Lenten Classics – Worldly Amusements


During each week of Lent this year, we will post an excerpt from a classic writing on Christian spirituality, followed by some questions for personal reflection.

The reading this week is taken from Words of Counsel to the Newly Converted, a book by Rev. George Everard (1828-1901) an evangelical minister in the Church of England. Everard noticed the effect that the thoughtless consumption of entertainment can have on a believer’s relationship with God. Though written over 150 years ago, his words have an important message for us in our day of easily accessible information and entertainment.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

Be separate from a world that lies in wickedness.

Of course in some measure you must mix in the world, while you live on earth — but let it be evident that you rise above it. Don't be the slave of worldly amusements! God loves that His people should be cheerful and happy — but there is little true enjoyment in the excitement of the theater, the race-course, the ball-room, the gambling-table, and the like. Choose something higher and better.

Consider how such things check the growth of true piety.
If you err, let it be on the safe side.
Do not ask, "How far may I go, and yet be guiltless?"
Rather ask,
  "How may I walk more closely with God?"
  "How may I enjoy most of the love of Christ?"
  "How shall I best glorify my Father in Heaven?"

Whenever you stand in doubt as to whether it is right or not to go to any place, bear in mind the old rule. Ask yourself, "Can I kneel down and with a good conscience ask the Lord to go with me?" If not, be sure that it is not safe for you.

Above all, bear witness for Christ in the world by a very holy and consistent life.
Manfully resist sin in every shape and form.
Watchfully guard against the least approach to youthful lusts.
In thought, word, and deed — be pure, be chaste.
Regard the least allusion to anything impure, as the poison of the old serpent which is death to the soul.

Keep a very tender conscience.

Don't make light of little sins, as many think them. Little acts . . .
  of dishonesty,
  of selfishness,
  of neglect,
  of indulged vanity,
  of pride and self-conceit,
  of the love of dress,
  of petty deceits and half-untruths —
who can tell how much harm is often done by these things, and to what far greater evils they often lead?

Do not judge of sin by the standard of those around you, but . . .
  in the light of God's Word,
  in the light of the cross, and
  in remembrance of the day of judgment.

Personal Reflection: 

  • What is your reaction to this piece by Everard?
  • What kind of impact does overexposure to information, entertainment, and social media have on your soul?
  • What personal guidelines have you found helpful in monitoring your consumption of entertainment?