perhaps I ought to be thankful for his influence on sports.” (Obviously, I wouldn’t actually thank him.) But then I realized that anything that takes too much of my time away from my spiritual growth and development is the devil having a hold on ME! I also can’t help but think that my increased daily Bible reading has had considerable influence on this decision. (I am about to finish reading the New Testament for the 3rd time since December 18.)
I look forward to reading more books that will help me in my preaching and teaching, encourage me to greater heights of faithfulness, and help me practice Philippians 4:8… “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (NKJV).