Playing the Game

What game are you playing?

If you missed it, Sunday brought a convicting message (don’t you just kind of hate those!) on the games we all seem to play (

I played a game Sunday, too.  It was a new game we received for Christmas and it was a terrible experience.  Don’t get me wrong, the problem wasn’t the game itself; no, that was fun and exciting.  The problem was how brutally my wife pummeled me at this game.  We decided to play to ten points, and, after letting me win three points in a row, she finished off the rout by a score of ten to five.

All in all, it was pretty crummy.  No matter what adjustments I made, what techniques I tried, how I attempted to cheat . . . none of it was any use: she was in control.

But at some point, I needed to realize the game would have been much better and more fun if I had just let go.  I was so bent on having my way (winning), well, in the end, I didn’t get my way or have any joy either.  I turned what could have been a great afternoon escape into a stressful nightmare.

I do this with God, too.  My life is His to determine, to plan, to advance, yet I battle Him for the control I can’t have.

Many of us play this game with Him.  Our way is Option A; His way, a reluctant audible when all other options fail.  And the irony of it is that sometimes we want the very thing that God is going to move us toward, but we want it without Him: our proud hearts won’t allow us the path we desire, sometimes the very one He desires for us, too.

No, we need relinquish the game.  We need to play by His rules, for they are the rules that are effective, beneficial, and true.  What plans, what dreams, what schemes are you keeping from God?  It is like having the option of playing one-on-one against LeBron James (a frustrating, losing proposition) or teaming up with him.  Well, that would be an easy decision!  So why is it so hard for me to team up with the all-powerful Creator on issues of much more importance instead of futilely fighting against Him?

It is maddening, indeed, this heart of mine.  And likewise maddening is the other game we play.

This game is much like the day in Kindergarten when a pupil gets to bring in his father or mother for show-and-tell.  I remember doing this.  My dad was a professor and he came in and gave a talk and it was great.  But what if instead of having my father come in, I would have dressed in his clothes, said what I thought he might have said, and played the role of my father?  Well, it would have been laughable and silly.

And that is what Christians are so prone to.  We take the place of God, and we judge EVERYTHING!  Rather than being known for what we love (Jesus and goodness and humility), most “believers” are known for what they don’t like: the music is too loud; he’s a drunk; the pastor’s boring; that dress is, kind of, you know; she’s really gone off track . . . we could go on and on.  We cloak our spiteful judgments in double-minded prayer requests, backhanded compliments, and feigned concern, and sometimes we don’t cloak the gossip and slander at all.  Really, there is no need to hide it: we aren’t fooling anyone, save ourselves.

And somehow we think that if we become the pinnacle of virtue and the judge upon the hill, somehow no one, including God, will see us for what we are: broken, sinful, and desperately in need of help.

Oh the games we play!

So what games are you playing?  How are you deceiving yourself?  Are you ready to quit playing your own selfish, prideful game and jump into God’s game?  It is truly the only game we have any hope of winning in this life, and not because of our MVP status or wondrous skill set.  We win because Jesus Christ has already won for us.  He is our Victor and our prize, now and forever.

Luke 6:24

Matthew 7:3-5

James 4:11-17

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