No Worthless Thing

"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light" (Matthew 6:22).

The best decision we made after choosing to homeschool was removing the television from our home. Since both my husband and I had been raised with Saturday morning cartoons, public television, and after-school programs, we found it difficult to let go of the comfortable familiarity of television programming. However, God's conviction was sure as He made us aware of the time we were wasting watching unproductive entertainment. In addition, we both had seen the deterioration of programming and advertising content that included blatant disregard for life, the Lord, and sexual decency. Fortunately, we finally turned off the tube and obeyed the Holy Spirit's promptings before our children became caught in the same trap.

Many New Testament believers faced a similar problem in leaving past loves as they began to grow in Christ. In the apostle Paul's letters to the Ephesians, he repeatedly exhorted this early church to refrain from the practices and lusts in which they had participated before coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. His call to purity and holiness in daily living included removing those former things that were not only a distraction, but also a temptation that would return them to a sinful lifestyle. Paul didn't mince any words when he said, "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:21-24).

Although following the Lord's leading was difficult, our homeschooling family began to realize multiple blessings after removing our television. Communication and heartfelt times of sharing developed, intellectual knowledge was stimulated through reading inspiring literature, exercise and preparation time for healthy meals increased, creativity was enhanced, and family fun and laughter filled our home. With so many benefits waiting to be experienced, what is keeping your homeschooling family from pulling the plug on your TV? "I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes" (Psalm 101:2-3a).

Father, every day is a challenge to avoid the distractions and temptations that keep my heart and mind from following You. Please, show me how to discipline my life, so I might glorify You in all that I do. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Comments(32 comments)

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Sarah K 07/08/2010 03:03:05

Discarding the television seems to be a trend as Christians (and non-Christians alike) seek to live counter-culturally. My husband and I have been television-free since we were married eight years ago. There are other ways to incorporate multimedia, if homeschooling families want that exposure. We have a video projector, which hooks up to our laptop, that will enable our children to create power point displays, view educational videos about places we cannot afford to visit, and even hold worship in our own living room (by projecting the words to some of our worship songs on the screen). Thanks for sharing this advice! I pray that more families will discover the plethora of benefits you mentioned as a result of turning of and taking out the T.V.

JACQUELIN T 07/08/2010 05:46:02

this is the most difficult struggle in our family's life. i convinced my husband to cut back to basic cable. that removed alot of options, but still, the commercials. i thank you for your inspirational daily devotion today and will work on this. GOD bless.

Shona M 07/08/2010 08:36:51

Amen ! Thanks for these daily devotions.

JODI M 07/08/2010 12:58:17

Getting rid of TV is fine if that's what you feel compelled to do. We did not and my son got some fantastic learning opportunities as we watched Discovery Channel, Travel Channel among others. We like TV. We decided to get rid of it ONLY because it was too expensive to keep for our budget otherwise we'd still have it. Nobody's twisting your arms to watch it so it's not a sin to have TV in your house and still have a close family with quality time! We stream Netflix and for $8 a month is totally worth it and commercial free and we have rented some fantastic apologetic shows on how to defend our faith. You don't have to live a Victorian life to be a good homeschooler so don't make us feel as if you're any better by getting rid of TV in your house.

Donna K 07/09/2010 14:03:41

We canceled our cable too and have been very happy with the results. The content on t.v. today is at odds with Christianity on the whole which is not to say that every show is worthless as Jodi mentioned. We all just need to follow God's leading and it's not wrong to share with others where we believe that has taken us. I didn't feel that anyone was saying they were so good because of their t.v. stand. I know I don't feel like cutting the cable has given our family super Christian status either.

THANDI N 07/08/2011 03:06:59

Because of Phil 4:8, we don't watch most of what's on TV. After all, how much of it can we say is true, honest, pure, just, virtuous etc? So we watch real, EDIFYING shows-documentaries, nature...And no adverts in between.

NANCY M 07/08/2011 03:48:50

As an Army family, my kids use tv as a distraction during deployment. We find comfort in family shows and laughter in cartoons. I know when to turn it off and utilize my will power to do so when there is nothing edifying on. Television is a form of communication from which you can gain knowledge and just like anything else can be used inappropriately. I think removing tv from the house would not work for us but I'm glad it worked for you.

