Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The Game of Life

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27, NKJV)

There are two words that are prominent when we think of the human race.  One is create and one is birth.  God created mankind, but mankind reproduces through natural birth.  Everyone born into this world is a part of God’s creation.  God put something in motion when He created Adam and Eve that leaves many of us asking the question, “why?”

I am Not a Volunteer

I personally did not ask to be born and I certainly haven’t asked to die.  Yet without my approval or input, I was born and apart from the rapture of the church, I will die.  Why was I not given a choice in this game we call life?  Why was I not given a choice as to where I would be born and as to when I would be born? Some people think that because we didn’t have any choice as to how we came into the world, we don’t have any choices as to the way we live this life God has given us.  They think everything is predetermined.  They think some have been chosen to go to heaven and the rest by default are assigned to the caverns of the damned.

Distinctions that Must be Made

I submit that there is a big difference between God’s knowledge of all that has happened and all that will happen and His causing everything to happen.  He knew Eve would be deceived by Satan, but did He predetermine that as part of the game of life?  I don’t think so.  While I believe that we have to take responsibility for the choices we make in this life,  I do believe that often God intervenes in our affairs, particularly if we have found Him to be trustworthy.    But like any good parent, He has asked us to submit to His authority.  He tells us that there are consequences when we do not submit to Him and there is blessing when we do.

What is the Reason for this Game?

So why are we in this game of life?  One thing I do know is God wanted a bride for His Son.  He wanted people that would worship  Him in spirit and in truth.  He wanted people who would love Him just because they had been given the gift of life.  As to why we were born where we were born and into the families and countries where we were born,  I can’t answer.  I can’t answer why some of us are born rich and some are not.  Some are born healthy and some are not.  Some are born with inbred weaknesses to certain addictions and some are not. We may not have volunteered for this gig called life,  but we are in it whether we like it or not.  I suspect that the best way to figure out the what and why of this game would be to read the instructions (the Bible).  But even then, many things are not clear.

I personally believe some things are predetermined by God.  He has predetermined that believers go to heaven and unbelievers go to eternal destruction.   However, He has not predetermined who will believe and who will not.  He would not command us to believe on the Lord Jesus if we could not do it. He has predetermined service responsibilities (for example, apostles and prophets) based on his foreknowledge of the people chosen.  Even when it comes to ruling over nations, apparently we may vote but He determines who will win.

Does God change His Mind?

While I believe that some things are preordained I also believe that some are not.  Why pray if prayer does not change things because everything is predetermined?

Does God change His mind when we pray?  Sometimes no.  Balaam could not get Him to change His mind.  Moses could.  God tells us that when Moses interceded for the children of Israel after they made the golden calf while Moses was in the mountain that the Lord changed His mind.  We read, “So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.” (Exodus 32:14, NKJV).  Since translators don’t like to think that an omnipotent, omniscient God would ever change HIs mind, they have used the word relent to translate this word which the KJV translates repent.  Many other translations say He changed His mind.  Because God was not a man that could be manipulated,  He would not change His mind when it came to Balaam’s desire to get Him to do that since Balaam wanted the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.  But we have example after example in the Bible where prayer changed things.  Isaiah, for example, got fifteen more years to live as a result of prayer.  God told Isaiah,  “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (Isaiah 38:5, NKJV)

So I would assume that through prayer and through submission to the word of God,  we can have some say in this game of life.  We can either make our moves based on the Word of God as illuminated by the Holy Spirit or we can rebel and go our own way.  The end result of going our own way will be disaster.  When we pray about the things that glorify the Lord, we can change things.

We may not understand this game of life.  We may even think it is an unfair life in many ways.  But while we are here, I think it is only prudent to submit to the will of our creator and to believe what He has said.  Even the Lord was willing to submit to a plan where the blueprint was His Father’s.  He said in the Garden,  “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup (this attack by Satan to get Him to take His life instead of going to the cross) pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39, NKJV).

Risk Averters vs Risk Takers

In this game of life that in many ways we don’t understand,  I am a risk averter not a risk taker.  And since God is going to have the final say as to who wins and who loses, I am going to play by the rules.  The first one is, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent (this is a command), and believe (this is a command)  in the gospel.”” (Mark 1:15, NKJV)  I believe that it is only prudent to do what the Creator wants us to do.   And I believe that is possible for each person born into this world.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the weeks of December 10 and 17, 2023

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