If you wanted to find a topic which divides opinions and interest, I think computer games is up there! If you don’t play games, I’d be willing to bet you have doubts they serve society in a positive way. And even for those of us who play games, I think there’s often a mix of feelings – we can argue that they’re good for ‘down time’, they teach problem solving skills and they can be a forum for socialising (we need to reach nerds as well). But it’s hard to deny that games, for many, are time vortexes, sucking hours that could otherwise be spent more fruitfully!
So should we as Christians, who have surrended our lives to Jesus, be using our (his) time to play games?
I think to answer to this, we need to ask a more foundational question – am I living my whole life for Jesus and his kingdom? Or are there idols (eg. comfort) which need to be pwned (killed)?
Have a read of this article for some helpful thoughts on the topic.
Great Post! I’m not much into video games myself but every now and then I come across an app on my phone that tempts me to spend my time tapping a little screen in the pursuit of imaginary glory. And I confess – it’s very hard to justify!
So should I delete the app and invest those few minutes a day pursuing real-world glory for Jesus? The answer seems obvious but I don’t want to do it. And whether its video games or iphone apps or any number of other things, that’s the real issue isn’t it – are we going to do what’s good & right & best & loving & worthy of the calling we’ve received (Ephesians 4) or are we just going to do what we want to do…
I’ve read this article and of course cannot dispute what it says. But I do think we need to be wary here. Apply the same argument to playing football for instance, or kids watching ABC 3 and I can go on and on. We are all sinners and imperfect but I fear if we set these incredibly high standards we just separate ourselves from the world we should be mixing with. Jesus mixed with some unsavoury characaters and saved them. Should he have applied some of these rules????? Mind you I still agree that they are an ideal to to chased.
Great point, I totally agree. We don’t want to be making rules. I don’t want this to be seen as a condemnation against games or anyone who plays them. In fact, that would make me a hypocryte as I play games and I’m seriously considering writing computer games as a job after a year at bible college.
I actually believe games have benifits – as do other forms of art such as movies. And computer games add a new level of engagement as they’re interactive. This makes them an excellent forum for teaching (if only there were some decent Christian games!), they’re good for mental stimulation (unlike TV and movies) but they’re also a great way to engage non-christians.
All in all – I think games are a good God given thing. So it’s similar to playing football, watching ABC 3, or any of these things – we shouldn’t be making rules but checking our hearts – ‘are we using these things for God’s glory or are they replacing God?’. So engaging with lost people, like Jesus did, is a great way to use all these things for his Glory.
Hi David. Well put!. Couldn’t agree more!
Hi Dave and Peter,
It was an interesting article to read and even more, a topic that no doubt will continue to be discussed among Christians for many years to come, especially in this digital age. As a gamer myself I know all too well the dangers of playing games for extended periods of time and not spending time in gods word or with my family.
However on the flip side of that, I have met people from all around the world and still keep in contact with them. The challenge for me is to make sure that I use my time online for gods glory and not my own self interests, mixing leisure with gospel ministry. I have started to include talking about church and Christian schooling with some of the people I keep in contact with. Please pray that I may go further and share the hope that I have in Christ with them, while enjoying game (leisure) time.
As a recovered gaming addict their are dangers in video games, the addiction for me came through playing the games for long periods at a time creating new bio-chemical pathways in my brain, the same type as someone on heroine and cocaine this happens to all who play for long times. Massive lows when not playing, angry, sad and a false view on reality, on the highs happy as a pig in mud felt free from the world outside my mind.
I do have a console at home my kids do play games but with great restriction on time and on the type of games they are playing. They are ok but put restrictions on them the same with tv. Like all things they can quickly become another idol in our lives which robs us time with God.
Hi Mark & Trev,
Thanks for sharing your experiences. It’s so true that games pose a very real danger for us to escape reality and our God given responsibilities. There’s plenty of articles suggesting that we’re facing a ‘video game crisis’, with now both men and women neglecting responsibilities such as family.