PAT T 07/08/2011 04:19:19

I struggle with whether to turn off the TV permanently or not. We are careful what we watch and what we allow our children to watch, but sometimes I think it would be better to remove this distraction from our lives. I appreciate the alternatives some of you have written about that I haven't thought about utilizing.

SUSAN S 07/08/2011 04:32:11

No one can "make you feel" any way by saying what worked for them. I don't think we need to judge others and second guess their motives. The writer expressed what worked for them and it was in a non offensive way. TV is lacking in good, wholesome shows and you can find alternatives ON TV or OFF. I enjoyed the devotion.

KIM H 07/08/2011 06:02:19

The same is true for computers, books, or anything that is against Biblical truths. It is about choice and discipline. I am glad their family has grown closer together because of getting rid of the tv and I would suggest if anything is placing a barrier between family ties and God's will to use discernment and make a choice that is beneficial to the family and pleasing to God.

ANI P 07/08/2011 06:09:32

The Lord moved us to turn off the cable for financial reasons. I am very glad we listened. It's funny this morning my 5 year old asked when we would get rid of the "RCA" or tv antenna and get back the cable company. Before I opened this devotion my heart was feeling heavy for my sons request. Thanks for reminding me that we are doing the right thing! I too strive for Philippians 4:8. It's impossible to focus on what is true, admirable, right, etc and watch TV commericals. We also have Netflix and enjoy the ability to chose quality programming and avoid the senseless propaganda!

HEATHER T 07/08/2011 07:12:32

Too many times, we as Christians convince ourselves that something is okay because we are being careful. But as with Lot, immersing ourselves in the culture weakens our defenses to even discern what is alright. Discovery promotes evolution on a huge scale and we tell ourselves that it is alright because we teach them otherwise. They are still listening to the world. How close are we pitching our tents to Sodom? Are we like Lot in thinking that we can withstand the culture? And will we fall as Lot did? Television is not God ordained, just another tool used by Satan to weaken and destroy.

EMILY W 07/08/2011 07:54:43

I'll never forget the time I told someone that we didn't have cable at our house. The young girl's response was, "What do your kids do all day?". To which I responded, very simply, "They play!". We have been without cable or network programming of any kind for about 4 years now. My family subscribes to Netflix, which allows us to be selective about what we (the parents) and our kids watch, and removes the constant bombardment of commercials. The first Christmas after we choose to remove those influences from our home was amazing. My children asked for more meaningful gifts and things they could do, rather than all the worthless toys they cad seen on TV.

CARIN M 07/08/2011 08:16:23

This conversation is close & dear to my heart. I have loved living without a T.V. for the past 20 years. We still get more than enough news from the radio and newspapers. My children still get some educational (us too) video time with DVDs on our computer screen. I grew up with very limited black & white basement TV without cable (we mostly ignored it). My DH grew up seeing all of his relatives (Brethern) without TV and the contrast of their homes with his own Christian up-bringing with TV. Needless to say our mutual desire to have marriage & family life without one is one of the many things that brought us together. We wouldn't have it any other way. We like it too much.

NANCY O 07/08/2011 08:18:21

I am almost 40 yrs old. husband is 42. we both were raised with no TV.. our lives are bless because of it.... lately we have had to be at a job that has several tvs on... wow.. the junk you see.! people killing people, sexual content. to name a few.... makes me SO thankful! on occasion we watch a movie at home with the kids.. but it has to line up with phillipians 4:8

ANAKARINA V 07/08/2011 09:58:08

Karina Two years ago my family and I did this change in our lives,we started to homeschool our kids, we cancel our cable company. I have notice a big change in us as a family and our spiritual life, now my kids conversations are not about the poppular shows on tv, but on our family and church and Bible Quiz they are now in. Is the best thing that ever happen to me and my family. I thank the Lord for his mercy

CLARISSA W 07/08/2011 14:24:03

WOW. I feel Jodi M.'s comment is completely out of line and her comment should be pulled. Today's blogger didn't say having tv was a sin. She said HER family felt conviction and acted accordingly but anyone could experience blessings in the home, even without t.v. This is a Christian website and. Jodi M., by posting unnecessary and inappropriate anger on the comments, maybe YOU proved that T.V. in the home isn't a good idea. If you didn't agree, why not be more polite about it, or better yet, say nothing at all. I am always appreciative when someone is able to pass along how God has blessed them in some way and taking time out of their busy homeschool schedule to blog and do not think judgement was the spirit the writer intended.

