I recently discovered that with my Amazon Prime account I can watch SpongeBob for free. This came at a time when I was very stressed at the end of my college semester because, not only did I have to prepare for all of my finals, but, as part of my job, I needed to ensure that several other students also passed their finals. 

The coincidence of these events led me to develop a strange daily routine where I spent any spare moment of free time watching SpongeBob SquarePants. 

I figured that the mindlessness of SpongeBob might help me unwind, relax, and get through the stressful time. Since I was perpetually mentally exhausted, I just told myself that God would excuse the fact that it was eating away at my scripture reading time, which took much more mental energy than SpongeBob.

Somehow, this cycle didn’t have the desired effect. Instead of having a more focused mind each day, it seemed that I was deteriorating into a lethargic lump of apathy, very similar in some ways to an actual sponge. I was becoming overwhelmed. Something needed to change.

One day, I did finally open my Bible, and I started reading the first chapter of Daniel (before the lions’ den incident). Daniel and some of his buddies got captured by the Babylonians and were living under King Nebuchadnezzar’s roof. His plan was to fatten up all of the young prisoners into strapping young lads by feeding them the finest meat and wine for three years (Daniel 1:5). 

Unfortunately, eating the king’s meat was contrary to the will of God. The meat may have been forbidden for any of the reasons in Deuteronomy 14, Leviticus 11, Leviticus 3:17, or Leviticus 7:19-21. Because of this, Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank” (8). 

Instead, he and his friends “beseeched” the servants to feed them pulse and water (12). At the end of 10 days, the servants saw that “their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat” (15). In fact, they were so much healthier looking, everyone else started having pulse and water, too (16). Plus, God blessed Daniel and his friends with knowledge, skill in all learning, wisdom, and more (17).

I’d venture to say that being captured by a foreign nation is slightly more stressful than college finals, so how is it that Daniel came out of it fairer and wiser, yet I ended up feeling overwhelmed and lumpish? The difference was what we fed ourselves. 

When faced with stress, Daniel continued inviting God into his life by feasting on what God had commanded Him to have. I, on the other hand, invited SpongeBob into my life, and while I don’t think that watching SpongeBob is inherently a sin, it became a sin when I allowed it to take precedence over the things of God like reading scripture (James 4:17, Exodus 20:3). 

If I want people to see Christ in me, then I need “purpose in my heart” to feast on “the bread of life” (John 6:35) on a daily basis by reading the word of God. Only then will people see the difference it has made in my life and follow that example, just as they did Daniel’s.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.



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