We had a great talk Sunday with students and adults at church answering the question, "Do the video games I play matter?"
We deepened that question by being specific as to where, what, and how often we played them.
The interesting aspect of this question is that it causes us to dig deep into all aspects of entertainment...TV, movies, the Internet, music
, etc. This is a HUGE question b/c of the practical implications on our everyday life (since we live in the middle of a culture of entertainment) and our Christian witness.
We brought up their use in church especially, discussing the positive and negative aspects of their use and how we go about maintaining a balance between extremes (no limits, whatever works = "pragmatism" VS. legalism, regulative principle ("only what the Bible specifically prescribes")).
Here are some great passages we referenced:1 Corinthians 8
- Christian Freedom - v.9 "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak."
We also spoke of how in 1 Corinthians 9
, especially verse 22 "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." ....is not referring to the emergent church philosophy of "look more like the world" but rather being willing to sacrifice
my own freedoms in order to reach others for Christ.
Continuing down the 1 Corinthians road...1 Corinthians 10
verses 23-24"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others"Romans 12:1-2
is also helpful in this sort of discussion..."1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. "Romans 14
is also a great reference showing how the diversity within the church should not lead to disunity. verse 5 "Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind."John 17:14-19, 2 Corinthians 1:12, John 15:18-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 2:10-14
A further evidence of the relevance of this question was apparent on my ride home today when I heard a discussion about the release of "Grand Theft Auto 4"
...sure to be one of the most popular video games ever. Does popular = OK
? For the world...yes. For the Christian??? Here is a good review of Grand Theft Auto 4.
Ultimately there is a test of Christian conscience through the work of the Holy Spirit...in order to ensure that we do not harden ourselves to sin (or compartmentalize certain sins) we must:
- Stay in the Word of God...so that we are moved and convicted (by the Holy Spirit) to holy and obedient living that is pleasing in the sight of God
- Allow other men and women of God to hold us accountable and confront us on sin in our lives
- Be willing to sacrifice anything that may have the grasp of an idol and/or be a stumbling block to others...without becoming so legalistic/Pharisaical (like the Pharisees...) that we begin to worship our own "goodness" or practice a "salvation by works"...