Faith Lessons from Video Games

Video games and faith

Video game extraordinaire I am not.

Recently, my husband was delayed in joining a video game online with a friend- so I thought I’d be funny and hop on for him. I knew they could make their characters dance and wave silly, so that was my plan. Trouble is- I didn’t know how to do that. In the process of trying to humorously jump around, I invited enemies to come attack by shooting at my partner and launching grenades up like smoke signals.

Despite my obvious bent towards Murphy’s Law while gaming, I seem to be reminded of faith lessons while watching (or attempting) to participate.

Here are a few spiritual insights gained a la gaming:

When You Drive into Walls, There May Not Be a Reverse Option

Sometimes we hit walls in life. The money runs out, plans fall through, tragedy strikes. Stuck and frustrated are usually associated emotions.

When we hit metaphoric walls, we tend to look for reverse. We want to back up, swivel, and then move on. But, as many racing games have taught me, reverse isn’t always an option. We often can’t get back that last dollar, missed opportunity, or season of life.

What we can do? Start over. Begin anew. God, in His grace, is masterful at making good out of restarts.

Nothing Exists that Wasn’t Created

One game my husband enjoys was created using an algorithm that propagated worlds “independently.” The creators gave a generator a bunch of tools, set it in motion, and now they (along with gamers!) get to explore what the game “came up with.”

Despite the diversity and wonder of the “spontaneous” creations of this video game, there are basic rules to what exists. Creatures are always reminiscent of creatures, flora of flora, and technology of technology. Even in virtual reality there isn’t anything new under the sun, and everything we create comes from something already in existence.

That makes God’s creation of everything out of nothing all the more spectacular.

How a video game can make us think about God's creation

People Really Like to Rebel

There’s a classic gamer video famous for the line “Leroy Jenkins!” If my understanding is correct, the video is of a game a group of people have been slowly, carefully playing. They are just about to accomplish the mission as a team when player Leroy Jenkins, shouting his own name, storms in alone in rebellion for the heck of it. Everyone’s game is wrecked.

While we’re not always so maniacal, we all like to rebel. We all like to see what happens if we run off the cliff in the video game, throw the other players, or light something on virtual fire.

Whether we admit it or not, we are rebels at heart. Sin appeals. We like to push boundaries and break rules.

There is an Edge of the World

Hail, Columbus! There is an edge of the world in video games. Some games create a visual to indicate an endless expanse- but eventually, you run out of what’s been created and are forced to turn back to what virtually exists.

The truth is, we will never get beyond all limits on earth. There are always limits. But God is unlimited. He set the boundaries of the world and marked out day and time as we know them.

It’s going to be exciting when He makes all things new!

There is always a Mission

Many games have clear stories to work through and objectives to meet. Some are just about exploring and discovering at leisure. Others, like Wii games, are purposed to get us up and moving. Games always have some mission. Or else we wouldn’t play them.

Like it or not, we are designed with purpose and for meaningful activity. What we do, we do for a reason. When we forget our reasons or opt for poor purposes, we get bored. And then we quit at things. Because we know there’s a point, and we want to live it.

Made in God’s image, we are made for more than just existing. And we know it.

Do you game? What unexpected insights have you gained from participating in or watching something just for fun?

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6 Replies to “Faith Lessons from Video Games

  1. This was a fun post with great lessons! I am the world’s worst at video games! I think the main thing I learned was about second chances and trying again, but then I just realised I was never going to be any good at it and figured there were better ways to spend my time! 🙂

    1. We can compete for world’s worst…loser wins? : ) Haha. I agree on the 2nd chances lesson and that there are better ways to spend my time!

  2. Oh Bethany, this is good! My kids are gamers. I, fortunately for the gaming world, am not. But oh, how this post resonates. I’m going to pin this puppy and share it with my gaming boys. Blessings! #rechargeWednesday

  3. I’m definitely not a gamer, but have plenty of family members who enjoy it. I love the lessons you gleaned. I’ll have to share them when my grandkids talk to me about their games.

    1. I’m not either, but it’s fun to look for lessons in them! I hope your grandkids enjoy relating games to truth with you!

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