We obviously need to acknowledge though that sin originates from our hearts (not a video game box). And since it comes from us, it’s not a matter of how much should we use this ‘sinful media’ (if that were the case we shouldn’t touch games). But we should determine if our sin will increase if we play games (or certain games) by wasting time, neglecting responsibilities or avoiding responsibilities altogether. For some that will mean not playing games at all, others, playing only certain games, but at the very least I think we need strict boundaries. For me, I find I get too addicted by a lot of the ‘big publisher’ games so I avoid them and stick to smaller independant games. Far more fun and innovative anyway 🙂
Here’s another article that seems to be well thought out:
So you are saying I should not buy video games but instead use it for something else. I honestly do find it hard to say this but why can’t we use our money for fun things like video games. I know it sounds materialistic and it is but with out fun I get stressed so bad I go into depression. And my job has caused me to be sucidle at least 37 times and have been in Richmond Clinic 25 times in total and the only way to relax for me is to do something I find fun. So what can I do if I can not buy things to entertain?
Dave (who wrote this post) has finished up on staff at SCPC and is heading up to Brisbane for a year of Bible college at the Queensland Theological College. But I didn’t want your comment to go unnoticed!
You’ve asked a very practical and obviously personal question. I could have a go at answering here but I reckon it’d be heaps more helpful if we were to catch up in person. Feel free to get in touch with me by hitting the “contact” tab and getting in touch by phone or sending an email.
Sorry but I will not be able to as I am moving to taipei for work this monday and by the way that was not actually me that was a friend he wanted to see what you would say to his response in a few different matters as he is not a Christian himself but is searching around for answeres. I am A christian a love ministry and that is why I willing am moving to taipei aswell as for work and mission, so I let him write that statement using my name and e-mail. I am sorry if he offended you in any way shape or form. sorry he does not want to meet up with you yet but may in the future so please be open for almost any time. I pray for him every day that e would come to know God and jesus’s death and resurection, he is one of my closest friends and soon may be even moving to taipei and living near me. So I beg you to remain ready incase he decides to ask more questions.
May God bless your family
From your brother in Christ Jake
Hey this is Levi Voltz and I was wanting to know more about how God looks at entertainment for christians. And what is ok and what is not good for a christian.
Thanks from Levi
A good short message from Ted Tripp
Just noticed your post, and that’s a great question!
I think the best place to start is what we’ve learning from the talks in the ‘from God for God’ series. That the bible shows us that everything is from God and for God. So thinking about it from an entertainment perspective –
1. Everything he creates is for his glory – ourselves and entertainment. We only enjoy entertainment because he made us that way, so we should give him thanks for that.
2. We also learned that we try to steal his glory (sin), and so what was made good is used in a distorted way to glorify ourselves and dishonor him.
3. But God is really glorified when Jesus redeems us, by dying in our place so that we live for him.
And here’s the hard thing to get your head around – he hasn’t just redeemed us (made us right – to give him glory), but he’s also redeemed stuff! Stuff like money, technology, entertainment can now be used, not selfishly, but to give him glory again.
So what should we do for entertainment? Well, whatever gives him glory! Whatever helps you to point people to God and his character. Unfortunately there’s no list of God glorifying entertainment. Sometimes it’s obvious what to avoid, other times it’s something that you have to think through. Could be a great thing to discuss at youth or GC.
The big danger is to think legalistically – like ‘what am I allowed/not allowed to do?’. It needs to be a desire out of gratitude for what Jesus has done. Keep wrestling with it, it’s a great question to keep asking.
I have spent a lot of time playing computer games, but recently in the past year or so have found that I am playing a lot less, and finding better entertainment options are getting easier all the time. My cutting back on gaming time is, however, more a provision from God in that I have given up playing a lot of things because of low computer speeds, not because I wanted to stop. Anyway, just thought I would put my two cents in. ;P
That’s quite funny Ethan, and cool at the same time. Great to hear that God’s opened the door for you to find some better options and that you’ve taken the opportunity he’s provided.
And what a lesson for parents – maybe there’s some wisdom in not forking out for the fastest and most expensive internet connection :-)!