How to Watch Netflix in a Healthy Way

By Nikki Dabney

We all joke about binging on Netflix, but it has become a serious spiritual problem. Here are seven ways Netflix is harmful:

  • Netflix is by nature addicting. This should cause serious alarm. It creates a cycle where we have to watch the next episode. Then we have to start a new show. We have to fill our free time watching something. Scientist and psychologist Karl Benzio explains that overuse of entertainment is known as process addiction.

“The addiction goal for all of us is comfort and pleasure,” said Benzio. “Here’s a self-check: When you experience adversity or stress, what do you turn to first or regularly? That is probably your addiction object.”

  • We pursue self-indulgence and comfort above all and fall to laziness.

In “Put Laziness to Rest,” Paul Maxwell, philosophy professor at Moody Bible Institute, says, “Laziness is not the reclusive passivity it pretends to be. It is active obedience to someone, to something other than Jesus Christ. The Lord of the Sabbath offers us freedom from that.”

  • We are training ourselves to not wait for good things. With no commercials and access to all the show’s seasons, we grow accustomed to immediate gratification.
  • We fill our minds with things that are not true, right, pure, or admirable (Philippians 4:8). Do we really have such a desperate need to be entertained that we will indulge in unrighteousness?
  • We are so busy and over stimulated. We desire rest, but Netflix doesn’t really leave us feeling rested. We need to understand biblical rest.

In “You Can’t Serve God and Entertainment,” Phillip Holmes, writer for desiringGod, says, “Entertainment over-promises but under-delivers. It is unable to satisfy what our hearts truly long for. We want rest. We want comfort. But entertainment can only offer a temporary fix.”

  • Netflix is a means of escaping from reality. The world of our favorite show becomes our reality. We crave to return.

Holmes says, “Entertainment was used to distract me from the guilt of sin, friction in relationships, or anxiety about work. It became what daily prayer and Bible reading should have been — a safe haven to retreat for rest and comfort.”

  • We are wasting time. The enemy loves nothing more than for us to binge on Netflix for hours on end and essentially do: nothing.

Maxwell says, “To withdraw, to procrastinate, to stumble through a blurry haze of work days just waiting for the next opportunity to get back on the couch, back on Netflix, that isn’t life — and none of us is honestly or passionately arguing that it really is.”

Of course, Netflix isn’t inherently evil. We just have to be careful to not worship created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

How do you watch Netflix in a healthy way?

You don’t need to fill every spare moment of the day. Sure, enjoy the show you’re watching, but when you finish, consider taking a break and not starting a new show for a while. Prioritize time with the Lord and incorporate rest. We NEED alone time in His presence. Break your dependence on Netflix, and embrace your dependence on Jesus.

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