Playing Games

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We are a gaming family. Spades. Fishbowl. Catch Phrase. When we get together, our activities often include board games. Over the years of competition, our individual personalities come out. Some play to win. Others play to giggle.


To the annoyance of the more competitive, I’m in the latter category. I participate to tell and hear funny stories. The game itself is just an excuse to get everyone together into a singular location. As Mark has often explained to visitors, “He who laughs most around our table is the true winner.”


As I reflect on the holidays, I realize my own need to be more competitive. Yet surprisingly, my conviction is not to be increased around the gaming table. No, this awakening is prompted by Kingdom competition. 


Take the example of the Apostle Paul, for instance. Yes, he strove to be the best in every category: “Of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, as to the Law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5). Yet, the more he knew Christ, the more his competition funneled into a singular focus. “One thing I do” was his aggressive motto.


And where did he channel his competition? He leaned forward and pressed hard to lay hold “of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). I wonder if I can say with Paul that my singular focus is towin Christ even during the holidays (Philippians 3:8 KJV)?


David Wilkerson says that “we win Christ by the choices we make that are pleasing to Him…If we love Him unreservedly, hungering for Him continuously, we will remember Him in every choice.” Is this my objective — whether I’m playing to win or playing to laugh?


Whether or not we are naturally competitive, winning Christ should always be our ultimate goal. And in doing so, our attitudes will change even toward those we are the closest. Winning Christ is exactly opposite of winning here on earth. Successful competition here in the earthly realm points all glory to self. Winning Christ gives all the glory to the Father (John 5:41).


How are you competing this Christmas season?


Take Jesus’ model as your own:


“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44).


Prayer: “May it become reality from within me, Lord. May it truly be.”