Faith is not a game, it’s the real deal for when things get real. And things get real quite a lot in life. You can’t fake it, there are no cheats or codes. When the poo hits the fan, you really get to see if you were paying attention in class.
That said however, I do like to to think of faith in terms of a video game, perhaps a bit of a retro video game before they got all violent and graphic. Asteroids, Pac Man, Mario, and of course, Zelda. Throw in a bit of Mad Alice and Starfox for good measure.
You have to gobble up a lot of dots and shoot space debree as you walk through life. So, it’s really important to have the sword of truth on you at all times, and written on the tablet of your heart. That would be the Bible. I can’t memorize nothing for anything, but there have been times the Holy Spirit has still hauled those words up, words I don’t even remember reading, in fact I didn’t even understand their relevance until that very moment.
So, always carry a sword. Only a moron goes into battle unarmed. Like it or not, you are in a battle. You may not have chosen it, but trust me, it chose you.
Second you need the armor of God. Ephesians 6. Don’t forget the last part pray always, all the time, for all. It’s the “all” passage, as in all, always.
Third, I need my anointing oil! Anoint thyself. I make them up all the time and give them away, too. You don’t need anything fancy, olive oil will work. You don’t “need” anything fancy, but if you want, add some rose or chocolate or peppermint. There is just something wonderful about a physical, tangible expression of faith, like ashes on Lent. Some people lay hands, some people like oil.
Long ago we had a pastor who would say, you’ve forgotten your sword, you’ve lost your oil, and you aren’t wearing any armor. If this were a video game, you’d be dead by now! It used to make me laugh because that is exactly how it works in a video game. You have to strengthen your character with supplies or else you’re going to be gasping on the ground, bleeding out life points.
That’s how it is in a video game and that’s how it is in real life.
I think that for much of my younger life, I didn’t even realize there was a spiritual war going on all around me and so you really need to buckle up. I think that is true in much of the Western Christian world. There is a lot of complacency, a lot of cultural Christianity, a lot of failure to understand that this is not a game. We’re aren’t just playing “faith.” It’s serious business, a matter of life and death, a matter of souls really.
The poo has hit the fan in my life a few times now, and I was totally shocked, completely surprised to see my faith hold up, to see that God was right there, to discover it works. I kind of picture a kid getting thrown into a pool as if to say, well, let’s see if you have learned to swim yet! So sheer terror and panic at first, but then you discover that not only can you swim, but it’s kind of fun out in the pool!
That’s what those tests of faith are all about. God already knows what you can do and how you will perform. You need to know what you can do.
He will never leave you nor forsake you, now matter how ill-equipped you are, but the journey sure is going to be a whole lot more pleasant for you, if you remember your gear.
….You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed my head with oil.
My cup overflows…. Psalm 23