Growing up, I was addicted to TV. When it came to media, I had no self-discipline. As a teen girl, I had faint thoughts about spending time with Jesus instead of watching TV every night, but I loved my shows. In comparison, reading the Bible seemed dull and boring.
When my husband asked me to marry him, I said, “Yes, but only if you promise that we will never own a TV.” People felt sorry for our poor TV-free house and kept offering to give us one.
When Jerry was a church departmental director, our son and I traveled with him as much as possible. We stayed in a lot of hotels, and of course, there was the TV—staring me in the face. After little Tyson fell asleep, on came the TV. The next morning I’d feel so disgusted with myself.
Then I heard someone say, “Why would you entertain yourself by watching the sins that nailed Jesus to the cross?” How could I keep doing this? But my real life could be so boring!
One day I knelt by my bed and prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to keep giving in to this deep craving for TV and movies. Please take away my overwhelming desire. I’m so miserable.” A faint thought from God drifted through my mind: I want you to decide, from this day on, that you won’t watch it anymore.
I got up from my knees, determined never to turn on the TV again, and the craving totally left me. I felt peace, and I haven’t had the desire since.
Visiting friends and family was tough though. I shared my struggle with a friend, and we began praying together. One winter we were going to visit family, and I knew I’d be tempted. Our visit coincided with abnormally cold weather, which resulted in a very weak electrical current. There wasn’t enough power to run television for a whole week!
Once, as I ate dinner with church members¸ the husband and wife shared their struggle with wasting endless hours watching TV. They wanted to get more involved in church outreach but had no time because they watched so much TV.
We prayed together, asking God to help them change. For a while they did. Then, little by little, they slipped back into wasting every evening in front of the television. So we started praying intensely for them.
One night, after watching whatever was on until 11:00 p.m., the husband said, “I wish the TV would just blow up.”
The next morning when he and the children left for work and school, the TV was still on. The wife heard a loud noise and ran into the living room. Smoke Janet Page serves as associate ministerial secretary for pastoral spouses, families, and prayer. poured out of the TV, and it wouldn’t turn on.
She called her husband at work and said, “Remember last night when you wished the TV would blow up? Well, it just did!”
Television, movies, video games, and uncontrolled time on the Internet will take a toll on families both spiritually and intellectually. If this is a problem in your home, I encourage you to pray much for God to change it. It is much harder to develop a love for the Bible and prayer when we constantly fill our minds with worldly standards and entertainment.
In Philippians 4:8 Paul tells us how to live filled with Jesus’ presence: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV).
I’m praying for you as you discover more and more the joy and peace that comes from living each day for Jesus