I recently introduced my kids to the world of the original Mario Brothers video games. They really don’t make ‘em like they used to! But as I watch my boys nearly hunger and thirst after their next time to play, their addiction to this fun is scaring me.
You might think it is overkill to say my boys have an addiction. After all, isn’t playing a game just a harmless pastime? Aren’t we all addicted to something anyway? Who hasn’t binge-watched a favorite TV show on Netflix? (The surveys say a majority of us have!)
Maybe all of us are addicts. It does seem like we’ve all been innately designed with a consuming passion for something. It’s natural. So I suppose the danger isn’t in our propensity to be addicted, but in the object to which we are addicted.
My fear is that my kids will become an addict who pursues something that ruins their life, or even worse, numbs their soul to God. My hope is that they become the right type of addict: one who is absolutely focused on having more and more of Jesus Christ and His eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11).
As parents, we play a huge role in helping to determine which addict our children will become. Here are some things I am trying to teach my kids to lead them toward an addiction to Jesus:
- God is fun. Teaching: Remind them that God is the source of all the fun (good, enjoyable, pleasurable) things in life (James 1:17; Matthew 7:11; Psalm 16:11). Action: have fun with your kids in Jesus’ name! As you play, thank God together for His gifts.
- Fun wants to be God. Teaching: Explain how we humans are tempted to turn good gifts into false gods, and how this seems great at first but ultimately robs us of the lasting fun God has planned for us (Exodus 20:3; 32:1-8). Action: You can demonstrate this to your kids by observing the poor examples of others who got addicted to something other than Jesus. Perhaps watch a movie that shows the character turning a good thing into a god thing and it becoming a really bad thing in their life.
- God’s house is the fun house. Teaching: Talk with them about the importance of being connected to God’s people and being on mission with them to spread the gifts of God to others. God’s fun is most fun when you are sharing it with others (Philippians 2:2-4; Acts 2:41-47)! Action: take them to church! Involve them in the ministries of the church. The truth is, we are all going to be over committed to something (whatever our addiction is). Why not be over committed and addicted to God’s Church and Mission? And why not develop this addiction in your kids instead of sports or show choir or excessive academic endeavors?
To be sure, Super Mario Brothers is a really fun gift from God. But I want my kids to hunger and thirst after the right thing. God’s gift of righteousness in Christ is the only thing that will truly satisfy our longing for joy and goodness and pleasure.
God’s gift of righteousness in Christ is the only thing that will truly satisfy our longing for joy and goodness and pleasure @jasonpoling
— Stonebridge Church (@StonebridgeCR) February 18, 2015