Daily Devotional for Sunday December 31, 2006
Can Playing Video and Computer Games Be Bad
(Philippians 4:7; Proverbs 4:23)
The world of video games has surely changed since the days of "Pong" and "Pac Man." Those innocent games are long gone, having been replaced by video and computer games that promote and glorify every kind of evil, debauchery, and sin the human mind could possibly dream up. While these incredibly violent and often sexual "games" are primarily marketed to young adults, even though many have "adult only" warning labels, they are being played by children as young as 10. A very popular genre of games are played "real time" on the computer via high speed internet connections with people all over the world. Most of these video and computer games involve the player taking on a role or character and the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred.
Over the 88 months of Liveprayer, I have seen an alarming increase in the number of prayer requests from people regarding this issue. It is clearly a cultural problem that has not received much attention, but I can tell you from the real lives I deal with every single day, it is a growing and increasing issue in many lives from young children all the way to adults in their 40s and 50s. It is still primarily a problem faced by men. However, 20 years ago pornography was largely a male problem and I can assure you that today there are as many women in bondage to pornography as men.
Now many people are probably wondering with all of the problems in the world, all of the problems people face each day, what the big deal about people playing video and computer games is. The big deal breaks down in four main areas. First, it desensitizes people, especially children, to violence and death. Second, it blurs the line between reality and fantasy and many people lose sight of how to live in the real world. Third, many of these games deal with demonic things like witchcraft, sorcery, wizardry, and the occult. It opens the door to satan in the lives of those who play these games. Lastly, these games can become addictive to the point people stop going to work, stop taking care of their families, literally become so consumed that nothing else in their life matters.
One of the worst things about the latest generation of these computer and video games is the incredible amount of violence and death. Killing is the ultimate goal to "win" many of these games. This is not healthy for a mature adult let alone a teenager or child. It leads people to not respect life and minimizes what a special gift from God life is and how important each person is who has been created in God's image. All of these games require those who play them to either become a character, or take on some role in playing the game. The incredible technology of our day has made these games seem so realistic, many people who play them often begin to lose sight of what is reality and what is fantasy.
A real spiritual issue is the demonic presence in so many of these video and computer games. They literally take those who play them into the demonic world through the character's involvement in things like magic, witchcraft, and sorcery. Never underestimate for a moment the pure and unadulterated evil of many of these games. The fact is many people become addicted to these games and they are no different than an alcoholic or a drug addict. They share the same problems. They end up losing their job. They quit being responsible for their families. They become anti-social. There is a real and legitimate bondage to these video and computer games like any other bondage you can name.
The Holy Spirit has led me to bring out this issue today because I know many who are reading these words are battling with this in their life right now, or have a family member or friend who is. Let me make this clear to you. AN ADDICTION TO VIDEO AND COMPUTER GAMES IS JUST AS REAL AS BEING ADDICTED TO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL AND EQUALLY AS DESTRUCTIVE! Just like I warn you to stay away from alcohol, to stay away from drugs, to stay away from abusing food, to not gamble, today I am warning you to be very careful when it comes to video and computer games.
Don't even play those games that are full of violence and death. There is a great computer adage, "garbage in, garbage out." There is nothing positive about watching and participating in violence and death, even if it is a game. You wouldn't eat garbage out of a dumpster, why would you put garbage into your mind! Run from these games that are clearly demonic and promote the things of satan. Don't open your life and allow the enemy to have access to your heart and mind, even through something that may seem as innocent and harmless as a video or computer game. Parents, you need to be aware of the games your child has access to!!!
I realize that there are some more wholesome games out there. Like anything in life, we have to have balance and keep our priorities in order. Just keep in mind that they can be very addicting and to check yourself from time to time that you are not spending too much of your time playing these games or that it is affecting in any way your real life. If you are neglecting your family responsibilities, if it is keeping you from being with other people, if it is getting to the point it is all you think about, you need to step back and realize that you could be getting addicted to these games. Just like you can become addicted to something as necessary as food, just like you can become addicted to something as necessary as shopping, you can also become addicted to something as seemingly harmless and innocent as a video or computer game.
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today. Praying for those reading this today who are in bondage to video or computer games to open your heart to the Lord and hear His voice speaking to you today. He wants to set you free. I pray that you will ask the Lord for the strength to find freedom from this bondage, find people who love and care about you to stand with you in prayer and hold you accountable, and that as you walk in His strength each day, you will walk in His victory over this bondage to video and computer games. I will also be praying for those in your life who may be addicted to these video and computer games. Praying that they will come to a place of surrender and acknowledge this problem in their life and allow the Lord to free them from their bondage to these games.
You are not going to hell for playing a video or computer game. But you need to be aware of the incredible damage playing these games can possibly do to your life. We know that satan's mission is to kill, steal, and destroy. He will use all kinds of ways to do that, even using something that seems as harmless as a video or computer game. Guard your heart and mind at all times. While satan's goal is to destroy your life anyway that he can, God's desire is that you have life and have life more abundantly!