I remember the day we brought Teddy, our English bulldog puppy, into our home. The breeder told us he was 8 weeks old, but after receiving his papers, we noticed he was actually only 6 weeks old at the time. He was a healthy little bruiser, and we would laugh at his stumbling and being uncoordinated, but now we realize it was because he was such a baby.

My wife and I would sit on the porch in the evenings and watch him explore around in the front yard. He was so happy as he would jump and roll in the grass and investigate his new surroundings. But when he would hear a loud commotion like a noisy car passing by, it would scare him and he would come running to us. After a while, he gradually became more used to the traffic sounds and the lawn mowers, and eventually it did not bother him.

We hear about those who live close to railroad tracks or airports and how they are sensitive to the sounds at first but eventually get used to them. I collect old clocks, and when people come in, they ask how we can stand all of these chimes and gongs, but we do not even notice them.

It's one thing to get used to sights and sounds that do not hinder our spiritual lives, but it's dangerous to let our guard down when it comes to accepting things that are contrary to God's standard of sanctification. Our newborn spirit is sensitive to what we see and hear, and what a challenge it is to protect our mind.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to guard our hearts from the negativity and darkness of this world that is trying to pull us away from God's presence. Unfortunately, many individuals, including church members, are convinced there is no harm from absorbing a constant barrage of negative television shows, movies and social media. It's a shame the era of innocence is now only a memory. A lifestyle of purity is now considered fanatical and old-fashioned and not respected any more.

I remember the old "Dick Van Dyke Show" where, even though main characters Rob and Laura were married, there were two separate beds in the bedroom. Back then, even the idea of a married couple in the same bed was socially taboo, and that was only 60 years ago. The old westerns like "The Roy Rogers Show" and "The Lone Ranger" were not about killing, but were hardly anything more than jumping off a horse and punching someone in the nose.

When I was a kid, we would watch programs like "Bonanza," "The Lawrence Welk Show" and "The Wonderful World of Disney." We were not exposed to extreme violence, witchcraft and the constant sex scenes as we are today. So what happened to our culture's modesty?

The days of blushing and embarrassment are gone as the shock factor has caused many minds and hearts to become calloused. This is exactly what the enemy wanted so the masses would lose their spiritual sensitivity to God's voice. As the entertainment industry continues to push the limits of sorcery and debauchery, those who indulge are being tempted to dwell on dark thoughts that are ungodly instead of what is lovely and just.

If we are not careful, even the children of God can become numb to corruption, deviance and wickedness, very much like the frog that sits in the pan of water on the stove and hardly notices he is being boiled alive. If we absorb and accept small amounts of impurities here and there, before long we will not be offended or insulted about anything. Sadly, we might even begin to enjoy it.

It's no secret that most people do not want to hear about self-discipline, repentance or messages that contain topics about how changing the way we think will change the way we live. In man's carnal defense, his emotions consider this intrusion as meddling and no one's business, including the One who created him. These uncomfortable and rebellious attitudes are God's way of convicting us of our guilt. It's his way of getting our attention that we are doing something wrong, but often our emotions love it too much to stop.

We all face this daily battle because our fallen nature is opposed to virtuous living and always willing to fight for its independence. One of the greatest failures for anyone, including Christians, is to ignore the reverential fear of God and his demand to live holy.

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Billy Holland