Recently, I made a pilgrimage through the snow and ice to the movies to see a film I’d been looking forward to ever since I saw a trailer a few months ago: The Wolf of Wall Street. Seeing DiCaprio on the cast list was a huge hook for me (I’m a passionate Inception fan and enjoyed The Great Gatsby as well), and so I found myself only semi-reluctantly forking over the $7.50 for admission. I bought my usual order of Sour Patch Watermelons (if you don’t know what these are or haven’t experienced them before, you’re missing out on one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed on our taste buds) and joined two of my friends in the seats right behind the handrail that is perfectly placed to use as a footrest. It was perfect. I was completely in my “movie zone,” ready to enjoy a film I’d been eagerly anticipating.
But holy cow, I was in for a surprise. Within only a couple minutes, Scorsese (the film’s director) chose to prey on his audience’s lust, desire for power, and greed (and craving for cocaine, if that’s a thing) by flashing women, money, and drugs across the screen repeatedly. And, surprisingly enough, that pattern just continued for the rest of the movie. Weird, right? Nope. Just another example of a trend that Hollywood has taken over recent years in order to appeal to American audiences. And another unsurprising fact: Wolf of Wall Street had a pretty successful first two weeks in the box office, gathering a worldwide total of $86.6 million.¹ But why does that matter to you? Why is that statistic worthy of writing about?
Well, because it represents a gradual decline in what we, as Americans, place our value on. Though we were founded on Christian principles, it’s easy to trace a steady shift in our focus over the years. Now, this isn’t another condemning post about how America is beyond saving or anything like that. I’m not calling for fire and brimstone to rain down on Wall Street, either. Because that wouldn’t serve any purpose in the grand scheme of things. No, I’m writing this as an effort to show what a great need our world has for Christ’s redemption. The fact of the matter is that we are broken and lost. We have abandoned God’s instruction and started to serve only our own desires, and this path leads nowhere besides destruction. So what is our response as Christians? How do we defend against the attack that Satan is so cleverly orchestrating? I think it starts with prayer. Instead of judgment or criticism, we need to show love and go earnestly to God with our concerns.
Pray for power to resist these temptations in your own life.
The battle starts with each of us, individually. God warns us in Genesis that “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (ESV). Our sanctification depends on a continual desire to replace our sinfulness with God’s imparted perfection, and I think that is the most important part of our daily lives as Christians. So pray! We can’t fight sin with our own power. We must completely depend on God’s provision to guide us and keep us.
Pray for the light of Christ to destroy Satan’s influence over our brothers and sisters.
We, as followers of Christ, are on display for those around us to see. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matt. 5:14-15 ESV). Our faith can’t be secret, it can’t be hidden, it can’t be private. We must go into the world, where sin so easily entangles, and show others the promise of salvation that Jesus gives us. Pray for strength. Go out. Fight sin.
Pray for truth to be revealed.
What we see in pop culture today is a mess of promiscuity, deception, and greed. These things do not bring fulfillment, they simply bring instant satisfaction that fades quickly and leaves us feeling empty. Pray for the truth about Jesus to be revealed to those who find themselves trapped in sin, that they might see his lasting joy instead of Satan’s lies.
Now, these aren’t the only steps we should take in the battle against the devil. But I think they’re a pretty good starting point. So take a moment to pray today; spend some time lifting our country up to God. He is the only one who can break the hold of sin over us.
Have any insight on this post? Let me know in the comment section below.