Today is the anniversary of the most important day of my life.
March 1, 2012, I fell on my knees in our backyard and asked God to save me.
At the time, I was an upstanding church-goer respected for my standards of morality. I read my Bible, prayed-the activities of an apparently healthy Christian. I had been prophesied over as a child, told my entire life I would do something, be something for God. Oh yes, I was “good,” “godly,” and walking straight on the narrow road to Heaven.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.” (Proverbs 15:24)
However, I never dared to admit the one thing that would’ve sent this whole facade crashing down-either to myself or others-I had another god.
My god was not set in a shrine, or on a mantlepiece. I didn’t worship nature. My god resided in my entertainment center, on my computer, and especially in my heart.
“Then came certain of the elders of Israel [these men were religious and political leaders] unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself:
And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 14:8)
My god, as ridiculous as it sounds, was video games.
To be honest, my life has been defined by video games, much as my parent’s generation was by television. When I look on my childhood, I don’t think of the TV shows or movies I used to watch, the music I heard, or my old friends. I remember video games-the ones I played, watched played, or even saw in passing while walking through the store. I became consumed by this obsession. Any hope of freedom was lost when I entered video game journalism.
Imagine looking into a campfire.
It starts small, leaping and crackling, struggling to grow. Soon, it begins to stop leaping, stop crackling, and begin roaring. It becomes larger, and larger, never satisfied, afraid that if it stops burning with the same intensity it will die a slow and painful death, becoming nothing more than a single, lonely, ember. The situation is fascinating to watch, you can almost sense the thoughts of the searching sparks…Just as you begin to see something in the haze, the fire abates.
Suddenly, a man walks by with a can of gasoline. He sees your plight and stands beside you, also watching.
“Y’know, It’s always a shame to see a beauty like this fizzle out.” His comment doesn’t help your mood. “If you’re that bummed out about it, you could always have this can. I don’t think I’ll need it any-”
You eagerly nod and snatch the gasoline from his hands. The sheer heady knowledge of what you possess causes you to act irrationally, and hurl the container directly into the blaze. A moment of silence, an indrawn breath-and an immense flare of orange light.
You begin to see startling colors and patterns in the flame, its constantly shifting, providing a new vision every moment. This is beyond your wildest imagination-you’re entranced. Only too late do you see the inferno surrounding you.
“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” (Proverbs 27:20)
Being a writer, I thought I could simply type up some reviews, and if I worked at it, eventually begin scoring free games. Perhaps even make a career out of it if I got big enough. With a great deal of perseverance, this dream came true. The fact that I was working with companies that produced some of the greatest games of all times baffled, surprised and delighted me. However, through my own greed and pride, I entered a vicious cycle.
No matter how many games I received, no matter how large my workload, I only saw that which I didn’t have. I coveted, I pursued, I accepted, I always needed…more.
It took an act of God to wake me up. I didn’t deserve it (none of us do), but God still had mercy on me.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:6-11)
I gained an incredible fear of hell during this time (which is natural considering its description). Even after reading some of the promises in God’s word, I had a unshakable dread that those scriptures were not for me.
On March 1st, my eyes were opened and I saw things for what they were. I broke down crying in my backyard. True to his word, I believed on Jesus Christ and he saved me. My sins are completely forgiven, and I will never be the same.
Video games are no longer my god and Pro-Guide for Noob’s has been transformed into Video Games and the Bible.com. Jesus has turned me into a totally different person.
[God speaking] “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.” (Ezekiel 36:24-29)