This is the final post in a 4 part series designed to help geeks, gamers, and nerds to leverage the way God designed them, in order to get the Big Wins in life, and partner with God in saving the world (read part one). We’ve covered why being a geek is a very good thing in God’s eyes, and a little bit about how to leverage our design for His Glory. We also tackled the Scriptural basis for seeing yourself as a hero and a protagonist – we’ve taken video game thought processes we’ve used for decades to level up virtual worlds and brought them with us so we can level up here. And today, we will wrap it up by addressing those last few hurdles before we can take off running.
Have you ever heard a famous author give their answer to the rote “what’s the secret to your success” question?
It’s the least satisfying thing to hear – but probably the most needed. And it’s right nearly 100% of the time.
“I put my butt in the chair and did the work.”
We’re not equipped for this kind of bluntness. It takes us off guard and steamrolls our flimsy excuses. But it is loaded with just the crushing kind of honest that we sometimes need to hear if we’re going to break out of the ordinary world and succeed in this adventure of Christian life that God has called us to.
You know what’s at the heart of that statement?
“What you do matters so much more than what you’re thinking of doing.”
Listen, I know the argument. We as Christians have a lot of discussions about this stuff, and I know there are as many viewpoints as there are people.
God cares more about the contents of your heart than He does the works of your hands, of course.
When we were unsaved, our “righteous works” were like filthy rags before a Holy God. (Isaiah 64:6) We were 3000 miles from the shore of God’s Standard, and every little furtive splash only served to shift us a couple of inches – nothing but a miracle could bring us to that shore, and God’s grace did all of it. What we do before we are saved matters nothing to our Spiritual state. Only God can change that.
But when we are saved, the focus changes.
We are saved in order to do good works, which have been laid out for us to do ahead of time. (Eph. 2:10)
Everything changes when you as a child of God, saved by the work of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, find a way to be as effective as possible in doing those works – leveraging your gifts, talents, time, energy, and passion to bring God the most glory and do the most good for mankind. There is so much freedom to do our best in our calling, it’s almost scary to venture out of our Christian comfort circles – but there is no excuse. This is part of the calling. And the best adventure you can ever live is on the other side of this threshold. There is no choice but to cross it.
This is not lofty doctrinal debate. There is no room for that here. This is God’s Word coming to bear on your life. Your daily life. Your moment by moment decisions. It’s too important just to think about.
Now – you’re also a geek. Do you remember when we talked about this and said it was a good thing?
It totally is, and will always be – but it turns out there are some pitfalls.
For one, we lack focus.
How many times have you decided to start an “important” project, labor of love, or anything else (maybe even start a business?) and came out of the gate by… reading 10 blog posts and not applying any of them?
I’ve done that far too many times to count. Go ahead and raise your hand. You’re definitely not alone.
The problem is that we mistake our accumulation of knowledge for getting things done, when that’s sadly not the case.
We get so deep in the weeds that we forget to do the few hard things that actually matter.
But it gets worse… we also tend to think too small. We have a tendency to move towards brutal rationality that totally removes God from the picture. God promises to provide for our every need, empower us to do the Works He has called us to, and to consider it a good thing when we find ourselves surrounded on all sides by hardship – but how many of us really believe those things, and can prove it by banking on them in our decisions and attitude?
There is a dire need for practical, real-life, battle-tested wisdom to this end.
You have been created by God, with geeky traits and tendencies, and you have been planned and equipped for this moment to live a life of good works.
You have been called out of your small life into an incredible one, like a Hero on an Epic journey; you’ve been given a proven roadmap to succeed on it – revealed in the way God crafted the very art of storytelling.
You more than likely have a parallel track of education running alongside your school career – one of the things that you, as a geek, probably know how to do really well is play video games – and that is actually a good thing, because your life can benefit from adopting some of their structure.
And now, we’re going to look at the daily, moment-by-moment factors that really matter – and give you just a little nudge out of the door. It’s Practical Advice for living a truly Epic Life between now and your dying breath.
Reasoning From First Principles
Our first nugget of wisdom is going to come from an unlikely place: Elon Musk.
