Friday, March 29, 2013

Are Video Games a Tool of the Devil?

I'm going to share this from a deeply personal level in the hope that others who share most or part of this story can take an honest look at their own lives and behaviours and ask themselves, 'Is this what I really want?  Or is this done to distract and deny me my own potential?'

I've been really struggling with writing this post.  In part because I don't want my fellow video game fans to think I'm hating on their favorite past-time.   I'm not.  I love video games, or more specifically the gamer scene and that is the problem.

What was once a temporary diversion to fill the dead space in between real life activities or a forum to enjoy real life social interaction, has become a rather ridiculous habit that does nothing to add real value to my life.

The devil has taken something innocuous and enjoyable and used it as a tool against me as the devil so often tends to do.   Video games are not in and of themselves evil.  Sure some are indeed overtly violent or even deal in demonic themes but for every Call of Duty or Doom there is an Angry Birds or Wii Sports.  The games themselves are not the problem, it is in how we use them.

There are two forces ever-present in our lives, even if we remain blithefully oblivious to them.
First there is the presence of the Holy Spirit, there to guide us to our God-given destiny.  A life of love, purpose and a peace beyond understanding - which we all struggle to arrive at.  The spirit whispers to us and we need to learn to attune ourselves to hear it.

Second there is the devil, always looking for ways to delay or deny us from ever achieving that destiny and from ever fulfilling that purpose.   The enemy is loud, attention seeking and forever promising fun, ease and a simpler - if less fulfilling - way.

In a more down-to-Earth sense, there are those things that more you towards your desired goals and those things that move you away.  I don't think this is an issue of debate for anyone.

And unless you work in the games industry there is no real debate on where games themselves fall.  There are a distraction.   That is not a crime and can at times feel like a blessing but when we have people who identify themselves as 'gamers', who play for hours a day, who constantly read up on the lastest news on the latest upcoming games, who spend countless more hours on forums discussing and arguing over those same games and game systems, buying more games than they can actually play, creating a backlog of unfinished games and even a backlog games that have never even been opened or played; we need to step back and reassess.

I myself have fallen into this trap.  While I don't actually spend a lot of time playing, two to three hours a week, I spend far, far too much time reading and discussing games and the industry on the net.   Yes, I enjoy it.   But is it harmless?

If you identify yourself as a gamer add up the amount of time you spend reading about, discussing, shopping for, and playing games.   Now answer this: If you took that same time, money, energy and passion and devoted it over however many years you've been a gamer to some worth while cause - be it writing a book, starting a business, finding a life partner, helping others, advancing your career, getting a higher education or whatever else seems good to you - where would you be in life right now?

For myself, I probably spend about 30 minutes playing either at home on or my smartphone - yes it counts - an hour reading game related news and about three or four hours on forums in pointless debate over how games and games systems are going to do.    That's about five hours a day.  Effortless hours as I do it for fun and do not consider it work, but it is, work is involved, it's just effort without lasting reward.   I'd estimate I've spend about $2,000.00 over the last six years on games and game accessories - and that's only because I'm notoriously cheap and spent an average of $20 per game.   And yes, I have an enormous backlog that eventually had to be excused as a 'collection' because I probably won't live long enough to finish them all.

$2,000 over six years isn't really a great deal of money and at best might have paid for some evening college courses.  Five hours a day though, over six years?  That is a tremendous amount of lost potential.  I could have written and gotten published multiple books.  If I applied that to my Isagenix business I'd be a millionaire by now.  This is a little disingenuous though as much of that wasted time is wasted at work, killing time waiting for something to do.  Yes, I am highly under-employed.  No I'm not complaining, but it is not the  benefit you might think, rather it is a dreadful bore.    Regardless, even if some of that time was put to focused thought on how to improve my life, daily, there is no doubt that I would be living a higher quality of life than I am now.   And I spend those five hours obeying the holy spirit?   It brings tears to my eyes to know the difference not only to my life, but to my kids and to countless others lives if I had acted with that same passion, and effortless joy to what the spirit bade me to do.

I've always considering my habit 'harmless' but now the spirit has revealed to me the truth.  That it has a very real cost.   Time that I cannot reclaim (but for the grace of God) opportunities lost, bad habits past on to my children and aiding and abiding others in there own unhealthy gaming passions.

What saddens me further is knowing, from my years on forums there are countless others who spend far more time playing, far more time on forums discussing and far more money buying games than I.  To them I am a 'casual' gamer for they are the 'core'.  I am not better than they, only more blessed by having other demands on my time and money.  

If you identify or relate to what I'm saying, then do as I have started doing.  Rebuking that devil!  Now when I feel tempted to read about what's happening in the gaming scene, or log-on to a gaming forum or look to see what sale there might be on games (like I need another one) I rebuking the devil for trying to waste my time, my money, my passion and my life.   Instead I the holy spirit and what God would have me doing at that moment.

I am not perfect at it.  Out of habit I still find myself 'taking a peek' but I am getting better, the urge is getting less, the passion for the games and moreover the gaming culture is dwindling and I am able to focus on more meaningful things.  Things that are better my life, my families lives and hopefully, God willing, yours as well.


1 comment:

  1. Its true. Video games are of the devil and indeed take away too much time out of you. I used to play like more than 5 hours, especially weekends. Just get away from it and don't look back to video games.

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