By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer
Before my husband and I got married, I knew he enjoyed playing video games. But until we got married and began living together, I had no idea that his hobby was a daily activity.
Since I absolutely despise video games, this topic has been a source of contention throughout the ten years of our marriage.
Over the years I’ve noticed my anti-video game requests are useless, so I’ve tried to take a prayerful approach suggested by author Stormie Omartian in “The Power of a Praying Wife.” For the past seven or eight years, I’ve kept my mouth shut and given my concerns and complaints to the Lord. Honestly, the frequency and fervency of my prayers depends on my levels of patience and irritation.
Throughout my process of prayer, I keep coming back to the painful truth found in Luke 6:41, 42:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This verse convicts and reminds me that even if playing video games does not glorify God, I need to stop and address my own sinful habits.
Husbands and wives spend their free moments in countless ways – some of these choices are beneficial, yet many fail to honor God:
Some husbands stay out until the middle of the night playing cards with their guy friends. Others head to their garages or workshops for night after night of tinkering in solitude.
Some wives spend far too much time and money shopping, yet justify it as “retail therapy.” Others, addicted to Facebook or Pinterest, stare at computer screens for hours, even when their family members are sitting in the same room.
Smart phones and texts are twisting and warping basic relationship patterns. When it’s virtually impossible – or extremely uncomfortable – to have a face-to-face discussion without the presence of a mobile device, there’s a problem. Common addictions to a continually wired life are changing lives, marriages, and families – and not for the better.
Individual interests and habits are not necessarily wrong – but a believer needs to examine if they glorify God and if they have become addictions.
What can we do?
So what can a believer do? For starters, examine your own life. Identify your own struggles, sins, and strongholds.
Then heed the command found in Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
To help renew your mind, follow the basic guidelines given in Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Be sure to pray. Pray about everything. As Philippians 4:6 instructs,
“In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Pray about yourself. Pray about your spouse. Pray about your struggles. Pray about your annoyances. Thank God for His blessings. Then trust Him to complete good works he created in advance for you. While you’re praying, you should notice something spectacular, described in Philippians 4:7:
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As long as you’re praying and seeking God, change will come. It may only be in your own heart and life – but you’ll be conformed to His image. And that’s the most important change you need.