An insidious battle is being waged for the control of your mind. Powerful forces are being marshaled in a plot to destroy you. Unless you are on your guard, chances are you are already capitulating. But it's a conflict you can't afford to lose!
It HAS been called one of the most shocking, stunning, mind-bending films of our time. A youth wrote telling me to be sure not to miss this spectacle. He said it would open my eyes to the reality of the world in which we live. It was the most powerful, dramatic, emotion-twisting cinematic production he had witnessed. It was a box-office winner. Millions, worldwide, flocked to see it. I didn't see A Clockwork Orange. But did you? A British judge branded the film as a dastardly, wretched production. Twice in three weeks the judge had dealt with cases concerning violence which were inspired by this film. One case concerned a 16-year-old British youth who, clad in white overalls and shirt, boots and bowler hat — just like a character depicted in the film — had taunted a younger boy, kicked him, knocked him from a bench and then plunged leadlike boots into his helpless victim's ribs until he coughed blood! The victim spent three days in the hospital with badly bruised ribs and a black eye. And he is only one of several around the globe who have suffered violence inspired by this film. Was the film wholly responsible? No, because millions of other viewers were not incited to such thuggery. It was only a minority, and there were probably other factors too. But make no mistake about it: this movie reached deep down into every last human being who saw it, and it had powerful, lasting effect. If you saw that film — or if you saw — The Last Tango in Paris, The Exorcist, or a host of other violence-drenched or sex-saturated films — you helped fulfill a dramatic, chilling prophecy of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Listen to these poignant words of the carpenter of Galilee as He looked down into our very day: "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). Never in history has the potential for the fulfillment of that sickening, tragic prophecy been so great as it is today. The Apostle Paul echoed this prophecy when he said: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves... without natural affection ..." (II Tim. 3:1-3). How often, in previous generations — and even in this very day — would a person witness the actual committing of a murder? In the lifetime of the average man, how many times would he see, before his very eyes, the terror and brutality of rape? Chances are most people would never see these things — and if they did, only extremely rarely in their totality, with all the grisly, gruesome, ghastly details. But unlike any other generation, people in our day witness hundreds of vicious muggings, bloodcurdling knifings, and even the burning, rabid, hysterical frenzy of rape — all "thanks" to movies and television. In the average American lifetime, a citizen will watch ten solid years of television programs. A prekindergarten child spends 64% of his waking hours before the television. By the time he attends kindergarten, he will have passed more time viewing television than he will spend in classes in his entire four years at a university. At age fourteen, the typical television-watching American child has witnessed the "deaths" of some 18,000 human beings! Does it make any difference that people today are soaking up vicarious violence and perversion on an unprecedented scale? Your Bible says it does!
A Battle for Your Mind
There exists a powerful being whose whole purpose is to obliterate your chances of ever sharing in the fathomless future that God holds out to human beings. Satan is pictured as a roaring lion who stalks the earth "seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8). This is his society — his world (II Cor. 4:4). It has been brilliantly masterminded as part of a professional, sophisticated plan to destroy mankind. At the very inception of God's plan, Satan began to appeal to the human mind. He proposed a glamorous, tantalizing, exciting alternative to God's way. He captured Eve's imagination! The "forbidden fruit" looked so attractive, so appetizing. It appealed to her vanity — as something that would make her wise (Gen. 3:6). It was attractive to the sight — it promised fulfillment of the senses. Yes, the forbidden fruit seemed so good to her natural mind. And today Satan's world is arrayed with glittering, provocative, arousing, sparkling, spicy substitutes for the wholesome, pure, rewarding ways of God. This society is geared to literally inundate us with Satan's influence. Satan ensures that our minds are continually saturated with filth and violence through the media — over which he broadcasts his mind-bending message to the world. He has seen to it that iniquity abounds III this last generation!
