I have never been a video game person, but when I first started playing Angry Birds a few years ago, It didn’t take long to get addicted. I found short bursts of time to annihilate those nasty pigs and their ridiculous structures. Oh the joy in watching every stick and stone in those structures crumble while I racked up stars! The problem arose when short minutes became long ones because I couldn’t defeat those ham hucksters in the first round. I had to replay the level until, whalla, defeat came to those porkloining, err purloining, pigs.
Oooh, then they came out with Star Wars Angry Birds! My geekdom was complete, I had crossed over to the dark side. Not only did I need to destroy structure and Pig Vader, but I had to overcome the physics of outer space. Anti-gravity and gravity, centrifugal force, momentum and everything else that Sir Newton could throw at me, with a little Einstein on the side. Sometimes I spent a round just to spy out weaknesses or gain tools and power points.
As the challenges became harder I sought help. I discovered angrybirdsnest.com, a site full of cheats. I learned about structural weaknesses, hidden tricks, and the best shot angles for annihilation. Even so, leveling up became harder and harder, really just too much work for a mere game. After months, I gave up and haven’t touched the game in years.
I was stumped at the numbers of children, and some adults, that are addicted to video games. They joyfully go back day after day to repeat their trials at the same level, just so they can move up a new level to defeat the same evil foe again on another playing field. Why?
Well, I read James 1:2-5 for the thousandth time the other day. Consider it wholly JOYFUL, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
Wait just a second… New perspective time. What if I took a gamers’ attitude towards real life? Every day there is a temptation, trial or foe. They don’t stop coming at me or putting obstacles in my path just because I won’t play the game. In fact these trials are supposed to keep me from playing, make me hang my head and quit.
If I recognize the trial up front, before I confront, I can run to my Daddy for His cheats, the Wisdom Toolbox that He prepared just for the big hairy green guy blocking my path. This isn’t about how smart I am or how brave. It’s about Father’s wisdom only. I’ll end up stuck on the same level fighting shadows till I get that one fact straight. His wisdom helps me defeat That temptation. Either way I can’t quit half way through. I must endure until I’ve won that level. I might want to run from the trial, bury that temptation, or bury my head. But it won’t go away. That thing WILL come back.
Why? God isn’t sending the temptation, it comes out of the unfinished parts of me. If I don’t confront it it will stay inside of me as an obstacle in my race. I must face it joyfully expecting my opportunity to level up and start another chapter.
God actually wants me to be the victor. He desires that I know my own faith is real, that I become fully developed, crown included. (I would like to have one of those so I’ll have something to throw down at his feet someday.)
Note to self:
See the trial’s purpose
Tear down that obstacle
Become more complete in who I am in Christ
New trial, no sweat, He’s got this, until I receive that Crown of Life.
Anyway, what’s a good adventure without an antagonist?
Let us learn from the ever so wise emperor Kuzco:
Pacha: [eyes widen] Uh-oh.
Kuzco: [resigned] Don’t tell me. We’re about to go over a huge waterfall.
Pacha: [also resigned] Yep.
Kuzco: Sharp rocks at the bottom?
Pacha: Most likely.
Kuzco: …Bring it on. [As they go over] Boooooo-yaaaaahahahahahahahah!
So a joyful Boo-ya to you too.