When I was a teenager, I loved playing video games–specifically Madden football. My friends and I would play as many games as we could. Every spare minute was spent playing video games. Okay, maybe that’s not completely accurate. We would take a break to gorge ourselves with food or shoot a couple of baskets in the driveway.
But I was addicted to video games, addicted to entertainment.
I was a Christian at the time. And I remember very clearly how I always experienced a tension between spending time with my Savior and entertaining myself. This tension was between spending time reading the Bible, praying, & other spiritual disciplines and entertaining myself with video games. Unless I put in what seemed like enough quality “God Time” or had some sort of emotional high from my time with God, I would feel extremely guilty while I sat in a chair scoring touchdowns on the latest version of Madden.
Now, I wasn’t one of those people who only played video games and did nothing else. I was involved in my youth group, had a job, started a drama ministry team, and studied (a little) in college. But still, every spare minute I had was playing games; it was my release from the real world.
This addiction, along with the tension, carried on into my early twenties.
But this was more than an addiction. It was an escape, an escape from the stress and craziness of life.
I have recently learned that what I experienced more than 10 years ago is a real problem among young people, especially guys. Guys are getting stuck in this culture of false-reality. They want responsibility. They want to win the game. They want to be the superstar. They want to be the hero.
But it’s all fake. It’s just a lie. A false reality.
Guys are searching for meaning, purpose, and vision. And they’re trying to find it passively in video games, movies, and other forms of self-focused, self-satisfying entertainment. That’s what entertainment has become in America–a self-centered way of meeting a temporary, felt desire.
However, many forms of entertainment can be used for good. Video game tournaments, TV shows, and movies could be intentionally used in a way to foster an environment for meaningful community. But these forms of community limit us to the surface. We cannot experience deep, life-changing, purposeful community if we only play video games and watch movies. There is more…so much more!
While many guys sit on the couch playing video games and watching movies late into their twenties–and maybe even into their thirties–there is a broken world that is suffering. There are kids without food and water. There are moms trying to work two full-time jobs and raise a house full of kids because their husbands left them for other women. There is extreme poverty and injustice throughout the world, and young guys are just sitting on the couch. Even more than that, there are billions of people around the world who do not follow Jesus or even know who He is.
Many young people don’t think they can make a difference. But that’s a lie.
Guys, if you want responsibility; if you’re looking for meaning and purpose; if you’re searching for a vision for your life–get off your butt and do something!
Do something that makes a difference. Do something that helps others. Do something that honors God. Do something that spreads the gospel. Do something with purpose.
Just do something.