RACHEL W 07/08/2011 16:04:44

We have a large t.v. in our home. I grew up watching t.v. My whole family (extended as well) had a t.v. in almost every room. I'm married with four children and am homeschooling. When DH is incharge, the t.v. goes on and the kids are allowed to watch as much as they want. When I'm incharge it is off. I go back and forth on this issue. DH works for a t.v. studio and just finished a degree in video game programming. He backs me up when I say no t.v., but there is a lot of whining from the kids. For those of you that don't have a t.v. but allow some videos via projector or computer, do your kids beg you for videos or is it not an issue? Also, I'd love advice from any families that were t.v. watchers and had to convince a spouse to remove the t.v. Thanks so much for any wisdom. In my heart I know there are real benefits to a t.v.- less house, but at the same time I feel a little frightened at the prospect.

JENNIFER R 07/09/2011 06:26:15

My husband is dead set against this and while I am sure it would reap great benefits for our whole family and I would like to try it- I continue to pray that God will lead my husband where he wants our family to go.

PAULA K 07/10/2011 06:55:13

We have a TV in the house, but we have strict rules how it is used. We bought BOB - an electronic television lock - that we program to allow certain amounts of TV per day. Each child uses a code to watch their TV time. They get 30 min. per day. We also lock inappropriate channels and programs. Be careful trying to be "perfect" in your homeschooling. Mom and kids do need some downtime and quality programs can help. It also broadens their world if programs are chosen carefully. I do agree that it is worldly and inappropriate. Just be careful...

CAROLYN M 07/11/2011 12:30:41

Carolyn M I to have felt that TV has become a dangerous gateway to immoral and filthy lifestyles. I once asked my family to participate in one week of electronic fasting. At first the kids, to include my husband, were bored. They are so used to having something in there hands or in front of their eyes. As the week progressed it became fun. I am not much to care about TV or the computer. I have become more computer literate since homeschooling, but I could do with or without it. I would love to get rid of the TV, but my husband raised himself with the help of the TV and would not stand for it leaving our home. However, he has agreed that we will not own cable. I have noticed that commercials have no regard for who is watching them. I have often cringed when certain commercials or previews for movies have come on when my kids are watching. We typically cut off their viewing time at 6pm. It seems that TV has nothing for kids beyond that hour.

TAMMY U 07/15/2011 04:14:10

Our struggle with the power tv had in our family's life was long. Twelve years ago we would watch or listen to most anything, but God started convicting us. First, He gave us clear knowledge that any music that wasn't glorifying Him must go. We had grown up listening to the hardest rock & country. Thought it'd kill me...but I found a new freedom in all Christian music- not having to change a song that I didn't want my kids to hear. TV took longer. Stopped the cable. We survived. After a while we set up rules of what shows were ok. Still, even the "good" shows have awful commercials, or are just something to waste our time. We unplugged the antenna from the TV. Cancelled Netflix (we'd ran out of all clean movies on there, anyway). Thought our 7 year old would die. She survived. And now, she thrives, reading all sorts of good books, filling her head with knowledge, instead of fluff. We still have a TV, but only use it to watch Christian or educational DVDs. I haven't personally turned it on since we unhooked it. Too busy with more important things. I usually fight when God is pruning, but I never miss what He removes. I am loving to watch our daughter get excited about walking to the library now, instead of staring at a box.

ALYSSA W 07/08/2012 05:27:06

Rachel W.- I too have a large TV in my living room. My husband loves gaming. My children enjoy movies on a regular basis. For me.... We have never had cable because the price is outrageous and the programing is junk, but we did have netflix which I convinced my DH to eliminate this summer by saying the kids were watching too much and we needed a break for the summer. Also we unhooked our RCA and no longer have our tv even hooked up to any programming. Try making small changes once a month or every other month and pray for God to give you the scripture to back up your decisions. And remember, \"A soft answer turns away wrath.\" We are not TV- less yet but we have only decent material in our home, besides a couple my DH has not been able to part with. I still pray for him to feel convicted to get rid of them. Good luck and keep praying, God will lead you to the perfect time and soften your DH\'s heart to hear you :)