Bombarded by a Wretched Environment
Just how powerful is the effect of this continual broadcasting to the human mind? How former President Nasser of Egypt dealt with social taboos in his nation gives us an indication of Satan's ability to sway minds. When Nasser came to power the upper classes were revered by the common people. Respect and fear for the hierarchy was so ingrained in the lower strata of Egyptian society that even exposing the perverted sexual habits of the upper classes before the public did little to change things. So Nasser used subtle means to smash the image of the ruling classes. He created films and television plays which depicted lower-class people rising up for their rights and striking down landlords. "Scenes of this sort in local theaters," writes Miles Copeland in his book The Game of Nations (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969, p. 125), "at first brought shocked disapproval, but the crowds soon got used to them. Now, the staged sight of a workman rising against his boss or a mob... throwing stones at a former landlord brings loud cheers from the audience...." So powerful is the mass media that an entire nation's attitude was altered by subtle bombardment. And their change in attitude perfectly parallels the reversal in moral standards which has taken place in Western society in less than one generation — a change also effected by films, television and literature. Satan has transformed the thinking of most of society toward sex and violence. And he knows that by continual, subtle bombardment from this society he can alter your attitude — producing in you a near-total callousness toward other human beings! Satan has infiltrated every facet of our entertainment, customs, music, literature and style of dress. We are living in a veritable cesspool. And too many of us are actually wallowing in it!
The Serpent Is Still Subtle
Violence and sex — these are the big drawing cards of our day. We revel in prizefights. One man beats out the brains of another, and we love it. We sit entranced before the television set shouting: "Give it to him! Take him apart!" We want violence in our football. Gary Pettigrew of the Philadelphia Eagles says of football: "Love of violence, the dedication to violence, that's what the game is about." Pick up virtually any magazine or newspaper and what do you find? A blatant display of female anatomy. Advertising men know the attraction; they know the pull. And so does Satan. The books at the local store openly display female (and now male) bodies in all kinds of erotic poses. Inside the covers, fornication adultery, or other perversions are all intriguingly interwoven in the story to subtly infiltrate an adventure, a western, a travelogue or some other harmless-appearing episode. Even national newspapers, supposedly reporting "news," use every opportunity to peddle the graphic details of under-the-counter events. They put forth an unbelievable deluge of semipornography, which we swallow with relish because it's "news." We wallow in the grisly details of the latest murder as they are spelled out for us in the blaring headlines of our morning newspapers. And if there's sex woven into it, it's even more intriguing. You don't have to seek pornography today: It's blasted at you in a thousand different ways. The vendors of sex scream their wares at the public on television, at the cinema, and in newspapers, magazines and books. This continual "sexploitation" has made what seemed daring a few short years ago seem commonplace today.
Why love Waxes Cold
What is all of this doing to the human mind? In our technological era, it's not difficult to expose your mind to every major problem and every form of filth in the world. You can watch children starving in Biafra, fistfights and even murders over gasoline, or bombings in Northern Ireland. You can intimately come to know the terrible results of smoking as you see human beings dying of cancer or heart disease. You can see mind-shocking documentaries on automobile accidents, warfare, or famine. Sex crimes, murders, muggings — all are perpetrated in living color right on television in your own home. You can have all of the problems of the world at your fingertips — without moving from your armchair. But all of this has an awesome effect upon the mind. Writes Allen Johnson, Jr., in The National Observer: "I turn on my television set and see a picture of starving children in Biafra. I see their skinny arms, emaciated features, and pathetic little pot bellies. My heart goes out to this image. Emotionally, the children of Biafra become my children. A kind of world tribalism takes place. A glorious experience on the surface, but let's examine this more closely. "When my sympathies are extended to the image on my screen, I can't follow up on what my emotions demand. I can't run over and comfort my television set and give it a bottle of milk. I can send money to some organization that may or may not get food to Biafra, but if I send the money, somehow, tomorrow night there are the same starving images back on the screen. "So at first I am sensitized by the image of the Biafran children, and I see the same image night after night. I have the choice of becoming calloused, or frustrated. A dehumanizing process takes place." Through the mass media, Satan has been able to destroy the natural human emotions of compassion and concern. We watch thousands of people die on our television screens — until we become so calloused that real-life incidents of violence become meaningless. Initial shock is soon replaced by apathy. We can become so saturated with sex through films of half-naked bodies pictured in magazines and newspapers that it becomes virtually impossible for us to experience a true romantic relationship in marriage. A detective investigating a pornography case in London a short while ago had to request that Scotland Yard take him off the case. In his testimony in court, the detective said that having to sit through thirty films connected with the case made him lose interest in sexual relationships with his wife. "I was surprised how my sex interest declined," he said. Yet millions allow vicarious sexual experiences to bombard their minds, never comprehending that this is a direct cause of lack of fulfillment in marriage and a root cause of divorce.
