What do you do when “you think” you have failed God? It doesn’t have to be sin.
They said, “You should praise God ‘instead of’ playing computer games.” You tried that, but it didn’t work for you. When you play computer games your mind is focused on your game, you are filled with hope that you will win or accomplish something; excitement or peace fills your heart. You don’t notice how time passes. So, you find playing computer games entertaining and restful. But when, instead of playing computer games, you try to praise God, you don’t have the same peace; it does not work for you. You feel bad about yourself. But God does not want you to feel bad about yourself.
Then they say you should read your Bible instead of going shopping all the time. And you do that but it gets boring for you. You feel guilty that you are not attracted to reading the Bible. But, God does not want you to feel guilty about it.
Then they say you should pray to God instead of spending time surfing the internet. You try that, but you feel sleepy after a few minutes. You don’t feel good about yourself. But God does not want you to condemn yourself.
What takes your mind off your problems and gives you a calmness in your soul is not Bible reading or prayer. It is playing computer games, shopping, internet surfing and things like that. You feel bad that something they say that is bad for you is good for you, so you feel guilty. But God does not want you to feel guilty. God is not angry with you at all.
I’ve got good news for you. If you dare to admit what I wrote above is your story, God may have a solution to get you out of it.
It is in two stages. The first one is when you think you have failed and feeling guilty.
Just thank God for the blood of Jesus. God ahead and express your gratitude to God that it is not through your righteousness, but it is through the righteousness of Jesus you are saved. It can be a prayer of thanksgiving bursting out like this:
“Oh my heavenly Father, I thank You that I am not saved by my own righteousness but by the righteousness of Jesus. Jesus, You are the right person, I am not. You have paid by Your blood the penalty to all my failures and sins. Your blood washes away all my mistakes. You lived the right life I try to live and fail. Thank You my God, that I don’t have to be righteous all the time. I try to be righteous, and You know my heart, but I fail. Thank You my Father that I am not saved because I read the Bible, but because of my trust in the adequacy of the blood of Jesus that I am saved. Thank You for the Good News of the Gospel that it is not because I can pray, but it is by my faith in the death of Christ on the cross for me that I am saved. Oh, Father, You did everything necessary for me to be saved. Thank You that there is nothing I can add to Your grace. There is nothing I must do to be saved, but by trusting You that Jesus is the answer, His blood, His righteousness, His walk with You that I can never walk exactly like He did, though I want to and it is my goal for life but I know at times I will still fail, and now I understand that’s fine; Jesus is the answer, I am not!
Oh, how much I thank You that You have lifted a great burden from me. I love You my Lord. I trust You. I worship You. I thank You.”
The second stage is when you play the computer game. The next time when you play your computer game or go to shopping or on the internet, pray a prayer of gratitude thanking God that it is not by your performance but by Jesus’s performance that you have been saved. You don’t pray this prayer instead of playing conputer game, you pray it while playing. There is provision for you to play computer games. They are God’s tools for you to have calmness of mind today for you.
Practise these for a while, you will notice a spiritual revival in your soul. This is the meaning of what Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” You will notice that the truth about you is matched by the truth about God, that your brokenness is offered up to His grace and kindness. The Holy Spirit will glow in you, will remove your feeling of guilt and will fill you with power to enjoy life. This will lead to a true love for God in your heart because you have experienced His grace and He healed your soul and rescued you from guilt. You will increasingly fall in love with Him. You have entered into journey for spiritual growth. That love of God within you will create a thirst in you for more of God. I am out of space, so I stop, but I know you won’t!
Murat Kuntel is the pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.