KATHY S 07/08/2012 07:01:22

Well, I like the Author story, and I\'m glad that for her and many others the \"no T.V. thing works. I watch T.V. frequently.And if you can\'t get around really well, it is a nice way for me to relax. My son doesn\'t watch T.V. so much anymore. He has Aspergers and plays on the computor and video games alot. Now, for Him, this is good, and 2 Dr\'s have o.k.\'d. (BTW, both of the phychiatrists were Christian women, what were the odds that God wopuld place 2 Chrisdtian Doctors in ouir Path. Praise the Lord!) He can communicate with other children his age over ear/microphones while playing games. I am always within ears reach, and it makes me feel so good that he\'s actually TALKING to other children ! I don\'t care that it\'s via internet, it\'s interaction, which, he desperately needs. He has a few friends that come over, but none of them are homeschooled. However, he has met a child on the internet that\'s homeschooled too. So, while I respect everyones elses opinions and choices reguarding T.V. electronics, please, I ask that others do not be judgemental on our decisions here. Remember, God has a \"Customized\" plan for each of our lives.

HANNAH A 07/08/2012 07:40:50

When I first started reading this article I thought.. UH-OH! THIS IS GOING TO STEP ON SOME TOES! and by reading these comments I can tell it definitely has. I have three small children (only the oldest is old enough to be homeschooled right now) and we have definitely benefitted from not having cable or satellite. For Christmas last year, my seven year old asked simply for a stuffed animal instead of all the high-tech expensive toys they advertise on Tv. We do have netflix but I am super picky about what they can watch and they\'re Tv time is very limited. We do have occassional Tv \"fasts\" where we turn it off completely for a set amount of time.. usually a whole day. The kids enjoy these days of peace and quiet! My oldest daughter enjoys reading books to her younger siblings, they go outside to play, they will build a tent out of blankets and take their toys inside to play.. there is a whole world of creative possibilities outside of Tv. Thank you for the article! I thought it was respectfully written and encouraging.

BARBARA B 07/08/2012 08:33:02

We turned our t.v. off 7 years ago. We have dvd\'s and use them. It is very hard when one of us gets sick to just lay there for hours and not watch anything. We carefully choose our dvd\'s so the children may be able to watch them. We also do not watch hours of t.v. When we go to restaurants or someone else\'s house their eyes are glue to the t.v. like robots. I see the change in my kids when they discover that the t.v. is on. It is quite scary when I hear them say something they learned from grandma\'s house because she turned on some \"kids\" show. We are all convicted in different ways. We should not decide for ourselves but pray what would God have us do and be willing to follow Him. The convictions of the world are very powerful. As with anything, if it has become something we cannot let go, maybe we should evaluate it and see if it has become an idol to us.

LISA B 07/08/2012 08:49:20

Thank you for being courageous enough to address this issue. I\'ve frequently been saddened by sisters in Christ who have recommended shows to me (which I have sometimes looked up on Netflix or online as a result...hoping to find something wholesome and entertaining), only to discover sexual content, homosexual relationships, inappropriate dress, language, etc. So many Christians have become desensitized to the filth they are watching and don\'t even think twice about it. My husband and I got rid of our TV programming before we had children. We had been sucked into the familiar routine of coming home from work, turning it on, and watching it (including the filth) until bedtime. God had been working on us for a while, but the last straw was when a woman had a heart attack at my work and died in my arms. Once I had experienced the actual heartache of death, I could no longer turn a blind eye to the \"entertainment\" of death I saw on TV. Death and heartache should not be entertaining! God spoke to us through this and many other situations, including my husband\'s desire to keep his eyes and heart pure...and we\'ve been television-programming-free for almost eight years. We play games, talk, and have fun together way more than when we were TV watchers. We do watch movies together as a couple on occasion, but have set strict guidelines for ourselves there as well. We\'ve decided that if we wouldn\'t invite Jesus over personally to watch something with us, then we shouldn\'t be watching it. In reality, He\'s there watching everything with us anyway. All five (soon to be six) of our children have incredible imaginations. They play, read, craft, and never whine about watching TV because it has never been a part of their lives. Family movie night is a treat for them. When they do see TV shows (at Grandpa\'s house, where it\'s always on), they have seen the temptations and sins we\'ve talked to them about and have pointed them out to us themselves. We pray they will never become desensitized as we once were. If you\'re on the fence, I would encourage you to try turning off the TV. It was incredibly hard at first, but as with all obedience, it has reaped such joy and spiritual growth into our family. We still use wholesome movies/Netflix as an educational tool and as an occasional family treat, but getting rid of the constant bombardment of violence, impure images, greed and worldliness, along with the temptation to be lazy, has been the best thing we ever could have done for our family. Blessings to all of you as we walk this journey of life.

