Monday, December 31, 2012

Level Complete, Keep Playing!

A few video games have been played in our house this Christmas vacation.  I can hear the kids playing now - or at least the bickering anyway.  Jeff has been trying to complete one over the break, too - even having to listen to some tutorials online about how to get through certain parts.

I'm about the furthest thing from a 'gamer,' but here are a few things I've observed about video games:
  • The games are challenging.  If Mario could take a leisurely stroll right up to the Princess without jumping over barrels or worrying about Donkey Kong, what would the point be?  If you could see the end and walk right to it with no bumps along the way - it would probably be considered a pretty lame game.  Would you improve your 'gaming' skills at all?
  • Some games are easier if you have someone else to partner up with to help you through, give you hints or cheats, or work together to complete something. (As I hear Emily instructing Evan what to do as they try again.)
  • Most games have complex levels/worlds/tasks to complete within the big game.  Once you have completed one, you go on to the next and you don't go back to the one before.
  • There is an end, a prize, to all of them.  Whether it is a fun little song or your character dancing around, there is a sense of accomplishment when you have completed all the tasks, mastered all of the side-stories, and defeated all the enemies.
Looking back over this past year, we can probably identify several tasks and side-stories we had to complete and enemies we had to fend off.  We've been given second chances, or new lives, or forgiveness over and over. Other players have come along side us to help us through a hard spot so we didn't get hit in the knees by a rolling barrel or fall off the road into the dark.  We've helped other players, too, realizing that we are all playing together on the same team and for the same attainable prize. We've stumbled, we have fallen, we've made bad decisions, we have done the opposite of what we are supposed to do - and can't explain why.  We have learned something new each time we tried which will make it easier the next time. We have consulted the Writer of the game to see what He suggested we do - and feel privileged that the Creator of the game cares about how we play it.  It's best played if we don't look back to completed tasks, knowing that we can not change what has already been played and it will only distract us from our current performance.  Occasionally we've looked up and have seen the goal and it became downright overwhelming and we wondered if we will ever get there.  We've wondered if we should even continue!  Putting one foot in front of the other, picking up coin after coin monotonously became tiring at times.  Trying to figure out what the next step was has been painful.  We have been reminded that, as chosen players, we have a unique advantage - some 'cheats/help' which are already inside of us - in the form of our Helper.  As we've pressed through in level 2012, we have made improvements in ourselves, our abilities, our wisdom, and our skills. We have gotten one step closer to the prize and more like the One who wrote the game.  Our prize isn't just flashing lights and fun music - although I'm sure there will be a Light and music like none other!  Our prize is the ultimate Prize. And to hear the Writer say, "well played!" will be amazing!
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

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