Pokemon Go is incredibly popular but it has also been a challenging reminder to me about a key element of what it means to follow Jesus.
In case you somehow aren’t familiar with it, Pokemon Go is a game that you play on a mobile phone. The game allows you to track Pokemon in the real world and when you find them you have to try to catch them.
As you arrive at a location where there is a Pokemon, the game will superimpose it over an image of what is really in front of you by using your phone’s camera and the game’s graphics.
I personally haven’t played the game, but as I have researched it and watched my son play it, I have been overwhelmed by how amazing the technology is that makes it work. Most of all though, the game has reminded me of something really important about what it means to be a Christian.
In Pokemon Go, players walk around in the real world but they see glimpses into another reality through their mobile phones. I have heard about some players get so engrossed by the Pokemon they can see that it begins to take priority over their physical surroundings. This can result in them being injured as they fall into holes or walk into trees.
Christians live in the real world but when Jesus was on the Earth, he talked about ‘The Kingdom of God’ which is a place where God is recognized as King and where his values and commands are obeyed.
The Kingdom of God isn’t a physical place or country, it is a spiritual reality that is all around us.
Pokemon Go has reminded me that whilst I live in the real world that I should be looking for what God is doing in his Kingdom as well. Instead of just reacting to things in a natural way, I need to think more about how I engage with issues or situations based on what God wants.
If my daughter is being bullied, my natural instinct is to feel angry and to want
revengejustice. God I believe wants me to have compassion for the bully, that I might pray for them that they might be healed of the hurt that is causing them to bully others (I can still want what is just and right as well as doing praying compassionately).
If I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed, my natural instinct is to hide away and to protect myself but God wants me to find rest in him. It’s possible to receive God’s supernatural strength and focus to help us to do anything he is calling us to do. (I can find rest in God whilst also acknowledging that I need to rest well by taking time out).
As I walk around and see people in need, I sometimes feel too busy to help but God wants me to receive his compassion and to look to him for inspiration to see how I could possibly help.
Pokemon Go players are impacted by what they see through their phones and I want to be impacted more and more by the reality of the Kingdom of God and what it is that God is doing.
My son (I won’t say which one) is fairly addicted to Pokemon Go. At various points in the day he will dash out of the house because his phone has told him that there is a Pokemon nearby.
I want to become more addicted to the Kingdom of God. That I will see and hear what God is doing and that I would be willing to let Him lead me into it.
When Jesus was on the Earth, he used the things around him as examples and metaphors to teach about discipleship. His followers heard about a sower, a net, trees growing from small seeds etc and these things helped them to understand faith and following Jesus. I thank God that he still speaks in a similar way today and that something like Pokemon Go can teach us so much about what it means to live in the world and the Kingdom of God.
God, please open our eyes that we might see more clearly what you are doing and that we might be willing to join in with it.