“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b)

I love the game Team Fortress 2. I go through phases where I play it for hours a day. The purpose of the game varis depending on which server you join, but for the sake of a soon-to-be-mentioned analogy, let’s say that I am playing Capture the Flag.

When I join a CtF server, I am immediately informed of the objective of the game. I am told that I need to break into the opposing team’s castle to steal their “intelligence” and return it to my base. I must work with the other players on my team to achieve this goal, and we will all be awarded with points if we succeed. I click on a door to join a team, either Red or Blue. After just a few minutes of playing, one thing is made quite evident: not everyone on my team has the same objective. Through my Logitech speakers, I can hear the obnoxious obscenity of a 12 year old boy who thinks he’s cooler if he runs around insulting “noobs” and objectifying women. He does not care about winning; he feels as though he’s won every time he gets a laugh. Then there are the snipers. Oh, the snipers. They accomplish nothing for the team other than killing opposing snipers. Honestly, all of them could be removed from the game, and the rounds would play out quite similarly. The snipers’ only goal is to get lots of kills. They don’t care about the intelligence. They feel as though they’ve won every time they look through the scope and click a millisecond faster than their opponent. (Don’t get me wrong, the sniper is one of my favorite characters to play in TF2!!) Also, there are hackers. They find their way into impossible places and just stay there to show off their hacking skills. They feel as though they’ve won every time someone asks them how they got there, but they aren’t getting the team any closer to the intelligence. Lastly, there are the achievement-seekers. They kill mindlessly just to try to get achievements. They don’t care about capturing the flag unless that is a required aspect of an achievement they are trying to get. They feel like they’ve won every time a trophy appears above their head announcing that they are the proud recipient of yet, another achievement. The truth is, though, they aren’t winning.

I’m not sure how far I can stretch this analogy, but bear with me nonetheless. As believers, followers, and mimickers of Christ, we are called to live and think in a spiritual realm while surrounded by a physical world. Earth is not where we belong, and in some incomprehensible way, it is not as real or as important as the world that we can’t see. It’s almost as if it is a video game in which we control a character. The goals of this game are somewhat unclear if we don’t know who to believe. We hear advice from our friends, family, televisions, billboards, teachers, and all outlets of media and advertising. We are told to work hard, make money, find people who accept us, gain fame, earn respect, maintain power, get/give love, etc. We are all trying to figure out how to “win” at the game of life–to find what brings us joy and fulfillment.

If we love God, then we acknowledge that He brings us more joy than anything else. If I love God, then money loses its appeal. If I love God, then all of the things that are tempting to pursue in the game of life would become meaningless. If I really do love God more than anything else, then I could lose my home, my mind, my friends, my family, and every penny in my bank (which is not many) and still be satisfied because the ONE PERFECT THING remains. He always will be there. If I love God, then I would sing about Him all the time. I would declare His truths to the world, even if it meant that I was regarded as gullible or crazy. If I love God, then I’m guaranteed to “win” at life because He’s already given His love to me. So often, however, I try to gain achievements and snipe random players, neither of which are drawing me any closer to succeeding. Even though I know exactly what the objective is in this life—to seek and love God with everything I am—I often get caught up in the game. But if I love and worship God, then I have to commit to having Him as my number one priority above everything else.

“Worship is simply about value. The simplest definition I can give is this: Worship is our response to what we value most. That’s why worship is that thing we all do. It’s what we’re all about on any given day. Because worship is about saying, “This person, this thing, this experience (this whatever) is what matters most to me…it’s the thing I put first in my life.”… As a result, worship determines our actions, becoming the driving force for all we do” (Louie Giglio, WIRED for a Life of Worship).

So here’s the challenge I’m facing. If I love God, then every single thing I do on Earth should be to glorify Him. If I TRULY love God, then it won’t just be my ideas and intentions that put Him first, but it will be every single thing I say and do. I will seek to lose all desires for things that I know won’t last. I’ll eventually log off of Team Fortress 2, and when I’m playing the game, that thought is always in my mind. We’ll all be “logging off” of life soon (in the great expanse of eternity, our years on Earth are so little…) and everything we do here to gain extra points or kills or respect (analogously speaking, of course) will have NO VALUE FOR US IN THE END.

There is a quote that I think acts as a great source of conviction and awakening as to what I actually pursue in life. I feel like I often love God for His “stuff” instead of being madly in love with HIM alone.  I heard a sermon on it at my old church a few months ago, and then I came across it again in the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It is a quote by John Piper in his book God is the Gospel, and it forced me to consider what I am truly pursuing, what I truly worship.

“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?”

So if I love God, then everything changes. I don’t ever need to be disappointed or feel empty because a life seeking after our perfect, righteous, beautiful, creative, glorified King is the most fulfilling life I could ever consider.