[This is week 1 of The Minecraft Devotional]
One of the things that originally got me interested in Minecraft was that it was a game that seemed to have no rules. You could run freely through the world and play the game however you wanted to play it. That is how I like playing games. I don’t do well with games that make you follow a certain pattern and require you to go from checkpoint to checkpoint. Within the first few laps of a racing game, I am turned around going as fast in the wrong direction – because I can.
I downloaded the mobile version of Minecraft on my iPad and was immediately hooked. It didn’t take me very long to realize that the game that seemingly had no rules was actually full of them. First, I tried to mine an iron ore block with a wooden pickaxe. When the ore broke, I was left with no iron. Rule #1, you need to make a stone pickaxe to mine the iron ore.
I kept playing and eventually got the real version of Minecraft for my computer. Bigger worlds and more stuff to explore. And more rules. My character got hungry while I was playing. Rule #2, you have to eat something. I was up high on a hill and saw an easy way down to the bottom. Rule #3, You cannot jump off of a cliff and expect good results. The more I played, the more rules I discovered.
Discovering the rules didn’t ruin the game for me. Actually, the rules made the game more fun. If I want to really experience a “no rules” version of the game I can switch over to creative mode, but that’s not really playing the game.
As I thought about all of these newly discovered rules of Minecraft, I couldn’t help but think about how similar it is to reality. Rules are a part of our lives anywhere we go and there are consequences to not following them. Don’t believe me? Try driving about thirty five miles per hour above the speed limit and see how long it takes to be reminded of the rules.
If there are rules in video games, and rules in our every day lives, then there are certainly rules to follow when it comes to our Christianity. In the Old Testament, Moses was given the law that they were to follow. Read the book of Leviticus and see that they had some pretty big rules to follow. For us, living in the New Testament times, we still have certain rules we should be following as Christians.
New Testament Rules
Here are some to get you thinking. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus tells us that we are “the light of the world” and that we are to “let our light so shine before men.” If Jesus tells us something that we should be doing, then we probably should be doing it. Letting our light shine means that we live our life as an example for others. In doing so, we can lighten the way for others to see Him.
There are also some things that Jesus has told us to do that are very difficult. Matthew 5:43-48 tells us that we are to love our enemies. It doesn’t get much more difficult than that one. He takes it further and says, “Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” You may be thinking, “why would I want to be so nice to those who do so much wrong to me? That is a good question that Jesus answers in the next line. He says the reason is, “That you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
In Mark 11:25-26 Jesus says that we need to be forgiving of others. He even goes as far as to say that if we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven by God. Since forgiveness is something that we all need and desire, we certainly need to offer it to those who may have done something wrong to us at some time.
Jesus became the perfect example of all three of these when He was on the cross. In some of His last words He said: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In the darkest day of His earthly life, His light was shining as he showed love and forgiveness to His enemies.
The Final Block
We don’t like to think about Christianity and rules in the same sentence, but in reality if we are going to claim to be Christians, there are many rules for us to be following. We may prefer to consider them guidelines or use another term to describe them, but in the end, we have been given instructions on how a Christian is to live in this world. If we as Christians don’t live by a certain set of standards, how can we ever take Paul’s advice in Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”