There was a time in my life where I was a gaming man, not a praying man. Let me explain.

I recall a time in my life when all I wanted to do is play digital games, even spending hours at a time grinding away in some role-playing or shooting game. This investment in gaming would persist into adulthood, becoming an avenue for avoiding some difficult and painful situations in my life. But I’ve discovered over the years that games aren’t the answer, Christ Jesus is.

Clearly I’m not opposed to games, but it’s obvious there’s an abundance of ways to spend your time with them. Have you ever considered the question: Lord, is it okay to spend this time gaming?

Have you ever found yourself exercising a similar pattern? There is a solution that even the most enjoyable games can’t provide and when it was revealed to me, it changed my life for the best.

When there were stressful times, I turned to games. I’d attempted to avoid unemployment woes, troublesome relationships, lack of food, the responsibility of studying, the sting of rejection and so on.. What about you? Do you spend time playing digital games to escape your reality?

The truth is that when the game is put down, the problems we were hoping to avoid are still there. Playing digital games for such reasons is never the answer and rob us of our time to respond to life’s difficulties correctly.

Without realizing it, gaming became a god—raised up as a source for alleviating my pain. No matter how much I engrossed myself in my expansive catalog, the root of the situations was still there. I failed to communicate with my Lord and Savior. My praying days had ceased.

If you’re there, the end result of that path is chaos. However, there’s hope. Let’s look at how Jesus responded to difficult situations and discover how we can do the same and put gaming in its proper place.

And when He had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray (Mk 6:46).

And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (Lk 6:12).

Jesus, when faced with difficulty, prioritized his time by praying to God, which is to say He made sure He had time to converse with God! He understood that every day needed to be addressed with our Heavenly Father. He found comfort being in God’s presence. And with God’s presence comes His peace, which enabled Jesus to claim victory in all things.

If you continue reading in Luke, you’ll discover that it doesn’t say that Jesus slept and moved on. No, you’ll find that His time with God provided Him the strength needed to continue into the next day! He appointed out of His disciples twelve Apostles, taught multiple lessons and even healed a Centurion’s servant!

It’s evident that the answer to difficult situations isn’t to drown our time away in games. The answer is God! When we communicate with Him, He will show us how to handle our situations and come through them successfully (Is 65:24).

When I discovered that the answers I needed were to be found in spending time with God, it transformed my entire life. As I began choosing Him first, over time He provided for me a quality of life I’d never known. My every need is met, desires fulfilled, loneliness destroyed, responsibility strengthened and new sense of freedom when gaming. I understand when I should play and what I should play, so that He uses those experiences to minister to others.

Certainly, I still face difficulties. But because of speaking with God, listening to Him, reading the Bible, enjoying Godly things and people—I now have a confidence and assurance that I can face anything through Him, no matter what.

Friend, I challenge you that when you load up a game, ask yourself why. If the reason is similar to what was stated earlier, step away and speak to God. He will hear you and He will answer.

Says the Lord,

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Mt 11:29).

And if you don’t belong to Jesus, now is the perfect time to ask God for forgiveness and begin living for and with Jesus. He alone is the answer you need!