Somebody asked him what his “secret sauce” was when it came to business. And he gave a casual answer which seems like typical tech/business entrepreneur speech at first. But there is something brilliant going on beneath the surface. Here’s what he had to say:
“I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.”
He calls this “Reasoning From First Principles” and it’s contrasted with Reasoning By Analogy.
This is a crucial framework of thought for you as a Christian. In every area of life, it can be applied to:
- Tear away your untested assumptions and start from what God says is true – building your life in every facet on that foundation.
- Unlearn all the things you’ve absorbed from the well-meaning folks in your life who just didn’t know any better – and discover the best and the highest goal, together with the best means of attaining it.
- Cut out the noise that is a life lived by analogy – everywhere in life, you will find 2 people who absolutely swear by diametrically opposed ideologies and claim all kinds of proof that they are right. And those 2 will each have millions of people who agree. Reasoning by analogy is exhausting. Reasoning and living from first principles is liberating and energizing.
A Christian might do this by following this train of thought:
- God exists.
- God is Who He says He is.
- God’s Word can be trusted.
- The Bible is God’s Revealed Word
- God has delineated the process by which a person can become saved.
- I have undergone this process as a result of the three-fold work of God’s Sovereign Plan, Jesus’ Servant Sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit’s Indwelling and Empowering.
- My purpose for existing in life is to glorify God.
- The best way to do that is to Love Him and to Love Others.
- Now, blank slate… what in the world should my life look like?
I call this the “Blank Slate Baseline”. You can design an incredible life from there. Just taking 1 step at a time in the right direction from there is a great place to start.
But you can use it elsewhere, too.
Look at something as morally-neutral as your workout routine.
Let’s start this way, building off of the “Blank Slate” question from earlier:
- God has given me a body to steward and control.
- God has called my body His temple
- God gave extensive instruction for the care and maintenance of the temples He commissioned man to build – how much more for the temple He created in me?
- This is what I am convinced a healthy body does and looks like.
- ________ is how I get there.
- ________ is what I need to do every week to make it happen.
- This will allow me to be more effective in my everyday life, to cultivate discipline and self-control, and to take care of God’s Temple.
See? Simple. I wrote that up in 3 minutes. And already, that’s a much better starting point than “Everybody says I need to work out. But everybody does different stuff! Should I read 10 blog posts? Wow, this is complicated.”
Nothing beats it. Reason from first principles. Always.
Give the Right Things Their Due
On that note, what are the things God calls most important in His Word?
We touched on it earlier… it’s loving Him and loving Others.
They are intertwined and inseparable – you can’t love God without loving Others. They go together.
On a practical level, this is really a question of priorities. Who gets the first and best of your efforts?
#1 should always be God. Anything else is idolatry. But what comes after that? If you’re married, there’s a strong Biblical case to be made that your spouse goes next. And children follow naturally from that paradigm at number 3.
Let’s start with those 3… God, Spouse, Children. And let’s examine what it looks like to give those things their due.
Back to Reasoning from First Principles, starting from the Blank Slate question:
- The first object of my focus in life is to love God. (How do I love God?)
- I have been called to love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind.
- I know that God wants me to read and apply His Word.
- I know that God wants me to be involved with the Spiritual affairs of my family (if you’re a man, this means leading in various respects, etc. Most of us know this stuff, the problem is that we don’t do it!)
- I know that God wants me to pray to Him without ceasing, as a lifestyle.
- I know that God wants me to be connected with a local body of believers, living out the various “One Another” commands as a local church.
Can you see how this boils life down to the essentials and builds things up from there?
The problem is that we don’t actually prioritize these things. We’ve allowed the noise from all around us to crowd out the stuff that really matters. Last article we talked about Never Losing Track of the Important Things. This is how you do that. By ruthlessly honing your priorities, radically rearranging your life to fit them, and building on top of that foundation.
Notice one thing: This is punishingly simple, but obviously beneficial. Isn’t it amazing how we fail to do these things? We’d rather be comfortable than live an epic life. The better we get at stuff like this, the more impact we will have, the more satisfied we will be, and all the better for the world around us.
Reasoning From First Principles and Ruthlessly Honing Your Priorities are the first two points, but my third point is just as important:
I’ve been a little hard on you so far. I know. I can’t say I’m sorry, but I can see that you’re due for a change in tone.
