Tonight I was studying Philosophy about the Sophists who were critics of religion and mastered an art of rhetoric called eristic. They were all about arguing, all about success, and their focus question of their entire lives was "How can I succeed in the practical affairs of life, or how can I play the game of life and win?"
How can I win? Is this some kind of game? Some kind of joke? Like the board game rat race are we literally running around and around in circles for someone's amusement maybe some gods or maybe life is a cyclical circle? I just can't fathom how someone can believe that and just what kind of a life this kind of thinking might make you live. This seems so extreme- so different- but then I think about the typical college student and the life they live and maybe just maybe many of them do live in college saying "How can I win?" "How can I win in life? How can I make the most money, get the prettiest wife/husband, experience the most success?" How do I really win?
And as much as I say "No I'm not about that. I center my life around Jesus Christ" it's easy to see how this illusion of life as a game can creep into our lives and really just destroy our focus. I LOVE having fun, and I love sports, and hanging out with guys, and doing totally crazy random things. I think their is nothing at all wrong with having fun- God wants us to be joyful and to build edifying relationships with others. But what if.. just what if.. we had so much fun, treating this life like a "game" and doing all this random stuff, and doing our "Top Ten Things we're gonna do before we die" list and studying so hard for school and winning that amazing boyfriend... that we totally forgot where we were, what we were really living in.
We aren't in a game! No this isn't a game at all. It's a war. It's a battlefield. And if Satan could get us to simply forget that we have a mission and purpose for Him and get us to simply play this game that keeps us busy all the time... We would just keep playing, kind of like those guys or girls that lay on their coaches for 4 hours a day and literally play away the day with video games, well that would be us- but with life. And then BAM- before we know it- one day life would be over- and we would realize we don't have multiple lives- just one life to live for God's glory.
And I don't know, as I think about missions, I can't help compare us typical American college students to other typical 19-25 year olds around the world and think about how different our life is from theirs. Surely they know that life is not a game. For if it was what would be the point in living? I mean this life thing is a mess- an R rated, killing spree, with divorce, messed up families, disease, child hunger, destitution.. This "game" just wouldn't be so fun for them.
My room mate was telling me about a sign she saw the other day about college. It said: Academics, Extracurricular, Health, and Social Life- pick two. As funny as that seems- it's kind of scary when we think about it. College is the time when we are deciding who we will stand for and what we will do with the rest of our life. Who will we follow? What will we give our time too? I believe that the devil loves business and he loves game making and deceit. He tries to throw out us so many "to-do lists" and random things: boys, hobbies, new things to try, clubs.. so that we can forget- this is the time for us to determine our life's FOCUS. This is not a game. This is war.
Last Saturday I got to go on an outreach retreat with some of the school's ministry leaders and it was so inspiring to see their commitment for ministry and living for Christ. The outreach leader gave us a solemn warning towards the end of the meeting and he said hey, I need to warn you. You doing ministry means other things in your life like sports and academics may seem to drop. But following God and spending time doing ministry is one of the best investments in the world.