Have you ever thought that life was like a video game? Have you ever looked at something and just made the connection that this is the same exact thing I would have to do in that one game to finish the level. If not, I’ll assume you’ve never packed a car for vacation and played Tetris.
But beyond just packing a car, life in general – the Christian life seems to mirror Pac-Man. Or more so, Pac-Man seems to mirror the Christian life. Think about it for a moment.
In Pac-Man, you’re gobbling up these little balls and feeding on everything that’s on the map. This is us, the Christian (or even the unbeliever to begin with). We gobble up these little balls – media, culture, anything and everything this life has to offer. After all, this world has been designed, since the fall of man, to pull us away from God. And those little balls in Pac-Man are these things. We get focused on these balls in the game and we might forget that there’s someone else there. The ghosts running around the game, looking for Pac-Man to touch him and kill him. Now in the game, these are ghosts. We don’t have ghosts in the real world. The world and culture may call them ghosts, but it’s either someone’s imagination or demonic spirits. There is a spiritual realm you know. Ephesians 6 talks about this (among other places). In the game, if the ghosts get you, you’re dead and hopefully you have another life. In the real world, the evil spirits attack us with sickness, failure, oppression, and depression, and yes, even death. John 10:10 says, “The thief (the devil and his crowd) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” The rest of verse 10 says that Jesus comes to “give life and give it more abundantly.” There’s a clear distinction between what the devil does and what God does.
So in both the game and the real world, we’re battling spirits. But there comes a time in the game when Pac-Man stops chomping on these small little balls and gobbles up a power ball.
Then things change.
It goes from the ghosts hunting Pac-Man to Pac-Man hunting the ghosts. This happens for us when first, we are born again. We put off the old man and put on the new man. We go from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light – the Kingdom of God’s dear son.
When we’re born again, when we eat that power ball, we put the devil on the run. He starts fleeing from us. We’re blinking, shining, growing and on fire for God. We have this zeal to tear down the kingdom and power of the devil in every area of our life, and everyone else’s life too.
But something happens after that. Not for everyone, but a good majority of Christians – they cool down. They stop blinking. They stop glowing. And they go back to eating those little balls. They get back into a habit of consuming the culture of the world. Oh yes, they still love God. They still go to church. But their focus isn’t necessarily on those things. And they start consuming entertainment, media, culture, taking in the things of the world, eating those little balls. And then those ghosts come back around.
They bring sickness, distractions, doubts, fear, and all sorts of other things that they use to try and separate us from God. If you’re not careful, they’ll succeed. In fact, they do to a degree. You may not turn your back on God, or stop going to church, but you stop being a doer of the Word. You stop placing all your trust in God.
But then as you realize the ghosts are getting close to you, catching up to you as you go across the board – you grab another power ball. This power ball though isn’t salvation. You’re already saved. This one, and all others after this, is you becoming a doer of the Word. This is you studying the Word, praying, confessing the Word, using your faith, growing in your relationship with God – understanding your authority and using it.
That’s when the ghosts, the devil and his bunch, really start to run. They’re running because you actually understand your authority in Christ and use it. You understand the power of binding and loosing – and use it. You understand what the Bible says about making the devil flee.
You understand that the Bible does not say “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Many people think that’s what it says. It doesn’t. It says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
In fact, in context it says this:
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you… – James 4:6-8
We are told to submit to God first, then we have the ability to resist the devil. The Bible says that God gives grace to the humble. That’s us submitting our actions, thought-life and beliefs to the Word of God – being a dower of the Word. That’s us drawing near to God, His Word, our relationship with Him – understand our authority through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter tells us this exact same thing.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. – 1 Peter 5:6-9 NKJV
Peter doesn’t spell out “submit to God” here, but he says it clear as day. “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.” Do what the Bible says. Then we’re told to be sober and vigilant. How are we going to do that? By doing what the Word says. Be sober on the Word of God, not drunk on the world, the schemes of the devil. We’re told here to resist him, but we’re told to do it a specific way. Resist him in the faith. That’s a specific way of resisting.
Peter knows this. Oh does Peter know this. He knows about resisting the devil. He knows because He didn’t! Go back before Peter was this great Apostle of faith. Go back to when Jesus went to the Garden to pray before the crucifixion. He takes his disciples with Him and tells them to pray with Him.
But what happens? Do they have an all night prayer meeting with the glory being poured out and the move of the Spirit taking place and everyone leaving blessed? Kind of, but not really. Jesus got what He needed. But the disciples fell asleep. He asked them to stay with Him and watch. But they didn’t. They couldn’t.
Luke 18:1 in the KJV says that Jesus spoke a parable to the disciples saying, that men should “always pray and not faint.” A few chapters later in chapter 22, Peter declares how he is going to stand with Jesus unto death. But Jesus tells him that he’s actually going to deny Him – three times, all before morning comes (the rooster crows).
Peter had a desire, a strong, emotional desire to stand side-by-side with Jesus unto death. But he didn’t have the power, the ability, the anointing to do it. We may have great plans and ideas and desire to do things for God, but until we have the power and anointing, those desires don’t mean anything. They’re just desires.
But Jesus told Peter the secret to getting that power right there in Chapter 17. He said that men should always pray and not faint. Peter fainted. He fainted in the Garden when Jesus tried to get him to pray and get the power. So when it came time to stand against the devil, he didn’t have the power. The oppression of the devil was so strong in the Garden that he couldn’t stay awake. He needed the power and that comes through prayer. It comes through that relationship and fellowship with God that it talks about in James 4, that Peter talked about in 1 Peter.
That’s how you put the devil on the run. That’s how you gobble up that power ball and turn those ghosts blue just to eat them as snacks.
Life is more than a video game. It’s more than Pac-Man eating a few balls and a giant power ball. It’s more than sitting in front of a TV screen (or phone screen now) mashing some buttons. It’s a relationship with the Creator of the Universe that is so close that His power and ability comes into us to do what we cannot do on our own. It’s putting the devil on the run and seeing the plan and will of God take place in this earth. And when that happens, there is no Game Over.