What are You Consuming?

I am sure many of you are familiar with the author Francine Rivers and her “Mark of the Lion” book series and book “Redeeming Love.” And many of you may have made the same mistake that I am about to share with you.

I am an avid reader and I would call the way that I read devouring rather than simply reading. Back when I had all the time in the world, I would often finish 800 page books within several days if not in one day. As I matured in my faith, I realized that that may be an idol in my life and while reading in and of itself was not bad, the way I read was.  I read all sorts of books, ranging from classics to fantasy world books (you know dwarves, elves, dragons and the like).  The problem with such a wide range of tastes is that it is very difficult to filter out what you end up consuming in the process.

With movies, you can just look at a rating or a review and find out if you really want to risk the possibility of exposing your heart and mind to things you know aren’t good for it. There are reviews for nearly every movie that is in existence. But for books? Well, I don’t know if it would even be possible for there to be reviews of book content because of the enormity and variety of books that are out there.

In the books I read (especially the fantasy ones) things were planted within them that caused me to struggle. Unfortunately, sex is now permeated very thoroughly throughout our culture and entertainment. It is difficult to fend off, especially within books. I never read those books you see with the half naked men and women on the front that are obviously entirely about sex and probably viewed as “soft porn.” But I didn’t have to. Within most books that I read, there were usually at least one or two sexually stimulating scenes. It was a huge problem for me and stirred up lust and awakened thoughts and desires I didn’t know existed. Once in my mind, it was more difficult to remove it than I ever would have imagined. As most of you know, these scenes in books stopped satisfying and I began to look to porn more and more often. I guess you could say that, for me, books were my “gateway” to porn.

This particular post has a happy and somewhat humorous ending to it though. As I said in the beginning, this whole story has something to do with Francine Rivers. After I finally confessed my sins to my friend, I had stopped reading books that I knew might have sex scenes within them. So, basically I only read Christian fiction, some classics, and books that I knew Christian friends of mine had already read and deemed appropriate. Francine Rivers had a great track record with me and I wanted to read more of her work.

One thing my friend (who also loves the author) forgot to mention was that Rivers was not always a Christian. In fact, she wrote books that many would call soft porn before her encounter with Jesus. I picked one of her older books out at the library and inside the cover was written in pencil “soft porn.” How clueless could I get? I ignored the writing thinking it was some joke and started to read. At first I was a little taken aback by how detailed she was getting and then I started to realize that the added labeling in the front cover was no joke.

It was a struggle to put the book down and refuse to pick it back up again. But I did, and immediately asked my friend why in the world Rivers wrote this book? She laughed quite a bit and told me about the writer’s past. I had enough hints and clues to have known better, but for some reason was oblivious at the time. I haven’t been that careless since.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.

1 Corinthians 10:23

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