Get them off your computer. NOW!

Video games are the bane of manhood; and increasingly, of womanhood, also. More, they destroy Godliness. Followers of Jesus Christ should not be wasting hours on these things, let alone days, weeks, months, years, and decades. And yes, I know several men who are close to wasting a decade of their lives, now.

But it may not even be video games. Three years ago, now, the game I needed to delete from my laptop was Backgammon...

So what game do you need to delete as your act of repentance and faith? Please comment and tell us your commitment to God begun this very day.

If you need motivation, read this article. It's fittingly obscene and rancid, and you'll finish it with new motivation to do what the Holy Spirit commands:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1, 2)

The author's right. Hours spent online with pornography, chat, Facebook, and games are evil because of what they displace as well as what they are. And these life-stealing monsters are displacing your love for your wife, your purity, your serving your neighbor and widows and orphans and the poor, your building up your church, your preparing your sermon, your cooking dinner, your teaching your children, your caring for your aged mother, your reading the Bible, your weeding your garden, your work for your boss or the owner of the company that employs you; they are displacing every last bit of your godliness and holiness nad piety, and they have you convinced their innocuous. Innocent, even.

Delete them, now. NOW! And tell your dad or mother, pastor or elder, deacon or roommate, wife or husband you've done so - and why. Then pray that God will allow you to produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Seriously, write a comment telling us all of your commitment not to look at pornography. Not to "do" Facebook. Not to play RPGs. Then ask us to pray for you.

(TB: w/ thanks to Michael by way of Lucas)

Comments

Word With Friends: I consider it a snack for my mind, to feed it a little something now and them. I've deleted it once before because of the ridiculous amour of time I spent on it. Now it's more "managed", but I nearly always convicted when I play thinking I am setting a bad example to my daughters, even if it's to play WITH them. Your list of things that we could/should be doing instead cut me to the quick as nearl every single one is something that I have neglected due to "innocent" and "managed" activities such as this. And really, I was pretty much just feeding my ego everytime I banked a win.

Now to delete it.

Dear Sandy,

Praise God! I will pray for you.

In His mercy,

Lord of the Rings Online. That's been my big time waster and I have just uninstalled it. It's just like WoW, except a different branding and because it's based on Tolkien I get to feel more sophisticated.. Your post is convicting enough, but I also think of just yesterday, I spent most of the morning playing and then in the afternoon I couldn't do a good job explaining basic doctrines to my girlfriend on the phone - and we all see the connection there. But do pray for me, that I would seek righteousness more in my new "free time" (that yes belongs to God, not me), and pray that I would STAY out of the this lifelong habit - how many like me grew up with household game systems that our parents let us spend hours every day on before we even started school?

I'm curious, where would chess fall into this discussion?

Chess is definitely dangerous, though it falls in a slightly different class. The article concentrates on games that you don't really get better at playing--- you just pile up levels and rewards for putting in time. (Very modern educationish!) But it's true that chess is terrible waste of mental energy that could be put to good use, and I suspect that for many experts it's no longer fun.

The article is good, because it emphasizes the hellish nature of those videogames: the Devil attracts you with a mix of pleasure and evil, but then takes away every ounce of enjoyment in it and you're still trapped, and in something that is totally unproductive, even worse than being a workaholic:

"The danger lies in the fact that these games have become so incredibly efficient at delivering the sense of accomplishment that people used to get from their education or career. ...We may wind up with a generation of dudes working at Starbucks when they had the brains and talent for so much more. They're dissatisfied with their lives because they wasted their 20s playing video games, and will escape their dissatisfaction by playing more video games. Rinse, repeat."

I, by the way, played way too much Civil War (a freeware wargame) before I uninstalled it.

I'm speaking generally, of course, when I say this, Pastor Bayly, but in my experience the same people who talk like this about video games have no problem spending three hours watching a football or baseball game.