A Chilling Warning
Looking down into our day, Jesus Christ admonished: "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:32). Two total strangers — angels — came into a part of the society in which Lot lived. The perverts saw a chance for a new sex thrill. "Bring them out so that we can sexually assault them!" they cried (see Gen. 19:1-5). In desperation Lot offered the mob an alternative: he was willing to give his virgin daughters to them. But so degenerate were these men, that they got no kick out of women (verses 8-9). The Bible records that Lot was a righteous man (II Pet. 2:7-8). He was seeking to follow God's way. Yet, without being aware of it, he and his family had become deeply affected by the surrounding society. Lot's wife had seen her husband take their own daughters and offer them to a pack of degenerates. She had seen the aggressive viciousness of that perverted society. Wouldn't you think that she would want to get out of it? But, no! Her mind had become so conditioned to that way of life that she looked back on it with longing. When Lot tried to warn his children, they reacted like many of ours would today. They had been exposed to the filth and violence of society too long to really grasp how bad it was. "God destroy this world? Come on, dad, you're kidding," they probably told their father (see Gen. 19:14). Somehow their world just didn't seem all that bad. Take a look at what has occurred in our society in the past generation. If you could go back in time fifteen, twenty, even thirty or forty years, would you see any difference in society? If you had lived back then, and suddenly leaped forward into this modern age, you would be dumbfounded! You would know that this is a depraved society. But it just doesn't seem all that bad, living in it day by day, does it? That's the way it seemed to Lot's wife. And Christ warns us today to remember what became of her.
Control Your Environment
The influences are subtle. You are watching television. You can almost sense a questionable scene coming up. What do you do? Probably you leave it on. You leave your mind, and the minds of those in your family, open to just a little more of the filth of Satan's world. Or maybe you justify watching it, under the guise of seeing what is going on in the world. This is the opening wedge of Satan's trap. Do you allow yourself the luxury of viewing fornication-filled films without staging a walkout of protest? Do you stay there and see the film through when the bare bodies begin to appear? I've had people tell me that a film was pretty good, so long as you don't worry too much about a couple of sex scenes and a little bit of off-color language! People have even recommended "beautiful" films — based on sex triangles. There may be much beautiful scenery in the film — and a gripping story. Satan may well have engineered it that way. Perhaps 99% of a film is clean, wholesome and just interesting enough to communicate a single defiling experience. Be honest with yourself. You know that inadvertent exposure to an unseemly episode often takes days to dislodge from your mind. Remember the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "Who among us shall dwell with [be unharmed by] the devouring fire?... He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly ... that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil" (Isa. 33:14-15). Another wedge we should be wary of is filthy jokes. If you joke in an obscene manner about what God considers to be very holy — the intimate marriage relationship — it will soon become cheap and vulgar in your eyes. And if you listen to a comedian purveying this type of filth, you are deepening the exposure of your mind to Satan's wavelength. The Apostle Paul strongly cautioned Christians about foolish talking and jesting in Ephesians 5:4. And what about your children? Do you expose their minds to violence and weird thinking through the wrong kind of comic books, magazines or television programs? Do you allow Satan to use a broad funnel in pouring his concepts into their young minds?
Take Positive Action
How can you wage effective warfare in this battle for your mind? Here's the answer: "... Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:10, 11). If you don't arm yourself with the power of God, Satan will win the battle. If you don't control your mind by actively thinking on those things which are pure, lovely, of good report, honest, just and virtuous (Phil. 4:8), Satan will influence it. You need to become empowered by God's Spirit so that you can actively put your mind on positive subjects which will fill the vacuum Satan is competing mightily to fill. In the concluding article, we'll show you how to arm your mind with God's power. In the meantime, read our free booklet What Do You Mean - The Unpardonable Sin? It will show you the urgency of winning this battle. Begin now to fight the battle that is raging for the control of your mind — and to WIN!