Points to Ponder: Are You Artificially Flavored?

Points to Ponder
Are You Artificially Flavored?

Our daughter Elizabeth has a growing interest in science. She has a book which outlines simple experiments one can do with common ingredients found at home. One involved mixing blue food coloring in water and then placing a white carnation in the solution. The flower would then turn blue. We didn't have any white flowers around; however, there were some yellow daisies in the garden. She supposed that the blue water and the yellow flower would yield a green flower. It took awhile, but over several hours time, the edges of the petals did turn green. That was pretty cool to a ten-year-old scientist. It also taught a good lesson about life itself.
Artificially colored water yielded an artificially colored flower. The plant was influenced and changed by what it absorbed into itself. In similar fashion, we absorb into ourselves the influences of sight and sound. A large portion of our day, our week, and therefore our lives, is spent in front of TV and computer screens. Our ears are constantly immersed in sound; from car radios, to restaurant background music, to the noise that's piped outside while you're gassing up the car. (Racket is not just the thing used by tennis players.) Do you ever think about how all of these sights and sounds may be artificially coloring you?
It's often a subtle thing. Because I rarely watch television, I notice how powerful it is when I do see it. There are a lot more commercials than there were when I was a kid. I'm trying to teach my children that the purpose of TV programs is to keep you in front of the screen to see the commercials. Millions of dollars are spent by businesses to purchase thirty to sixty seconds of advertising time during certain TV programs because these companies know that the medium of sight and sound has a powerful effect on the viewers. What effect are they seeking? Behavioral modification: Convince people they have a need that your company can fulfill. And of course those who produce the shows know that they too can influence attitudes and public opinion.
When I listen to radio news broadcasts, I'm aware of adjectives and adverbs, the tone of voice in the broadcaster, and certain assumptions that are casually thrown into the report.
On one National Public Radio broadcast, the host spoke of evolution as fact, not theory. To think of the origin of life and the world from any other perspective was simply ridiculous. "Everybody knows that," he said.
You can usually tell which political candidate the media favors. Be they conservative or liberal, you can hear a world view which is undergirding the presentation. And if you are exposed to a medium long enough and often enough, that world view will seep into your stream of thinking. You'll find yourself assuming certain things are simply true without really knowing why you believe it. If you stopped and questioned yourself about your assumptions, you'd find that you have few if any verifiable objective sources. I have found that the most vehement opponents to the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God never read it from cover to cover, let alone studied it. So many fall into the trap of letting the media do our thinking for us.
"A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands. Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit" (Proverbs 14:6-8).
In scripture, the fool is one who disregards God in his thinking and choices. Such are the self-deceived. These seek wisdom and guidance from Oprah and Dr. Phil. Always seeking to understand, to find some great truth in the plot of a movie or in the newspaper advice column. One must go deep, to the heart level of oneself. So much of what drives our lives and occupies our attention and energy is a mile long and an inch deep. Like the yellow flower in artificially colored water, we change according to what we draw into our souls. We manifest on the outside that which is coursing its way through the deepest recesses of our inside - our heart. If what influences us is "colored" by the world's values, do we then become something different from what the Designer intended? The flower couldn't pull itself out of the artificially blue water - but you can pull yourself away from pointless things.
"Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way" (Psalm 119:36-37).
Suppose you prayed this, and meant it:
"Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me" (Psalm 119:133).

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 2:10am and 10:45am both days.