Here’s the simple truth behind reading a lot of books: It’s not that hard. We have all the time we need. The scary part—the part we all ignore—is that we are too addicted, too weak, and too distracted to do what we all know is important… Charles Chu
Until three weeks ago my way of relaxing every night was sitting on the porch and enjoying the cool night air while watching Netflix. What changed that was reading from John Owen one Wednesday afternoon.
In writing on Matthew 26:41 (“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”) Owen spoke of people who blindly walked into temptation instead of being careful about entering into it.
In that moment I knew Netflix could no longer be part of my evenings
Now by itself Netflix isn’t bad of course…but I turned my mind off and “zoned out” while watching it. In a way letting down my defenses, and giving Satan the perfect opportunity to attack.
So while enjoying some well-earned relaxation my mind:
- Began to indulge itself (just one more episode)
- Became distracted from what God had taught me during the day
- Entertained thoughts of discouragement or depression when things were bad
- And “medicated” my frustrations instead of bringing them to God
- Most of all it left me wide open for Satan’s subtle lies
Since then I’ve watched Netflix very little (during lunch) with Scripture (the Psalms) and books in its place….it may not be as entertaining as Netflix (though it often is) but ensures my defenses stay up.
Along with the spiritual blessings, choosing a book instead of Netflix develops me more personally.
Last month Charles Chu wrote an article on this subject called How to read 200 books a year. The most interesting part of it is “I want to say reading 200 books a year is an amazing thing. But the truth is, it’s not. Anybody can do it.”
Chu points out that reading 200 books seems big (417 reading hours a year) but then the average American spends 608 hours a year on social media, and 1642 hours on TV. In other words, there is time to make a solid commitment to reading, but it must replace what we normally use for relaxation.
To be honest I don’t see myself reading that much a year, but the Lord is teaching me the blessing of reaching for a good book instead of my laptop.