How do you decide on which movie to watch?

movie I like movies. I'm an off-the-charts visual person that loves a good story. Movies are one of my favorite ways to relax. But with the variety of movies out today and the line becoming more grey on what is morally acceptable, how do we decide on which ones to watch and which to avoid?

I read a powerful post in Relevant magazine this past week that thoughtfully explained our culture as it relates to media intake. Check it out here: "Movies and Morality." 

Every generation responds to morality. Jesus tells us, "You must be holy because I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16. How do we struggle through being holy and watching movies?

I've noticed two extremes of movie goers: - "I am more concerned with the content and what I allow into my mind" - "I am more concerned with the art, director, story-telling and I don't really care about the content."

No matter your opinion on the movie style, writing and delivery - content trumps art. 

It matters what you and I watch. Nobody is a "super-Christian." Every one of us has a sinful nature. Whether you believe it or not, what you watch affects your mind, heart, and soul. What you and I put into our minds will negatively or positively affect our relationship with God and others. This is why it is important to evaluate the content in any movie you watch.

"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." Philippians 4:8

Our mind is a sponge. The mind is the open door to our soul. What we place into our minds will seep into our thoughts and spiritual life. The moment that we quit caring about the content of a movie, is when our mind becomes seared. Our culture thrives on celebrating evil and making fun of innocence. Paul writes about the importance of focusing our minds on purity.

"But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong." Romans 16:19. 

Decide ahead of time what you will watch. Me and my wife, Cassidy, decided when we were dating in college that we would check the ratings and content before going to see a movie. It matters to us what we put in front of our eyes. Read Ephesians 5:3-20 as it relates to our choices.

"I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar." Psalm 101:3a

Evaluate the message of the movie. Look for themes in the story that correlate with the gospel. It is amazing to watch a movie and see the storyline unfold. The art, effects and lighting are becoming more stunning with all of the new technology. Ask questions to learn from the story and have fun talking about what it means following the movie.

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth... Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:2, 5

Use movie apps to help you decide on what to watch. Plugged In Kids-in-mind  (both of these are downloaded on my iPhone)

Movie choices are not easy. I hope that you embrace the challenge of looking beyond the outward exterior of movies and into the heart of what it is teaching you.

How do you evaluate movies? How does your faith intersect with your media choices? How important is it to be wise about what we put into our minds?