[BTW, I appreciate that you are not guilty of this here at Baylyblog, and I would point readers to your post from March 31st as evidence of that.]

For those of us who are single, you could easily add Christian online dating sites to that list.

I speak only partly in jest.

Chess, Deer Hunter, Tetris, Frogger, Facebook, Minesweeper. These have all been abused and uninstalled by me in the past. I don't have one that I'm currently struggling with, but I mention them to emphasize that these temptations are often life-long, requiring a lifetime of repentance and faith.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." 1 John 1:9-10

Starcraft 2 and Warcraft 3 are biting the dust today thanks in part to this, an e-mail and other things. Wasted too much time on these already. It's time for them to leave for good and time for me to use that time to better ends.

I hadn't thought of computer chess...

Dear Matthew, Josh, and anyone else from ClearNote Church, Bloomington,

Praise God for tender consciences! Remember that the life of a Christian is made up of ever new beginnings. Or as the first of Luther's theses put it at the end, "the life of a Christian is a life of repentance."

Could a couple of you men work together to plan a sin-confession group to spur one another on in the good works of abandoning these time-wasters? And let me know when you hold your first meeting so, if I"m open, I can meet with you to encourage you. I will pray for you.

Love,

how about blogging? :)

I've been habitually answering questions on a gamified programming Q&A website that gives "reputation" points for answers that are "upvoted" by others or "accepted" by the asker.

I'll block this site from my browser. (Obviously, it can be unblocked, but the greater concern is that I find a different addictive online activity.)

Shawna is having me remove two solitaire games from here computer.

Pray for us. It is easy to raise a fence and eliminate a behaviour. Living the life of repentance is hard.

Right, let's do it. Why don't you guys go ahead and contact me with availability - yeah, it'll have to be at least after the holiday weekend but we shouldn't put it off long after that.

And if there are any others, go ahead and contact me, I'm not hard to find online, and don't be too embarrassed to post publicly on here either - your "dignity" isn't worth staying in sin.

I had to give up "Age of Empires 2" a few years ago. I ditched my Xbox 360 about 1 1/2 years ago because I wanted to rethink gaming altogether.

My Lord battled for my soul with Magic: The Gathering CCG in early high school (it ended with me asking my folks to throw away my decks; I couldn't do it myself). And then again with my Nintendo 64 my senior year (in a sweat, I cut the cord to it in the middle of the night).

I wasn't paranoid, delusional, or legalistic: it really was a fight to the finish for me. I can say with confidence that failure either of these times could have easily meant no school, no job, - no wife, no children, and, maybe, - no reward in heaven for me.

I've had boardgames for years now. You can't play them alone (or, at least, it is a challenge to do so where it is any fun) and they're missing a lot of those addictive elements you see in the article linked. I have managed to obsess, though, about the newest and the best and the nuances of game mechanics, and artwork. The attraction might be difficult for some of you to understand, but I'll not be pouring over my internet boardgame haunts for the latest "fashion" anymore.

Roger,
There is narcissistic blogging that is to no eternal purpose. That is how I wrote when I first started blogging, just writing about myself and my feelings and anything that made an impression on me, me, me. By all means, let us abandon such writing. It is a waste of our time and of any who subscribe. (When you post regularly, some will read simply because there's something new, independent of whether there's any value in it.) It is dissipation - let us stay far from it, whether to write or to read!

Blogs like Baylyblog have a different purpose: to warn and to teach, to goad men to submission to the Word of the Lord and to expose where we claim that we do obey but we're hypocrites in need of repentance. Do you see the difference between blog and blog?

On my own blog, I have been more conscious of my responsibility to edify with my words in more recent posts. Compare those with the earliest ones and you can see how much more idle my words were in the beginning.

It's good to be pushed to defend how it is that we aren't being hypocrites in this ourselves. Thanks for bringing this up.

