“Your princess is in another castle.” “The cake is a lie.” “You have died of dysentery.” I considered a lot of game quotes for the title of this article. You’ll understand why I went with “It’s dangerous to go alone” soon enough.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
Yes, I’m going to tie this verse into gaming.
I mean, look at the verse. It says, “whatever you do”. Not just, “When you’re attending church.” Or, “When you’re praying with your family.” Or, “When you’re serving at the soup kitchen.”
It says, “whatever you do.”
That means gaming too.
Of course, there are so many ways for us to not glorify God when we’re gaming. These include:
• Cheating (I mean, obviously).
• Trolling other players.
• Berating your sibling for tripping over the power cord mid-boss fight and forcing you to start over.
• Holing up to play video games for days at a time and ignoring your family and friends in the process, making them legitimately concerned for your well-being.
It’s this sort of behavior that gives gaming a bad rap. But here’s the thing. You can fail to glorify God in just about anything you do in life. Even seemingly Christ-like behaviors can have un-Christ-like motivations. Don’t believe me? Consider the following people:
• The person who attends church, not because of their love for God, but because it’s what they think is expected of them.
• The person who prays with their family as a means of guilt-tripping their family members, instead of praying for their edification.
• The person who serves at a soup kitchen, not because they wish to serve those in need, but because they want to be seen as a good person by others (politicians do it all the time).
In everything we do, we need to consider our motivation and whether it’s pleasing to God. When it comes to gaming, we ought to consider questions like, “Is this beneficial for me?” and, “Is this beneficial for others?” If you ask yourself those questions and the answer is no, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop gaming. It might just mean you need to work harder to conduct yourself in a Christ-like way while gaming.
So, how can you glorify God through gaming? Here are some ways!
• Don’t cheat. (Obviously.) But more than that, be an upstanding player. Follow the rules which have been established for any given game or playthrough. Be a good example for other players. Gain a reputation as someone who can be trusted.
• Be kind to others. No matter the situation. Whether you find yourself facing off against the most irritating player you’ve ever encountered or you’re the most gifted troll on planet earth, you’re still called to treat others well. And look for opportunities to encourage others. That might mean complimenting a player on their most recent speedrun, rooting for them to complete a particularly difficult level, or speaking up on their behalf should others bully them. Think of ways people in your life have supported you, and then show others that same support.
• Be patient with others. I’ve had family members accidentally save over my save data. Multiple times. While my first instinct in those situations was to, you know, rage at them—that rage would have done nothing in my favor in the long term. It would have only served to make my family member feel worse than they already felt. And relationships should always be prioritized above gameplay.
• Remember: It’s dangerous to go alone. Depending on what you’re going through in life, video games can seem like the perfect escape. They’re an entirely different world where you have control over your surroundings and the security of knowing that if you work hard enough, you can make everything right. But two things happen when you use video games in this way. One, you end up withdrawing from friends and family. You might find solace in the world of a game, but no matter how good the game, it’s not a worthy substitution for real relationships with others. Two, you do nothing to better your current circumstances. As long as you remain absorbed in a game, your problems are still real and still just outside. In order for them to go away, you have to do the work of dealing with them in the real world, no matter how difficult they may be.
(ProTip: If you’re in search of community, consider joining a LifeGroup. Or, even better, start a LifeGroup for gamers! Pray together and play together!)
Of course, there are so many other ways you can glorify God through gaming. You just have to keep an eye out for them and follow Christ’s lead. And once you’re on that path, keep on it, regardless of what other non-gamers might think or say. Twitch is just as much a mission field as any real-life location.