Guess what? This is all supposed to be fulfilling. Satisfying.
Throughout Scripture, we are taught to find joy in living life God’s Way, even if it’s harder. Even if it costs us something. Even if there are ups and downs and hardships. Even if we have to make sacrifices.
Hebrews 11 and 12 are two of my favorite chapters in all the Bible, and they paint one cohesive truth: A life lived by faith is epic, hard, painful… and absolutely satisfying, because it makes you into a person “of whom the world is not worthy” – having discarded the sins which entangle, endured discipline, and run the race of an effective life lived in God’s Service, you will arrive in Heaven at your Master’s Feet and be given a Hero’s Welcome.
Doesn’t that sound better than a life lived working until you retire, going to cookouts and one week’s worth of vacation every year, sitting in a pew every week and never doing anything about it, then puttering around a house or a retirement home watching reruns until you die? Even if it’s harder?
Of course it does.
Here’s the truth: You are free. Free from the penalty of sin, and free to serve the God of the Universe. You have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about – God has proven it time and time again. You have the empowering Holy Spirit, the backing of the God of the Universe, and His promise to provide and take care of you woven through every choice you make. He can satisfy you in ways you’ve never imagined, and the closer you are to Him in the process, the better it will be.
We talked about all of these things: Prayer, Family Devotions, Reading God’s Word, Church Involvement, Meeting your Family’s Needs… and I’ll bet you thought something at least once during the process:
“These things seem like they’re the opposite of adventure”
Don’t be ashamed. I did too when I stumbled upon these insights – but if you look at them with fresh eyes, it changes everything.
- You have been given the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the Creator of the Universe, who calls you His child.
- You walk boldly into the throne room and crawl up on His lap, something that the ancient Jews, HIS PEOPLE, would have found unthinkable.
- You have the entirety of His revealed love letter to humanity, in printed or digital form, in countless translations – available for free, accessible anywhere. People have died so that you can read this book.
- You have a chance to take the advice of the only One who has ever known everything about everything, and live it out daily – with moment-by-moment guidance.
- You have a chance to help others discover the same relationship with God that you have – and in so doing avoid a terrible fate.
- You have a chance to use your skills to further this mission, knowing that you’re doing what you were made for. Even if it’s hard.
If you’re married, you have been given a family, a partner designed for you, to stand by your side and work with you. You’ve been given a love that can last a lifetime – something that people outside of God’s saving grace search for their entire lives in vain – you have two. God, the Ultimate Lover of your Soul, and your spouse.
Children? You get to have little image-bearers of God that you have the privilege of growing and daily rescuing and providing for, and guiding into relationship with this Master of the Universe.
These “little things” are absolutely gargantuan in the eyes of God – faith and family should absolutely feel like an adventure.
What we haven’t talked about is what you need to do next. If your priorities aren’t in the right order, that’s an obvious place to start. But after you feel comfortable with how well you’re loving God and the Most Important “Others” in your life… what then?
Here’s that little nudge out of the door I mentioned earlier.
Would you mind if I gave you something for free?
I have a tool just for this, that I created specifically to help geeks and gamers to get the Big Wins in life, become the Hero, and embrace a lifestyle of doing what really matters.
It’s designed for anybody to use – the unsaved will gently be led to Christ while pondering life’s big questions, and saved people will be led to figuring out what matters most in God’s created order and doing it.
You will quickly be able to discern where you’re most in need of help – and you’ll have the right questions to ask to lead you to helpful answers.
Only if you want it! After all, it’s dangerous to go alone… take this! (or read my bio for the link)
The only other thing I can offer is this:
Get started today. However you go about this quest you’ve been called to, get started right now.
- You were made for this wide-open, adventurous life of faith. You’ve been equipped with Knowledge, Passion, and Creativity, just for this moment.
- You are called like a Hero on a journey – and equipped with a framework for understanding your progress.
- You’ve been given the best tools from modern, interactive art – to use on your journey.
- And you’ve now got some practical tools that will help you to go.
- You will never regret it.
It will almost certainly be one of the most fulfilling decisions you’ve ever made.