Unless you’re just now crawling out from under a rock that apparently had no TV or WiFi access, you’ve no doubt heard or read about at least one of the many reactions to a certain former kids’ TV star’s–ahem–performance at this week’s MTV Video Music Awards. By and large, the reactions have been that of shock and awe, by parents and the media, Christians and non-Christians alike. Never mind that this little darling has been steadily pushing the envelope the past few years in an effort to shed her innocent Disney star status. And never mind that this racy performance took place on MTV, a network not exactly known for wholesome family entertainment.

While I’m not downplaying the fact that this was a pretty raunchy and disgusting spectacle played for millions around the world [for the record–I have not seen video of the performance, but have read enough description and viewer reactions to get a pretty good idea of how disgusting it was], I have to say that I’m not particularly shocked or awed by it. It’s just the latest shock-factor performance cranked out by another so-called “artist” who is looking for attention–and hey, it worked, because pretty much everyone has been talking about it the last couple of days.

What is somewhat surprising is the fact that people (and especially Christians) are surprised that people of  the world are–gasp!–acting like people of the world. If a proclaimed Christian musician had gotten up on stage, stripped down to their undies and groped their duet partner, that would be shocking. This, not so much.

Perhaps, as Christians, we should quit expending so much energy on expecting the world to live up to our standards and becoming shocked and disappointed when they don’t. Unbelievers don’t have the Holy Spirit living in them and aren’t under His influence. They aren’t called to be holy and set apart as we are.

We Christians, however, have been called to be holy and set apart. All too often I think that we hold the world to a much higher standard than we hold fellow Christians and ourselves. I know I’m guilty of this. There are times when I certainly don’t act much different from the world, and if you noted some of the shows I watch on TV or heard some of the sarcastic–okay, mean–words I say you’d be hard pressed to tell that I’m set apart.

Last night at Bible study our teacher discussed how she often uses Philippians 4:8 as her litmus test for knowing what to expose herself to:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that there are many things–particularly when it comes to entertainment–that I’ve allowed into my life that do not pass the Philippians 4:8 test. I thought about that a lot last night and did some praying this morning that God would give me a sensitive heart for these standards. I don’t think I’m being called–not at this time, anyway–to give up cable or movies or music altogether, but I do think know that there are certain music and shows that are unhealthy for me that I need to stop listening to and watching. 

In order to be recognized as set apart, there’s got to be something different about me compared to the rest of the world. I’m praying that God will reveal to me those ways in which I can be set apart for Him.  I have a feeling that that will be much more productive than spending time trying to figure out how to keep raunchy performers off MTV.

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