What is the meaning of the apostle Paul’s words “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? This article will tell you the answer and how to pray without ceasing.
I Have Overcome Online Games Addiction Successfully
By Xinzhi, America
I used to be a lively child, fond of playing football, swimming and photographing. In my parents’ eyes, I was a little naughty but still counted as being obedient. Yet, I changed since I got in touch with online games.
1. Addicted to the Online Games, I Lived a Life of Turning Night Into Day
When I was in the second term of third grade, my family and I went to Singapore together. Many things here were novel to me. Especially after a broadband network was installed in my house, on the computer, I saw the videos of others playing online games. And these videos brought me superb vision experience, and I never tasted them at home. I saw a game in which one can build his own world when I was in sixth grade. So when I returned from school every day, the first thing I did was watch videos on the Internet. What’s more, I watched them one by one. I seemed to be fascinated, lying down, sitting down or lying facedown to watch and even forgetting to eat my dinner and do my homework. Unconsciously it was three or four o’clock a.m. next day. Then I went to school after sleeping one or two hours, and sometimes I even watched all night. I repeated such a life every day, and as a result my schedule was irregular. And I knew it was harmful to my health, but I couldn’t control myself. Owing to staying up too late at night, I would be awfully tired in the morning and I thought: How wonderful it is if I don’t go to school. If like that, I would not do so much homework or get up early, and I could do anything as I wish. How free this life will be!
Hence, I began to be tired of going to school. Even if I went to school unwillingly, I didn’t have the heart to listen to the teacher. Instead, my brain was full of the violence and killing of the games. Seeing the characters in the games could do all kinds of wonderful acts, I often fancied it would be extraordinary if I could do that. At that time, I hoped the school let out early so that I could go home to play games. Furthermore, I dozed off as soon as it was time for classes, and I was so sleepy that I couldn’t open my eyes. My marks fell into a decline, and I was shortsighted. Except the time that I spent on school, I spent other time on playing the computer lying in bed. I didn’t have time to speak with my family, and even was unwilling to do the housework in my power. When my classmates asked me to play basketball, I refused because I was afraid to miss the amazing games. As all my family had a medical, the doctor told me: “You are so young, but each of your indicators is not as good as your parents.” Thus my mother often tried to persuade me to quit playing games, but I answered impatiently: “What’s wrong with playing games? I’m not doing anything bad!” When my mother wanted to nag at me, I was in a hurry to say halfheartedly: “I got it, I got it, and you go out quickly.” Sometimes I would lock the door in order to stop her coming in. My father also said: “The child used to be obedient, but now he wastes more time on playing online games and watching videos, and moreover, is unwilling to listen to our words.” However, despite what they said, I still played games. When I felt impatient, I would have a quarrel with them. Yet, after that, I thought I had gone too far, but I was unable to extricate myself. I gradually grew further and further apart from my parents.
Afterward, my mother saw I was absorbed in the Internet, and then she limited how much time each day that I could surf the Internet, and the rest of the time, my computer was put away. I knew what my mother did was good, but I opposed when she put it away, and thought: “I just like watching videos and play a bit more? What’s the big deal? Why do you put it away?” I often wrangled with my mother. And I always took my computer secretly and continued playing when she fell asleep at midnight.
2. I Awakened And Saw Through the Substance and Harm of the Online Games
One time, I was discovered by my mother when I was playing the game secretly. I thought I would get a scolding, but unexpectedly my mother didn’t scold me, and instead patiently fellowshiped with me: “I allow you to play the computer, but you should play it appropriately and what you do shouldn’t affect your study and life. Now you do it so frequently that your study and life have been irregular.” Then my mother read a passage of God’s words: “Playing games is like taking a kind of drug. Once someone starts to play games, once they enter into them, then it becomes hard to get back out and hard to quit. So regardless of whether it is young people or older people, once they catch this bad habit, it becomes difficult to give it up. Some parents try to keep a close eye on their children but they can’t always be watching them. They may not play games during the day, but when their parents go to bed at night, they furtively turn the computer on, and play games all night long. A few years ago, there was a news report about a child who played computer games for 12 hours straight, who, it is certain, got no sleep during that time, who just played constantly, to what extent? When his parents found him, he was dead in front of the computer with his hands and his entire body positioned as though he was still playing the game. So how did he die? It was verified scientifically that he had died of cerebral necrosis—he played himself to death! Tell Me, is playing games something that normal humanity should do? If games were needed for normal humanity, if it were the right path, then how come people cannot quit them? How come people can be captivated by them to such a degree? This proves one thing: That is not a good path. Surfing online for this or for that and playing games is not a good path. It is not the right path.”
