Yes, I am being serious with that question. Where is your focus? As Christians, it is easy to say my focus is on Jesus. However, this is not always the case. I know this to be true because I’ve been a follower of Jesus, for a long time. If you’re just starting your walk with Jesus, the title of this blog post may seem either strange or daunting.
Fear not! I would like to share some insights that may be of help to you and provide a challenge, if you’re having trouble. Though I’m not a serious gamer, I do like to play some games and thought this to be a good avenue. Please listen to the podcast and continue reading the blog post.
Is this a rant against videogames like Minecraft? What does it have to do with politics? You would think the two things are totally unrelated. In one respect, you are quite correct. Yet, there is a connection. What connection? Am I going to stop with the idiotic riddles?
Let’s start with Matthew 6:19-21. Jesus is giving his followers, the following instructions:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21 [NASB]
He is not talking about physical wealth; rather it is the things we lavish our affections on. What is consuming your time and energy? Is it politics, videogames or something else? It is easy to get wrapped up in one’s passion or personal interests. Though I have been a Christian for years, I had struggles with my interest in videogames.
For me, it is very easy to get so wrapped up in a virtual gaming world that one can forget what is important. More precisely, this trap is precisely what I ran into when I first started playing Minecraft. Yes, other gamers have told me that this game was very addictive. It was no a strange thing to hear of the many hours I played.
It also did not help that I had other crisis happening, at that time. Thankfully, I had a community of friends to help me, through it. I thank Jesus for both my virtual friends and friends at my home church. One gamer suggested that I turn off the computer and go outside. He is right.
I was pursuing an earthly treasure that is not good. The problem is, not all videogames are bad. It’s when we let it dominate our time, money and attention. Hmm, it sounds suspiciously like the earthly treasure that Jesus spoke of. Right? You can actually say the same things about any hobby or interests. You can also say the same thing about politics.
I told you there was a connection!
As a gamer, I am aware of the inherent darkness in the gaming industry. I am talking about things that goes against the clear teachings of Scriptures. I am also aware of how addictive certain videogames are. Guess what? Minecraft is not the only one and it to can be taken down the wrong path.
As any adult gamers will tell you, the above is true for just about anything. They would be right. Why did I pick on videogames and not a more serious topic? No one is disputing the problems associated with online videogames. The only difference is that gamers are not generally getting bent out of shape over this.
Can you say the same things about the topics that you are really passionate about? On Facebook, I see a wide variety of passionate individuals consumed by politics. Because politics deals with real world issues, it is easy to get carried away and not see the oncoming wave heading towards them.
What is my point? I will point back to the original question. Where is your focus? What are you giving your attention to? If it is earthly pursuits then you’re likely to get knocked down by a wave or two. Do not worry. It is easy to get sidetracked by the various stormy waves on the sea of life. You can ask Peter; as he knows all about it!
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”Matthew 14:28-30 [NASB]
Did you notice that Peter did fine when his attention was focused on Jesus. It’s when Peter’s attention moved from Jesus to the storm tossed sea. It is not hard to imagine; as he was doing the impossible. However, it is only through Jesus that the impossible becomes possible. What does this has to do with an excessive interest in a videogame?
The very real stormy sea of Galilee makes for a great metaphor for the temptations, passions and issues that we face, on a daily basis. Think of each wave as symbolically representing the various temptations that confront us. As long as the coming wave doesn’t explode in our face like a certain Minecraft creeper,
I can assure you that the last statement is not a fun picture; rather it is someone who got bushwhacked by life’s temptations and it can happen to anyone. As for Peter, he did a smart thing and cried out to Jesus, to save him. What about you? Jesus was standing right there and ready to rescue Peter. The same thing is true for you.
What is consuming your time and energy? Are you laying up treasures on Earth or Heaven? When I got too wrapped up in videogames, I was not laying up treasure in the right place. How did I overcome this addiction and how can I think of posting a weekly gaming video? How did Jesus saved me, from drowning?
In 2012, I was introduced to Minecraft by a friend, who used to come to my church. Because, I’ve limited opportunities to get out, he thought it would be a great fit for me. Of course, he didn’t the game’s age demographic. It did not take long to figure it out. So, I would typically avoid gaming servers.
The problem is, I was getting way to absorbed by this videogames. I can readily understand why some people can spend a ton of hours playing it. Minecraft is an open world sandbox game and it can be a lot of fun. It did not take long before I felt a need to fast from that game.
The Spirit placed a need to put the game away for about 21 days. At least, I think it was that long. The goal was to break the cycle of addiction that this game had over me. I, even went so far as to delete it from my computer. After this initial fast, I did re-install the game; however, the game’s ability to consume my time abated.
It also helps to not feed one’s addiction. It did not help when I chose to watch family friendly Minecraft videos. Of course, the fault is my own and not the YouTubers. It is definitely because of what Jesus has done for me that I have victory.
What stormy waves are you dealing with? I realize that it’s probably more serious than what I just described. Nevertheless, there is nothing so trivial that Jesus can’t help you or too difficult. I would love to encourage you to seek God and let Jesus help you.
By the way, Jesus did not stop with plucking me, out of the sea. I, soon took an inner healing class at my church. It’s called Transformed and it’s based on two great books: Search For Significance by Robert McGee and Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk. God used this class to bring in some very needed healing and open the door for a deeper relationship with God, the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Here is the connection to the original question on focus. The more you grow in your relationship with Jesus; the less likely you will be knocked down by the waves coming at you. I am not saying that you won’t run into problems. You will have trouble in this world; however, it won’t be as overwhelming.
Ask Jesus to help you keep your focus on Him. For where your treasure is; so your heart will be. I repeat. What are you focusing on? Is it something silly like Minecraft? Is it something worrying like politics? How about keeping your eyes on Jesus? –