I've given up facebook this past month or so for many reasons, purity, not serving two masters, not
being caught up in the world, and many more temptations and sins that can come from social networking idolatry. Cutting off all the visuals of facebook, the mere relationships with facebook "friends," and just refocusing and assessing how I can truly love my brothers and sisters in Christ and my neigbors has been truly helpful and freeing. I'm thankful Jesus has given me a new will to want to change.

Daniel- yes, I do, I just think it is an inherent risk of the blogger- even the better kind- to become the first kind unless constant watch is kept. I know cause I've done it! Thanks for your excellent summary of that issue as well.

Years ago I gave up movies for the sake of purity, but also to save myself time and money. Now reality seems so much more real. I don't miss them at all.

I've been delivered from TV, movies, and even Microsoft Solitaire.

BTW, one way to fight looking the second time at "scantily clad or unclad women not your wife" is to look away from where that sin nature wants to look, and look at the face. In general, that's not happiness looking back at you.

This is way too reactionary of an article. It is undeniable that video games have a remarkable ability to grasp people, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to exercise discernment and self-restraint when playing video games. I have been gaming since I was a child, but I'm able to budget my time and attend to my schoolwork.

Ultimately, if you're going to examine idolatry, you not only have to examine the idol, but also the idolater. It would be unwise to blame the Lakers for your feelings of anger at their loss in the NBA playoffs, wouldn't it? If video games are so evil, then let's condemn all other things that men find pleasing.

Good on you if you uninstall a game to take a break (like how I did for Facebook a while ago), but let's be careful not to blame the gun for the killing and not the killer who pulled the trigger. BUDGET YOUR TIME AND KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES IN LINE.

Dear Kenneth,

You need to reread this article. It is calling us to repentance which means that the writer is in fact calling out the idolater. Thankfully the article also points out the dangers behind video games or generally hours spent on the computer/web for entertainment. I totally agree with you that if we were all responsible and had our priorities straight (building God's kingdom and serving his church) we would have no addiction or time wasting problems. This is exactly why this article cuts to the heart. You got it right so you should have been praising God for those that did not have it right and who repented. No one is asking you to give up your video games if you are not serving your sinful nature or waisting time with them, knowing all about the dangers of them. In case you were wondering why the article is so radical and why these people react so extremely by permanently deleting their computer games then read Matthew18:8. This verse teaches radical amputation: if there is something in your life that is a temptation for sin get rid of it completely if possible.

Best Regards,

The article has been re-read and my replies have been re-evaluated.

To Benjamin Walker, and the Bayly bros:
Please forgive me for being scathing and harsh in my indictment of this article in my own replies, on this blog and on mine. My reaction to anything that seems to oppose my preferred hobby has been generalized due to the plethora of uninformed studies that link video games to violence, and the like. >.<

I'm not a complete stranger to weak control over my hobby as well as "radical amputation." I used to be a rampant gamer in my childhood, with little respect for schoolwork or time of day. Recently, I gave up some control over my computer to my pastor to help regulate my lustful addiction to Internet pornography.

Keep your sense of discernment sharpened! Your exercise of it has certainly helped me out. =)

Kenneth,

Thanks for being a man. Your repentance and forthrightness has strengthened my faith. Keep fighting the good fight, brother!

Sincerely,

Dear Kenneth,

You are forgiven, dear brother, and it strengthens us all to have you exhort us to purity.

Love,

To all who have made commitments to repentance, produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Holiness is joyful and we must desire above all else to be like Him. I just prayed for you and will continue. Please pray for me.

With love,

Tim Bayly

Kenneth, thank you for posting. I'm encouraged by your and others honesty about their sin and repentance. Experiencing the open confession of sin by brothers a few years back was a turning point in my life. It gave me the courage to repent of many sins and to confess them to men in the church. I needed to be exhorted to keep with repentance. I just deleted OpenTTD and renewed my commitment to purity by putting some safeguards back into place that I've neglected.

Sincerely,

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