End the Games

LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, January 2, 2020

In 1969 an entertainer named Joe South recorded a song that became a hit in the world of secular music. It was called The Games People Play, and won two Grammy awards. The lyrics express the idea that we play games with one another and have fallen victim to pride and vanity. It is a protest song against hate, hypocrisy, and intolerance. But there is also a deep current of humanistic thought running through the song. Essentially it says that each of us is to be content with who we are and not let anyone, especially Christians, influence us to change. According to the song, all change is a game we play, and God is only there to grant us the serenity to remember who we are and be content with that.

One of the games we play so well with each other is Hide & Seek. It’s a childhood game that has carried over into adult life. We mostly play the hide part as we seek to be undiscoverable by others. We hide our true feelings. We hide our true intentions. We hide our true thoughts. We hide behind psychological trees we think are big enough to completely protect us from view. We dare not let anyone get too close or we may even try to run to a new hiding spot without being seen. We must not let anyone see us for who we really are.

The motivation for finding a good hiding place as a child is so that we won’t be found first because that would make us “it”, and no one wants to be “it”. No one wants to be the seeker.

It’s no different for adults. We have avoided being the seeker since the very first sin. When Adam and Eve experienced the guilt and shame of sin for the very first time, the game of Hide & Seek began. They first tried to hide behind tree leaves. Then, when they heard the Seeker coming, they hid themselves more thoroughly in and amongst the lush growth of the garden. They did not want to be found.

They had good reason to not want to be found – they were guilty and deserved punishment. It’s that same sense of guilt and deserved punishment that drives us to hide today. We hide our guilt from others, but more significantly we attempt to hide our guilt from God.

I remember a time when I was a child playing this game in the woods of Michigan with a group of friends. The hiding place I found was so good that they never found me. I waited there for a long time, relishing in the pride of my hiding ability, until it started to get dark. So I wandered out of that place, carefully making sure no one saw me to protect the location for future use, and I walked back to my friend’s house. They were all inside playing. They had stopped looking for me. I had to look for them. They had not reported me lost, they just went on with their lives. Ouch! Eventually all hiding ends in loneliness.

It is time for the hider to become the seeker. The days of hiding are done. It is time to be found. The guilt and shame that motivate your hiding can be gone. All you have to do is choose to be “it”.

Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

God wants you to play the seeker role, and find Him. He is not hiding from you. He is not waiting to punish you because He already punished His Son for you. He will have mercy on you. He will pardon you. Open your heart. Expose the darkest parts of your life to the Light of God’s grace. When you find Him, the games are over.

Pastor John

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