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Why do gamers rage, and how do I stop?

What makes you angry while gaming? Is it when players on your team are bad? Is it when you’re not playing to your potential? Is it when your friends let you down? You might even get angry when your game time is taken away from you. You wish you could control yourself, but fail every time.

Maybe you’re not the one getting angry. Perhaps you notice a trend of rage in your friend which they can’t seem to control. Wouldn’t you like to help them and bring them out of their sin?

 

I’d like to invite you to take a look at what the bible says makes you angry. I’d like to invite you to seriously consider what Jesus brings. I’d like to invite you to seriously examine your heart. Pray that God would lower your defenses – your ‘inner lawyer’ that subconsciously argues that you’re right, God is wrong, and there’s no need to change.

What I’m about to write to you doesn’t only apply to gaming, and I would love for you to see how the way you live your whole life can change after this. Please read with me on the biblical view of idolatry.

 

Firstly, what is idolatry?

It’s what we all do. It’s what we all are – idolaters. We worship other things apart from God. That’s idolatry, however it is helpful to distinguish between surface and heart idols.

Surface idols

Simply, idols you see on the surface. When you get angry because you can’t play and have to do something you don’t want, your surface idol is the game. You might convince yourself and blame the person or thing that stole your time or attribute your anger to your need to enjoy yourself and relax after a long day. Other surface idols include money, appearance, your partner or your ability at something.

Don’t kid yourself. You worship the game. Gaming is your idol, but it is your surface idol, perhaps you could even call it a symptom. Maybe you’ve tried to get rid of making gaming your idol, but still see yourself failing when things don’t play out your way. That’s because you aren’t attacking the source of your idolatry – what happens deep within your heart.

Heart idols

Examine your own heart as you consider these four deep idols (AAPP):

1. Approval

“I want people to think well of me. I want to fit in.”

When was the last time you thought or felt this? When you feel that twitch in yourself stirring you to anger, was it because you seek approval from your friends or even strangers on the internet?

2. Affection

“I want to be loved and want intimacy.”

You want to feel close to your friends. Maybe you just want to feel close to something at all, and find your source of affection in the game, your character, other characters, you name it.

3. Power

“I want to be in control. I want to have power over my future and circumstances. I want to be secure.”

You could be under-performing in the game and falling behind.

4. Pleasure

“I want to feel good. I want to have fun. I deserve to enjoy myself”.
Don’t you?

Which one is it for you? It’s probably more than one. The better you get at looking at yourself through God’s eyes the more you will see how each of these heart idols take surface not only in gaming but everywhere in your life. Every single day I am constantly battling the part of me that wants to make an idol out of approval, affection, power and pleasure. We are sinful beings in need of a saviour, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian.

 

Know the truth

Do you really believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life? If you want to change your anger, you need to make God your ultimate source of approval. Believe in your heart that God has chosen you to be a follower and believer, despite your sinfulness. Remember that you do not deserve to be called a Christian, yet God chooses you to be adopted as his child.

As his child, you can experience the essence of affection – true love. We know that God is love. But do you actually know it? Let God take the reigns, allow your Father who knows and controls all to be the king in power of your life. Follow him and you will too experience true joy. Understand that the temporary satisfaction that comes from gaming is only a fleeting happiness that leaves you empty without God. Experience the pleasure that comes from being in relationship with God and with the community of believers as a church.

When you let these idols be the captain and king of your life, your driving motive, you will get angry while gaming, and you will feel empty. But when you let God direct your path, you will not only experience games as He created them to be, but life as Jesus brings.

I’m not saying or expecting your sinful habits to change straight away. In fact, I was stuck in sinful gaming behaviour for a big part of my life, rebelling against my friends, my teachers, my parents and most importantly God. I didn’t change quickly. It was a slow, very slow, process where Jesus broke me apart and made me whole in him.
Bruce Milne says in ‘Know the truth’: “When we commit ourselves to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of our lives and destinies, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s redemption effective, subduing our rebellious wills and opening our blinded eyes to believe the gospel, thus enabling us to enter God’s kingdom and truly know him”. If you’re a follower of Jesus, then just in the same way He enabled you to first follow him, He will so enable you to keep following Him – so do it!

Who is your king?

Stop running after things like games for your source of approval, affection, power or pleasure.
Ask the one who created games to show you how to enjoy his creation as intended.
Allow God to not only point you in the right direction but completely change your whole life.


Special thanks to Pastor Peter Ko for his teaching on idolatry at ACTS11.
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