Video games can be fun, and we do have the freedom to enjoy entertaining ourselves how we choose. The Bible never says, "Thou shalt not play video games." (Obviously, they weren't around at the time.) But certain things are laid out for us in the Bible we can apply to answer this question.
For example, if video games have become an idol, or something that is more important to you than your relationship with God, definitely stop playing (Colossians 3:5; Revelation 2:4). We should not allow anything to distract us from God. Some things may be perfectly fine, but if that thing becomes an idol to you, then it is no longer good for you.
Questions to Ask about Video Games
- Does your practice of playing video games build you up or tear you down? Do they make you a stronger Christian? 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says, "'I have the right to do anything,' you say—but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others."
As Christians, we are free to choose what we do to entertain ourselves, but we have to look at what is best for us personally. Galatians 5:13-17 tells us that we should always choose the better thing.
- Does your choice of video games obey God's will or a selfish will? Jesus told us in Luke 10:27 to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" That is God's will for His children. Our human will often tends toward greed, pollution, and sin. We were saved from that wicked will, therefore we should surrender our will to God (Philippians 3:7-9).
It's a process, but eventually we will learn that what God wants for us is best, and His will will gradually become our own (Psalm 143:10). Some might think that God's plan is impossible or too holy to be any fun, but God wants to give you the power to live it out and love doing it (Psalm 40:8a; Hebrews 13:21).
- Does your choice of video games glorify God? 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us to glorify and honor God in all we do. That simply means that we speak and act in a way that shows respect to our Creator, such as exhibiting good, moral character. Can you honor God while playing video games?
- Can you practice self-control in your video games? The Christian life is likened to that of an athlete by the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). Video games can become an addiction to certain people. Is there room for addictions in a Christian's life? Nope! Addictions are a distraction from the goal of living like Christ. We have to be like a runner training for a race and stay focused on Christ—not thinking on things like how we're going to reach the next level in a game.
- Does playing video games waste your time? We can probably all agree that playing a video game for hours at a time is not a good use of time. There's nothing wrong with playing for a little while, but we can't allow any earthly pursuit to take up all our valuable time.
Ephesians 5:15-17 says, "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." 1 Peter 4:2 says, "Live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God." (Also see Colossians 4:5, James 4:14, and 1 Peter 1:14-22.)
- Does your video game playing or game choices pass the test of Philippians 4:8? I know, this verse can get really annoying, and it is definitely misused sometimes. It says, "Finally, brothers, 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." What this is saying is that our main focus should be good things that are good for us—not the sex, gore, and violence that are a part of many video games. Don't let worldly things dwell at the forefront of your mind for long.
- Does playing video games show that I am different? Or does it show that we have become "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:4)? Western culture fits that description. We love to play, and that's okay. But "in a crooked and depraved generation," we should "shine like stars in the universe" (Philippians 2:15). Non-Christians can be easily addicted to entertainment because they're trying to get as much pleasure out of life as they can. They don't have the hope for eternity after death that Christians do.
If we are addicted to the same things that non-Christians are, how are we showing we are different? Our words and actions prove our faith in Christ and show that we have been changed by Him.
Paul considered knowing, loving, and obeying God to be his highest priority. "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ... I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Philippians 3:7-10). What's your highest priority?
Does playing video games show your love for God?
The Bible doesn't say "no" or "yes" to video games. We have the freedom to enjoy entertainment because of Christ's sacrifice. But we do need to be discerning about what's best for us. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us, and He will convict you if you are choosing unwisely (John 16:7-9).
Talk to God about it, asking Him to help you honor Him and if you can honor Him with your pastime activities. Remember, just because something is allowed, that doesn't mean it's beneficial to you. You have given your life to God, and He wants the best for you. You can trust Him to govern your choices.