My mother said in earnest: “Xinzhi, God’s words tell us playing online games is not a correct path but a method by which Satan fools and harms you. Once you are addicted to it, it will control you like drugs. Just as some youngers were absorbed in online games so deeply that they played them day and night, and died before computers at last. Satan not only forces us to lose a normal life by this but also fools us to death; this is its final aim. Since you were addicted to online games, your life has been irregular, that is to say, you don’t sleep at bedtime, don’t get up at wake-up time and don’t eat at mealtimes. You are so young, but you are shortsighted. Will you be healthy if you continue on like this? You were obedient and behaved well before, and were a great help for parents. But since you were absorbed in online games, you have had less chat with us, are unwilling to do the housework you can do; moreover, you don’t want to go out, and even lose all interest in your favorite swim and basketball. We see you have changed like this, so we are worried about you. We’ve talked with you, scolded you and even put your computer away and limited your playtime. And all possible means we could think of have been tried. However, not only have you not been changed, you keep your distance from us. Now God’s words reveal the methods and consequences that Satan harms us, so we ought to know and discern from Satan’s substance, and don’t be deceived by Satan. Only by coming often before God, listening to God’s words, practicing according to His words, can we live in the care and protection of God and forsake the flesh to break free from Satan’s shackles.”
After hearing my mother’s fellowship, I knew playing games resulted in so serious consequences. God’s words were saying my circumstances. It was as difficult for me to give up surfing the Internet as it was for others to give up drugs. I said to my mother: “I feel pain. I want to have regular sleep, meals and study, but I can’t control myself.” My mother said to me: “If you can’t control yourself, you canand ask Him to help you give up gradually. Through praying more and reading God’s words more, you’ll see through Satan’s tricks, and then you won’t be deceived by Satan.” Mother leaving, I prayed to God: “God, I know playing the computer and video games are the methods by which the devil Satan corrupts us, not a correct path. But I can’t control myself. I hope You lead me to escape from online games. Thank God. Amen!”
From then on, I accepted my mother’s supervision. She warned me when she saw that I overran the allotted time when surfing the Internet, and then I was obedient to my mother and stopped. I didn’t dare play all nights during that time. Yet, after a few days, I couldn’t control myself. When I was watching videos about games, I was attracted by the plots of the videos. I had meant to stop after watching one but always wanted to watch the next, as if I was led around on a leash by the videos. Actually, I felt uneasy or disquieted in my heart when I was watching videos. Because I had prayed to God but didn’t practice as I said, then I thought I told lies to God. Thereby, I prayed to God: “Oh God, I know it is harmful for me to play games, but I’m too little in stature, so I can’t extricate from Satan’s temptation by myself. May You enlighten and lead me, and save me.” Then I saw God’s words: “Let Me tell you, when people play games for a long time, their willpower would evaporate. The unbelievers have a word to describe this. What is it? It is ‘decadence.’ Always playing games, always playing on the computer—this kind of person is decadent. ‘Decadence’ is a word of the unbelievers. We say that these people have no normal humanity. They have been filled with the violence and killing of these games and with the things of virtual worlds. The things of normal humanity have been stripped away by these games, filled and forcibly occupied by them, and they have forcibly occupied the things within people’s thoughts as well as any room they have for thought; they are then decadent.” “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. … For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist. ”
Reading God’s words, I understood that Satan uses social trends to corrupt, control and swallow up us. Satan causes online games which control us like drugs, which make us be addicted to them and unable to free ourselves. At last, we lose a normal life and aim that we should seek, and our entire beings become decadent. I thought back to the time before I was not absorbed in online games when my dream was to be an athlete. So I always was willing to practice football well. As I grew older, I wanted to engage in taking photographs. But since online games entered into my life, I had no interest in anything and spent all my time on computer. I didn’t take my study to heart, and even didn’t think about my life in the future. I only would like to watch videos at home all day and to live in virtual world. I found online games had been leading me by the nose so that I had an irregular life, my study was impacted, even I lost normal humanity and sense, and my health got worse and worse. If it continued, I would be exactly decadent. Besides, there was no communication between my parents and me, but more and more estrangement, which would bring great pain and harm for us. I didn’t want to be harmed by Satan. And I knew that God becomes flesh in the last days to express truths for saving us so as to let us see through the tricks of Satan corrupting man, so as to make us free from Satan’s shackles to live before God. At that moment, I had the will to betray Satan and was willing to extricate myself from online games by relying on God.
