We see that “Christian” label and we automatically think it’s good and safe to consume. Not just Christians, but for the world, too, the “Christian” label is often synonymous with “wholesome”, “family friendly”, “moral”, and free of cursing, drugs, alcohol and sex.
In church, we sit like sponges, soaking up what the pastor says, like the mental equivalent of the corpulent zero gravity degenerates spilling out of their chairs in the DisneyPixar film WAll-E, opening our mouths wide for the sermon, hardly bothering to lift a finger and crack open the Bibles behind the chair for ourselves justifying that it’s up on the screen, or telling ourselves we’ll look later. We’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another. But that’s lazy thinking, or rather, a lack thereof any thinking.
Flying through life on autopilot without thinking for ourselves, without doing our own research in the Word, consuming even “Christian” media and reading books without caution because they were written by John Piper or Francis Chan, or C.S. Lewis is not necessarily God-honoring. Even Paul tells the Galatians that if [he and the other disciples] or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the the one they first preached, let them be cursed (1.8). He wants the Galatians to discern, to filter what they hear from him through the gospel, to be on their guard. Just because a pastor or a “Christian” leader or a “Christian” speaker, etc. says something doesn’t mean we should sit back, kick up our feet and cruise. Just because music is labeled “Christian” doesn’t mean we can consume it without thought to its affects, or content. God gave us brains to use them. When we look at Christ in the Bible, He shows us how to think in the way He presents questions and parables. He doesn’t just slap a label on it and say “Believe”, even though His name is enough to do that. He gives us, instead, a chance to reason and to logically process the truth He offers.
Extremism is not the solution. We avoid "secular" media and materials like the plague, but both "secular" and "Christian" industries or medias are places to practice discernment. There can be truth in both; there can be ungodliness in both.
THE FLIP SIDE
There’s a danger we have to be aware of as we adopt this posture of discernment because it can so easily morph into that of cynicism and bitter distrust or premeditated judgement. Discernment is the ability to obtain sharp perceptions or to judge well, but who among us is a good judge? If we try to do this on our own, we will fail and embitter our hearts. It’s only in and through Christ that we can discern and protect against those fallouts.