(Please ignore title of this post's reference to the catchy 1997 smash single by Jewel.  It's pure coincidence.)

Games have gotten the better of me lately.  Online games.  iPad games.  Even the cheesy pre-loaded smartphone Solitaire.  I've given serious amounts of time to them.  Now I look at the list of stuff I wanted to accomplish over the week, and it's sad to think of how much more I could've been crossed off the list if I would've stopped trying to get a high score in Crossword Cove and started being, well, productive.

Let me start by saying this -- I don't think gaming is inherently evil.  Entertainment is not a bad thing.  However, if entertainment comes at the sacrifice of getting stuff done, then it might be worth re-thinking.  And if it comes at the sacrifice of getting stuff done that God has specifically called you to do, then you should already be re-thinking it.  (And yes, I'm speaking to myself on this.)

Colossians 3:23 reminds us that "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."  I'm sure someone has the perfect exception for this verse, which probably goes something like this: But Mike, beating all 47 levels of Super Louie Kablooie without taking a break is "working at it with all my heart!"  C'mon!  

Please don't kid yourself.  Imagine the conversation that each of us will undoubtedly have with our Creator at the end of our life.  Is a huge hard-drive of music, list of watched movies, or winning streak in Solitaire something that He'll look at and say, Wow.  Nice work.  I'm thrilled that you spent all that time and energy working on those.  Or will He show us the list of things that He wanted to accomplish through us but didn't happen because of our unexplainable commitment to entertainment?

Again, please don't get me wrong.  I love free time.  I love doing things with my wife, family, and friends.  I love relaxing, playing, goofing, and being downright dorky.  But I need to take a strong look at how I manage my "non-free time" so that it doesn't suspiciously start looking identical to my "free time."

Brad Brinson said that as he responds to when God speaks, he would rather err on the side of obedience rather than on the side of fear.  Among other areas in my life, I definitely feel that way about this "foolish games" thing.  Cutting free-time-stuff out of my non-free-time is going to make life look drastically different than it does now, but I'd rather offer God more time and energy than He's asking of me instead of simply dialing the distractions back a notch and still falling short of what He wants from me.  

We were "bought with a price [by Him]; therefore honor God with your body" (1 Cor. 6:20).  That is, honor Him with your life.  I'm convinced that offering the time and energy that I've been giving to lesser things will be better used, now that it's in His hands.

So if anyone sees a new high score posted on my online gaming account, you have every right to give me a spiritual smackdown.

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