When I grew up, my life revolved around video games. My childhood memories are tinged with the glow of virtual worlds, the exhilaration of the next level, the camaraderie with other gamers. But as I matured, I found the games becoming less of an enjoyment and more of a compulsion.
I rationalized it by comparing my life to characters in the game, The Sims. They had eight bars of needs and desires, and when they played video games, their ‘fun’ bar filled up. I thought the same principle would apply to me, that I could satisfy my need for fun by playing more. I was wrong. The ‘fun’ never seemed to satisfy, only demanding more hours, more levels, more victories.
This craving began to interfere with my life. It affected my academics, my relationships, and my sleep. But most importantly, it disrupted my spiritual connection with God. My mind would wander to video games during prayer, and they would occupy my thoughts more than the teachings of the Bible. I realized this when I attended the 2003 Winter Student Spiritual Convocation. It dawned on me how much video games had influenced my life and distanced me from my faith.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This verse resonated with me deeply. My life had become burdensome, filled with the labor of endless gaming, and I was in dire need of rest. I prayed earnestly, offering my burdens to Jesus, seeking His help to quit video games.
Over time, through the grace and mercy of God, I was able to quit gaming. But it wasn’t easy. The temptation was strong and persistent. It felt like a constant struggle between the spirit and the flesh. The transition was not swift, but slow and deliberate.
The Bible verse, Matthew 12:45, served as a stern warning to me. It reminded me that I needed to fill my life with God’s words and other meaningful activities, else I would succumb to other temptations. I took a vow, determined to never touch video games again, or face severe consequences. This decision was not easy, but I was sure it was necessary for my spiritual wellbeing.
Life after gaming was strange at first. Suddenly, I had vast amounts of time on my hands. But I discovered joys in simple activities – gardening, cooking, reading, and spending time with family. My academics improved, I got more involved with the campus fellowship, and my spiritual life flourished.
Now, sometimes I do feel left out when my friends get together to play video games. It sometimes brings up fond memories, especially of playing games with my younger brother. But as Paul said in Philippians 3:13, I am “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” I know my life is better without video games, and I am assured that there are many other ways to bond with my brother and friends.
In retrospect, my journey taught me the importance of balance in life. There’s a time for fun, and a time for work, a time for leisure, and a time for prayer. I learned that too much of anything, even something as innocuous as video games, can be detrimental. Balance is the key to a fulfilling life, a lesson I wish to impart to everyone caught in the whirlwind of life’s distractions.
I invite you to join us on this journey of faith and for the enrichment of your life by taking the first step in attending our service at our church located as follows:
4N550 Church Road
Bensenville, IL 60106
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