One of the things that I have been doing during this time of self-isolation is that I watch old Survivor episodes and then Jon Moe and I discuss them in view of our faith. There is no doubt that it would be a hard game to play while maintaining your faith and a good conscience.
In the season that I am watching there is a lady who has done a really good job of living out her faith. It has not always been easy, but for the most part she has made good decisions and has been quick to correct any wrongs that she has done. Unlike some, you can tell that her faith in Christ is a significant part of her life and she is quite capable of making good decisions and discerning the proper response in view of her faith most of the time.
In the last episode that I watched she was struggling with some of those issues again. There is only six contestants left and the million dollar prize will be awarded in about a week. All of this is making her question what she would do in this process to have her chance at winning all of the money in the end. Would she be willing to break her commitment to others? Would she be willing to do whatever it would take to win the money?
As she contemplated these things she seemed to see that there are some boundaries that she would not cross. There are some actions that she could not take. There are some plays that would not be worth doing if she were to undermine her faith in the process.
About that time, the six contestants got to see one of their relatives from home and spend some time with them. This lady got to see her younger brother. It was an emotional scene. He came running out of the woods yelling, “Sister!” and she was crying so hard she could not hardly say a word. I must admit, I got a little teary eyed watching it.
Her brother told her to remember that this is just a game and that she should out-wit, out-maneuver, and outlast everyone to get her chance at the million dollars. And by the end of the visit she was convinced that this was just a game and that she could do more than she thought to make it to the end.
Did the brother give her good advice? Did he tell her what she really needed to hear? How would you have instructed this person to play this game? What advice would you have given her? Would it have been biblical or would it have just sounded biblical. One thing is for sure, she thought that her brother had told her exactly what she needed to hear. She was invigorated and ready to compete to the very end.
All of this made me think of the apostle Paul. He is nearing the end of his ministry and the end of his life. He had often told Timothy to live with this aim in life: to have a love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. As Paul came to the end of his very difficult course he had kept all of these things to the very end: a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. Surly there were so many temptations to abandon these things along the way and that would have left him wandering into dangerous things.
What was it that helped Paul keep these things to the very end? What was it that always gave Paul good, godly, and wise instruction?
At the end of his life, Paul was looking forward to Timothy coming to see him in prison and he tells him, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.”
Paul longed to see TImothy but he wanted above all other things to have the scriptures brought to him so that he could be built up, strengthened, encouraged, and directed in the counsel of the Word.
What if Lisa’s brother would have come to her and not given his opinion as to what she should do; but rather, simply quoted to her some scriptures? Perhaps he might have quoted to her Proverbs 28:6, “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” If he had quoted her this verse it would have been more in line with what she had previously decided to do.
Or maybe he could have quoted her Psalm 125:1,3, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” Then verse three says, “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.”
Perhaps this verse may have encouraged her to see that there is no game that would negate how God views the sort of temptations and sins that often need to be done to win this game. If the temptation to transgress is so strong in this game, is it not always present in my life as well? Who am I listening too? Are they giving me good advice, godly advice, scriptural advice?
It was obvious that Lisa’s brother loved her. Nonetheless, he could have given her better advice. Lot’s of people love me, but they have not always given me the most godly advice. All the more reason to be in the Word of God so that I can discern the will of God in all situations. Life is not a game and the judge is watching what we do. Are we playing by the world’s rules are by the Lord’s?