My in-laws introduced me to the game Aggravation, similar to Sorry, it is played on a wooden board with marbles. Last year I finally broke down and bought me one. I didn’t consider the only time I would play is when company came into town as my husband doesn’t care for games outside of computer or Xbox.
Yesterday I was playing Aggravation with two of my grandchildren. My grandson is pretty competitive, as am I. He is declaring who is in the lead from the first move. As I layed down to sleep last night I thought about how we try to walk the Christian walk as if we are playing a game.
My grandson loved to land on his sister’s game piece and send her back to start. She would do it, but usually less intentionally than he did. When she would do it to him, he would intentionally work to get her piece back to start.
We often act like we are in competition with others. So often we are competing with someone who is just walking their Christian life. Many times the other person isn’t even aware that we are trying to “beat” them. Most of the time, if we allow God to show us, we will realize we are not even in the same game with the other person. We each have our own race to run. The only person we are competing against is the person we were yesterday.
If we aren’t competing, we are still comparing. It is easy when your playing Aggravation to compare how many pieces you have out of the start spot versus the other players. We all have the same amount of space between start and finish, but we compare where we are at in the game.
It is the same in the Christian walk. We might be on similar paths, but sometimes another person is going to be farther along in one area. Someone else might have an easier start, or like an arrow have been pulled back so far that when we see them take off it looks like they are propelling so far past us. We don’t know what other people’s story looked like from the start. We don’t know what they have walked though or are even still facing. Comparison kills in the Christian life, and honestly in life in general.
“You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done.” Galatians 6:4
One of the rules in Aggravation is that regardless of where your pieces are, you can never pass another one of your pieces. This can be aggravating, but it’s all part of the game.
In our Christian walk, we can never pass ourselves. We show ourselves approved when our faith and actions line up with His Word. The closer we draw to Him, the farther He can take us. God is not going to ask us to do anything He has not prepared us for. We need to do our part in preparing ourselves.
“Do your best to win full approval in God’s sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God’s truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
In Aggravation, there is a shortcut you can take in the center of the board. You can only do it on the first stretch as you are leaving the start. You have to get an exact roll to get in the shortcut. Then roll a one to get out of it. My grandson kept wanting to use the shortcut on other stretches of the game. He would get frustrated because the game doesn’t work that way.
I think there are times we try to get in front of God. We know He has called us to it. However we want to take a shortcut to His plans and purpose for our life. We don’t want to put in the work that it takes for us be prepared and approved for His work. When we try to take the shortcuts we either fail or cause chaos as we try to produce in the flesh what can only be produced through God in the Spirit.
Often in the game, you have to start over. When someone lands on the piece of their opponent, the opponent has to return their piece to the start position. Then they have to wait until they roll a six or a one before putting the piece back into play.
There have been times in my Christian walk I had to start over. Not that I’m not saved, but I have to get back to the basics, the fundamentals of my Christian walk. Going back to the fundamentals, like prayer, reading the Bible, meditating on the Word, discipleship, worship, can feel like starting over. We know these things; so much that we often have to humble ourselves because we stray from the foundations.
“Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health.” Proverbs 4:20-22
The goal of Aggravation is to get all the pieces home. Most games have a single piece to move. Aggravation has four. The goal is to get all four pieces, by exact count into the home. Then you win the game.
As Christians, we are called to a heavenly home. We are suppose to not only get there ourselves, but also share the Good News with others. It is not just about us making it, but who can we bring along with us.
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” II Corinthians 5:1
“We, however, are citizens of heaven, and we eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven.” Philippians 3:20
Life can be aggravating, even as a Christian. It is better when we realize we are not competing against anyone else and we don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else either. We can never pass the preparation that we have put in for the plans and purpose God has for us. There is no shortcut in our relationship with God. We are as close to Him as we chose to be. Sometimes it feels like we have to start back at the basics. It doesn’t mean we are losing, just that we are staying grounded in Him. Finally our goals is to make it to Heaven and bring as many people as we can with us. Christianity is not a game, but an eternal preparation.
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