Binge culture

We have become a society of bingers. Whether it is binge drinking, binge eating or binge watching, we just can’t seem to get enough. I sometimes do it myself – I particularly fantasise about having a child-free weekend and binge sleeping! But what does this phenomenon show us about our culture? 

We have got used to having everything “on demand”, whether we want a pizza delivered in under thirty minutes, or to watch a whole television series in one sitting. Gone are the days when you had to wait a whole week to find out what was going to happen next. This has changed the way in which TV series are written; after all, a cliff-hanger is not really such when you can start the next episode just seconds later.

Has it also changed us as individuals? Are we less patient? Have we become greedier? Are we now more reliant on convenience and comfort? Now, there is nothing wrong with convenience or taking time to relax, especially when they help us to re-energise for service. But I wonder if there has been a shift towards these things in an unhelpful way. Paul lists self-control as one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Have we lost self-control?

The disciple John urges followers of Christ, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” (1 John 2:15). That is not to say that enjoying such things means we are not saved. No, God wants us to enjoy the creation he made, but to do so to his glory. If we are loving what this world has to offer over what Christ offers, that is where the problem lies. 

We are called to be different to those in the world around us. Are we living that way? Or do our lives look just the same as our neighbours, families and colleagues who don’t know God? David tells us, “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Christian – we have tasted God; we know he is good. So why are we satisfied to snack on his word, yet binge on Netflix, Domino’s and Ben and Jerry’s? 

Psalm 36:7-9 says,

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”

We have a relationship with the source of all delights, the source of life and light. Think about what would happen if we started to binge on God’s word and delight more in him.  

So what should we do if we find we have been sucked into the binge culture that surrounds us? Fix our eyes on Jesus. When we delight in him as we ought to, our hearts will crave only him. What does that look like, practically? Read the Bible – that’s where Christ is revealed. Pray to him. Enjoy him. 

Katie Holloway is a member of Christ Church Haywards Heath, an Affinity Church


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