Grow up already

I haven’t blogged twice in a day in quite some time. Thanks WordPress, for making this easy on me, and actually enjoyable. Let’s cut to the chase!

adultgamerI’m sure parents all over might rejoice after reading this, but then again, I think God’s leading me to write it for some of them more than their children. This picture (not me) resembles me three years ago. Without the tie of course! The avid video game junkie. Ever wonder why they are called “junkies”? Such a title to aspire to! But that’s what I did. Each second that I sat in my recliner, at the age of 28, was spent aspiring to be a junkie. Moments that were overcoming my life without me noticing it. Like one of those frogs you always hear about. The ones that don’t realize the temperature is boiling, and eventually just croak.

There are quite a few passages in scripture that deal with moments like these. One that’s always brought up is found in Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”. Does that really apply to something as fun as video games? It does if you’re like me and have stood in line for 17 hours, with hundreds of dollars in hand to be one of the chosen few to purchase an Xbox 360 on release day. Selfish? Yes. Idolatry? Hmm. I would have said no if you asked me that day, as I felt important having Wal-Mart security guards escort me and my new idol to my car. Or the days that my children were enjoying playing like toddlers do, wishing their father would put his toy away and come play with them instead.

I begin blogging about this now because I can speak of the relief and joy that I have found when 20% of my days aren’t consumed by one thing of this world that dominated mine. It took humility and sacrifice to hand my idol to someone else, but God blessed the choice I made and continues to mold me. There are many other areas I have to deal with, but I know there are those struggling with this at this very second. Is it time for you to become a little bit less so He can become a little bit more?

    • The college years are very unique when it comes to this. They're right between the "waste as much time as I want" high school times and the "uh oh…..I now have responsibility" years ahead.

  1. I like the post. Especially that you address gaming taking an unhealthy role in one's life. I am a "lite" gamer for say a few times a year lately (use to be more) Keep the posts coming,

    • I'm definitely not the only one who's struggled with this. Glad to hear you've had to deal with it too. Appreciate you reading. Thanks to WordPress, the posts are sure to keep coming.

  2. When I became a man I put away childish things. Sounds like you made it (or at least making it) to manhood. Proud of you. Many never get close. Too bad.

    • Thanks, Sheldon. Things becoming childish is definitely an interesting discussion. It's definitely more of a challenge for some to deal with their time than others. Hopefully this discussion at least causes some to open their eyes and at least think it over.

  3. I like your approach to likening it to idolatry – many people probably are, but telling them outright it is idolatry would turn them off.

    Actually, pointing to your own shortcomings to teach others is something mentioned in the Way of the Christian Samurai!

    • Very good point. The things that we enjoy the most or hold close are often the things we don't like to hear the truth about. There are new things in my life that are like that now, although gaming is now in the past. We're always growing up.

    • Sometimes I don't notice it that much now. That's probably a good thing. Now to focus on the other things God is doing. Thanks!

    • Thanks Steve! Glad you found me on here, and just confirmed on Twitter as well. Going to post more in the future on this topic since it's been obvious others relate to it. Nice "Press The Kingdom" blog you've got, reading through it now.

  4. Listen, Holmes, I turn 40 in June. Shock and awe. And my oldest son turns 14 in March. In 40 years I'll be 80, but I digress…

      • no, i feel real good at 39. i do 10x's what I did in my 20's as far as productivity and multi-management. God's been good across the board. But 40 seems like a big one, but it' really just another day. People like to raze.

  5. I truly believe that media in our country is being used to distract us and re-condition our way of thinking for the worse. Here is a link that is somewhat related. It's about violence and video games. This is an excellent read for parents. http://www.pureintimacy.org/piArticles/A000000560
    It's time that we as Christians take a stand and use media as an offensive to the lies of our current culture. Gabe I respect what your doing with Digital Disciples.

    • Thanks for the link Dwight. Distraction is a good word. That's where the rubber meets the road, when our minds don't realize they've been changed and we've lost focus. I don't believe 1 Cor 10:31 has tons of room for distraction.

  6. Daniel Basham

    This is ironic that you post this today. Last week one of my good friends bought an XBOX360 off ebay. He brought it over the other day and I (who would never consider playing video games because it was such a waste of time) got a little jealous. All of a sudden I wanted one…so that I could minister with it of course. You know, have the students over to play. Yeah right. The last thing I need is another distraction to take my time. Video games are fine, if you can keep it to a casual hobby. I'm just not sure I could. Madden '09 is pretty fun!! Anyway…all this to say, I'm not getting one. I know Stephanie is happy about that!! She always told me one of the things she loved so much about me is that I didn't play video games 🙂 I'll please her and steer clear of this potential idol.

    • Wow. That's pretty intense. Wish I would have made the decision a few years earlier like that. Hopefully your friend doesn't find this blog, lol. Games are definitely fun, but something that's fun can at the same time tear us down for sure.

  7. I'm not sure I understand this modern trend of calling anything and everything a form of idolatry.

    Idolatry: worship of idols

    Worship: to show reverence and adoration for (a deity)
    Idol: an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship

    Okay… what now? How twisted have our traditions and christianese gotten to the point where if we enjoy doing something, somehow that is considered idolatry? There is neither worship nor an idol in this situation.

    Video games is not a representation of a god to anyone I know. No one thinks that video games have some superhuman spiritual power over anything in the universe. They are entertainment, plain and simple. To that end, no one is showing reverance towards video games.

    People may play video games more often than they should, which can take away time from God, their families, and other life priorities. But just the same can be said for alcohol, television, movies, twitter, books, email, board games, knitting, drawing… basically anything. Sin comes when we are not able to keep these things in moderation.

    But that is NOT idolatry.

    • If I went back to the days when I was addicted to gaming and took a poll of what was a priority in my life at that point, God might have been a 3 or 4. You'd think gaming would be down around 2 or 3 on the list if God weren't, but I'm sure those that still struggle with it would prove otherwise if they were completely transparent. What has you, has your worship. Sometimes that's not bad stuff. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's good stuff that turns out bad, and sometimes bad that turns out good.

      Playing video games alone is not a sin. There are something, when done alone, are a sin. Idolatry is a sin, there's no way getting around that. I'll make it more clear by sharing maybe a few more handfuls of verses that cover that. You are right, keeping things in moderation is where the struggle happens. Not being able to moderate something does lead to idolatry. Entertainment, just because it is a fun thing and you can do it with others at times, doesn't make it clear of being able to be worshipped. Thanks for responding, Jesse.

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  9. Pingback: GabeTaviano.com | Technology meets Eternity » Blog Archive » Radical stewardship and video games

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