Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This Game of Life (Are You Playing?)

Man this life is tough! But, I don't need to tell you do I? As you read this there are probably immediate thoughts of the hardships you are facing in your life, right now. Possibly you're in (or freshly out of) a struggling relationship or maybe you have a child that is a bit more than a handful. Perhaps your issue is that the only thing more of a wreck than your finances is your health. Jobs, taxes, death, divorce, crime, right, wrong, good and evil. Yep! Life is hard.

It seems to be a never ending cycle of one thing after another. How is a person supposed to conquer this world when it won't slow down long enough for us to catch a breath? Conquer? Some of us would settle for a moment of peace. In reality we aren't meant to be conquerors. According to Paul in Romans 8, we are meant to be "more" than conquerors. More than conquerors!? Yeah, right.

I was watching one of those Narnia movies, Prince Caspian, I think it was and there was this scene where Edward was fighting some evil dude in an effort to win freedom for all those who were counting on him. They were fighting heavily and as they both got worn down, there was a call for respite, that is, a temporary pause in the fighting.

At the end of the 3 minutes, the fight recommenced and Edward won. However, another evil dude saw an opportunity to take power so he cheated and seized his moment. As if that was fair! I mean, this was war after all and if you can't play war fairly, what's the point, right?

This scene reminded me of when I was a kid playing a game of tag in the backyard. "Not it!" Yes, that game. There were rules to this game, remember? You couldn't tag someone if they were on base and you could call for a time out (or a respite) pretty much whenever you wanted. I usually reserved that for the split-second just before I got tagged. 

The problem I see is that many of us are living our lives as if it is a game. We even hear it referred to as the "game" of life. We act as if we are running away from the "it" and then just before we are caught, we call a time-out as if the "it" will patiently wait until we call a time-in.

Sometimes that timeout comes in the form of refusing to make a hard choice, as if not choosing isn't a choice in and of itself. Maybe your timeout comes through disengagement like television, video games or some other form of mind-numbing entertainment. Oftentimes it comes in the form of quite harmful behavior like wrong relationships, violence, chemical use or worse.

We become more than conquerors when we come to understand that our lives are no game. Our lives are a series of battles in a full-on war and we have a very real enemy that is seeking to destroy us. He does not give respite. He lies and cheats. He steals, kills and destroys. Calls of "time-out" don't magically stop his attacks.

The way we become more than conquerors is to fight constantly. The way we become more than conquerors is by being aware that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

We become more than conquerors by being vigilant, by worshiping God, and by understanding that the battle isn't yours anyway. This battle belongs to a loving God who cares for you and who has mapped out a battle plan for your life, if you are only willing to follow it.

There is no respite, no time-out, but there is a rest and a peace when we stand on His word and submit to His ways. I encourage you today to make that decision to get off the sidelines, don your armor, and fight back against the "it", Satan and his demons, that are continually coming for you.

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The author is husband to an amazing wife, father to two beautifully grown daughters and papaw to two of the cutest and smartest kids ever created. He is currently the associate pastor at Tabernacle of Praise in Crestline, Ohio and is available for speaking engagements. If you would like to discuss him speaking to your church or group, or writing for you, please contact him directly by e-mail at dwaynecastle40@yahoo.com or by phone at 419-961-1265.

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