DEANA W 07/08/2012 15:20:17

I am so thankful to see this well written post. We made the same decision about tv about four months ago and our family has been richly blessed by it. I am always surprised by how we as Christians sometimes respond to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Rather than immediately feeling defensive about something we aren\'t feeling personally convicted of, take some time to pray about what you read and see if it\'s something that God wants for your family too. Maybe so and maybe not... I appreciate this post because I want the blessings that we have seen in our family for others. It\'s not stemming from a holier than thou attitude. We should always examine our own heart in responding to others\' blessings. Thank you for sharing how shutting off the tv has been a blessing to your family.

HEATHER A 07/08/2012 19:06:50

Cancelling cable and turning off the tube was the best thing we ever did 6 years ago! We get all videos from the library that we choose!

NANCY H 07/08/2012 19:41:49

We don\'t watch much tv at all. We do have one tv in our living room but there are many days it doesn\'t get turned on. We do have a tv that is not hooked up to cable. We use it for DVD\'s and Wii. There are some programs we watch but when we are done, the tv is turned off. We have in the past \"turned off\" the tv for a set amount of time - like a day or a week or a month - to help us focus our attention on other areas. Maybe others could try this idea first before deciding to get rid of the tv all together.

ROBERT GERBIG 07/08/2013 13:54:59

Live Beautiful! Many years ago, one of the saints had prophecized “Every American would have a black box in their home through which the devil would enter.” What we see each day becomes 'normal' for us. To see the dignity of women degraded as they are portrayed as mere sexual objects, men portrayed as donkeys (literally), and children disrespecting their parents in action as well as language, constant graphic trauma and violence, all these ugly things are what TV feeds us. We got rid of our TV years ago, and replaced it with beautiful music, family games, stories and laughter. The blessings have far outweighed any sacrifice.

Jennifer Maxwell 07/08/2013 13:54:07

We relocated about eight years ago and in the move we decided to sell our gigantic projection screen tv, for no other reason than we were told they don't travel well. When we arrived at our new home, my husband and I went round and round on buying a new tv. He wanted another one just as enormous as the first, but I didn't want to spend the money. We negotiated for weeks, until it occurred to us that we had gone nearly two months without a television and it wasn't so bad. We were finding time we never knew we had. My days were spent engaged in art projects and fun kids classes with my then two-year old. Nights were spent talking, playing games, and reading together with my husband. And our weekends involved discovering everything there was to do in our new community. The day my daughter and I handed in her summer reading list that had over three hundred titles, the librarian looked at us skeptically until I sheepishly explained, "No tv or computer." She grinned ear to ear and said, "Well, that explains it!" I loved our media-free home, and we enjoyed it for about two years until a well meaning uncle gave my daughter a princess tv and DVD player. I think that was like our gateway drug! Popping a video in for my daughter made getting chores done so much easier, and soon Blockbuster movies replaced games of Skipbo with my husband. That tv eventually led to a laptop (because how can you do kindergarten without a computer!), then that big screen tv (we HAVE to replace the princess tv since it got hit by lightning so why not do it right!), and a wii (using the wii fit will be cheaper than a gym membership and I won't even have to leave the house!), then Netflix (you can stream videos right through the wii!). Now there are handheld video games, multiple laptops, and tablets. My youngest three children have never spent a day of their lives without loosing some part of their day to the television or computer. I realize it's my job as a mom to limit these things, but I'm here to tell you, not having them in the house at all makes that part of mothering so much easier. Technology can be a wonderful tool, but I don't know a single person for whom it hasn't become an easy option or a time suck at some point. So for everyone who says they have the technobeast under control, I would like you to do a real assessment. Count how many devices you have and calculate how much time each one gets used in a day for entertainment purposes. Add it up and multiply it by 365, and you will see just how much time you have actually lost in a year. It's pretty shocking, even for the most conservative among us! BTW I'm sending this from my ipad :0(

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