The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Video Games Don't Satisfy Me Anymore, But They Should

That title is not a gimmick to get people to my blog site. I'm not pulling the bait and switch like a seeker sensitive church (although sadly they often never really get to the gospel, so I think often they have baited themselves),  but rather I am wanting to point to something much deeper that I see needs to be addressed within the church. The church is to be salt and light into the world, but I think far too often we limit that to just doing evangelistic/mercy ministry type of things. No, all of life is to magnify God and His righteousness. The problem is, I think too many people and churches act as if all there is to life for the Christian is preaching the gospel.

If this were true, then what would we be winning unbelievers to? What is the end goal of evangelism? I think many people believe it is to get people saved and out of hell. That is not the end goal. God says the end goal is holiness, and to glorify Him in all things, so that "whatever you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God."

First, do we believe, or have we even thought about the possibility that there can be a sinful way and a God-glorifying way to eat or drink food? This is not talking about merely what you eat, such as eating healthy instead of unhealthy, and not getting drunk. This is talking about the very way in which you enjoy drink and food. Are you enjoying it unto the Lord, or not? If you are not, then you are disobeying a command of God, and thus sinning. (If you want to know how to eat or drink to the glory of God, I have blogged about that in detail before, but better yet you should check out John Piper's post How To Drink Orange Juice To The Glory Of God.)

So what I want to focus on is this: Can things like art, music, video games, and movies be watched and be made by Christians to the glory of God? Absolutely. I think churches discourage people either by what they do say, or what they refuse to say from enjoying movies, and books, and viewing art and making art, and listening to music and making music, and even playing video games or making video games to the glory of God. And that last phrase is key. It is easy to say that you shouldn't be playing video games because there are more important things to do in life- and that is true. A person who plays hours and hours of video games all day long, like I used to do, is sinning. There is no way around it. Something as trivial as video games should not be played for five, six, seven hours a day, day in and day out.

Further, video games, or watching movies or reading books or doing homework, should never be done without doing it unto the Lord, for His glory, either. Why? Because all that we do should glorify God- that is what we are made for. And do we not think that, if Adam and Eve had not fallen, that technology and other books wouldn't have come about? God told Adam and Eve- BEFORE THE FALL- to subdue the earth. To cultivate it, work it, grow it, expand God's glory throughout it. This was WHY God made us, and that is still our purpose.

So if our purpose is to glorify God in all things, especially through the development of His creation, then video games, movies, books, music, art, that should be the Christian's domain. We should be topping the music charts with great singers, great musicians, great movies, books, video games, artwork, all to the glory of God.

So this certainly means that there will be a specific content to what we do in the arts and music and writing and cinema. It will certain around the gospel- the person and work of Christ, what He did on the cross for us. It will center on human depravity and God's holiness, and how God reconciles God to man through Christ without compromising His justice and righteousness through grace and mercy. In other words, all that we should be writing and singing and painting and reading and listening and admiring should be God-centered.

To be clear, I am not at all saying that every piece of artwork for the Christian should be a painting of David or Moses or Jesus, rather I am saying we should always be painting and writing and singing with God in mind so that whatever we paint, write, or sing, we do it to the glory of God. Otherwise, we are sinning. And if we do all that we do with God in mind, and His truth, grace, mercy, justice, love, etc., our artwork, or music, or movies, our writings, will reflect that. They will reflect that perhaps even without saying the name of Jesus or God. A Christian could write a song about the love between a man and a woman, or a love for a sport, or a love for polar bears, and do it in such a way that it is informed by a Christian worldview, through a God-centered, Christ-exalting lens.

So why the title for this blog? The title for the blog is due to the fact that, for the last three days or so, I have played Madden football, the top selling football video game, and an RPG/action-adventure game called Fable II. I did this intentionally, to take a break from so much heavy theological reading and writing, and what I found is that, sure enough, it just isn't satisfying anymore. God is satisfying, and these games do not have God in them. They don't even have a God flavor to them. That isn't to say that playing these games are sinful, or that they cannot be good entertainment from time to time, in moderation, being enjoyed as a gift from God rather than your sole purpose of living, thus becoming your god.

What I am trying to say is that- I WANT  video games to satisfy me! I want music, reading, artwork, movies at the theatre, to satisfy me. And I say that not in a "I want these things to be my life and not live for Jesus anymore" but rather I am saying this in a "I want these things to be used IN MY LIVING FOR JESUS!."

Does that make sense? I think that God wants us to use all these areas- reading, writing, movies, video games, art, etc., to glorify Him. I think people have that calling, that gift, I believe that some Christians are called, as part of the body of Christ, to make great movies, video games, artwork, etc., for God's glory.

But we don't see a lot of that, and I think it is because many pastors discourage it, thinking it not important and frivolous. I'll talk about why I think the church is like that in my next post.

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