I’ve watched four seasons of HBO’s hit medieval drama, Game of Thrones. When I first moved back to Houston, almost all the people in my circle of acquaintances around my age (wow that’s a lot of prepositions) watched this series. Naturally, in order to fit in, I started watching it as well (and even binged) even though I knew about the graphic nudity and explicit slaughter. What I thought to myself was, “Well… these people are also christians in the church, and they don’t seem to be tempted or affected by the content. Maybe that’s just a sign that they’re more mature or that they have grown in their faith to a point where they can resist these forms of temptation. Praise God for that.”
Lately, as God has begun convicting me, I don’t feel like that sort of logic holds true anymore. Earlier in December, a friend introduced me to a new ABC hit TV series called How to Get Away With Murder. This show’s storyline is just as compelling as GoT, but not nearly as explicit; they show many sex scenes though. When I was watching it, I kept rationalizing that it’s okay because I’m watching it for the compelling storyline, and I’m able to ignore the sex scenes which also include portrayal of homosexual relations between two men. I think sometime between the end of HTGAWM and the start of this GoT season, God has begun teaching me a new lesson in obedience. I’ve been learning that we don’t submit to his commandments only because He is creator and His way is best. I’ve never struggled with understanding that, and I’ve always logically understood that His way is best. The new lesson I’ve been learning is in our obedience, He is glorified. Many times, I don’t live with the intention of glorifying God through my actions and the intentions of my heart. I live for my own sake and for my own desires because it seems more fulfilling. However, this following scripture probably captures and resonates strongest with my recent conviction:
I 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. 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.
Romans 12:1-12 is the verse where those words come from. As I reflect on these words from the Bible, which are God-breathed scripture that He has intentionally left for us, which is also known as the word of God, which is also known as Jesus Christ, I can see no other way to glorify God than to obey his commands. In this single command, Paul says to us that its best to live as a living sacrifice – meaning as we live, we sacrifice ACTIVELY. I think God has convicted me of actively living in a way where I sacrifice things of my fleshly desire when they contend with the will of God. If I have a gift of discernment of what God’s will is through the Holy Spirit, then I will know what is good and acceptable and perfect (v 2).
So for that reason alone (I know there are plenty of others) I am discontinuing my viewership of Game of Thrones. Honestly, I don’t think I was able to watch four seasons of Game of Thrones unscathed. Unfortunately, I believe Satan has a foothold in my life now because I am exposed to many things of an ungodly nature. My hope is through my rejection of this show and others like it (most likely HTGAWM), I can continue to pursue righteousness through my obedience toward God. I think the most significant thing I want to leave you, as my faithful reader, is I’m not setting boundaries saying “as a christian, I can’t do or watch or enjoy these things.” Instead, I’m saying that I’m choosing to obey God rather than obey my flesh. For Romans 6:18 says,
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
Some other thoughts I had about GoT
- I was just thinking, “What type of show would I want to watch with my wife/gf/family/children?” and GoT is just not on that list. Just like I would not watch pornography with any of these people, I wouldn’t want to watch this.
- God calls us to sacrifice many things in order to follow Him. Jesus asked many people to sacrifice and give up things that were dear to them. Examples include the Rich man in Mark 10. In Luke 9, one of my favorite passages labeled “The Cost of Following Jesus”, He gives some seemingly ridiculous and egregious commands to commoners that if they want to follow Him, they can’t tell their family they’re leaving or bury their deceased father first. I feel like God has given the clear command to reject this show even though it’s something small. Watching GoT seems like something small to give up, but we’re still supposed to live as living sacrifices.
- I think it’d be really easy to watch the show not tell people I watched it. I think it’d also be really easy to continue rationalizing that I’m strong enough to resist temptation. I guess, at the end, my own honor and integrity is on the line. To be frank, I’ve struggled with reconciling this all this past year. Finally, my integrity spoke up and I’m standing up against it.
- I’m not condemning or looking down on anyone who wants to watch the show. If you’re a non-christian, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t watch it. It’s an incredibly compelling storyline with awesome fight scenes and attractive actors/actresses. Cliffhangers are pretty neat too. However, for my christian brothers and sisters who do watch GoT and other shows like it, I have two responses: I commend you for your strength that is found first in Christ to resist temptation OR I plead with you to search your heart about how you can live righteously in a an easily unrighteous generation. Ask yourself why you want to expose yourself to a show that can easily be a slippery slope toward a lifestyle not Christ-centered.
- There were a few resources that helped me understand why I should or shouldn’t watch the show. John Piper provides this blogpost that helped me a lot: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/12-questions-to-ask-before-you-watch-game-of-thrones
I praise God for teaching and admonishing me in His Spirit. I praise Him for the words that He spoke to me through many sources including one from Greg where Greg referenced the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23). One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control (or discipline). In this moment, I’ve decided to exercise self-control to turn away from GoT. I love the show, I love the multiple storylines, and I love the huge budget they put into developing every scene. But, in the end, I cannot in good conscience continue to watch GoT, HTGAWM, and other shows like it. I repent for falling victim to Satan’s lies, peer pressure, the idol of seeking approval from others before seeking joy that comes from obeying the Lord.