3. I’ve Changed And Said “Bye-Bye” to Online Games
Then I saw God’s words: “First of all, make a plan for your everyday life—what time every day you perform your spiritual devotions, what time you pray-read God’s words, what time for your free activities, how to handle things when they arise, what principles to do them with, what principles and standards you need to do your own duties well—all these things must be determined. You must practice in strict accordance with this schedule.” “If you want to believe well, then the foundations of your belief in God must first be stabilized. First lay down the foundations, and then gradually, little by little, give up your pernicious ways, your misbehavior, your bad habits and the bad ways in which you live, and become someone with humanity and someone who lives with normal humanity. Your spiritual life must become normal, your life with normal humanity must also become normal, and it must be orderly, not slovenly. In this way, you will not only be able to do your duty well and have your duty guaranteed, but you will also be able to progress in the life of believing in God and have orderliness in this life, and this life will become more and more normal. When your spiritual life becomes more and more normal, you will see ever more clearly the matter of believing in God, and will understand more and more the significance of belief in God. Worldly matters, the trends of society, the things that attract you and seduce you—you will become more and more able to relinquish these things. Do you have the resolution to become a genuine person? (Yes!)” God’s words showed me the way I should practice to live out a normal humanity. The first step, I should maintain a regular sleep schedule and an orderly lifestyle, organize my day and plan out a schedule every day, including things like when to get up, when to go to sleep, when to have dinner, when to study, and when to surf the Internet should be planned. Besides, my spiritual life should be proper, I should pray to God for everything, and I should listen to more songs of God’s words and watch videos from God’s family. And my mother had fellowshiped with me: “We should practice to rebel against the flesh according to God’s words if we want to achieve a transformation. And then we can get out of these bad habits a little bit at a time and live a normal life.” After that, I made a time schedule for myself and ration my computer time every day according to God’s words. I played the computer for three hours at most a day, scrolled through more meaningful things. I went out more for some exercise at other time.
I practiced as the schedule for several days, and I felt well. Nevertheless, not long after, I couldn’t control myself, and always would like to play games a little longer. But at that time, I felt shame in my heart and thought: Why can I not rebel against the flesh? Won’t I be controlled by Satan if I continue like this? I hated myself for having no will to overcome Satan. Then I prayed to God: “God, I have a desire to practice in accordance with my schedule, to change my rules of life and to be a normal man. Yet, my freshly desire is strong and it’s hard for me to forsake it. So may You lead me and give me the will to forsake the flesh.” Thank God! After praying to God, I gradually spent less time on watching videos about games on the Internet under God’s leadership, and moreover, God arranged an environment which helped me give up Internet addiction.
At that time, my mother needed to leave home for a while because of something, so I lived with brothers and sisters. Then I was restricted with regard to time and the environment. Everyone kept early hours, and I also did that. On my holidays, I would get up for spiritual devotions with some young brothers and sisters at six or seven in the morning, and thus naturally I had less time for playing on the computer. In addition, I went over into leading a regular church life, and learned Chinese, English and dancing with them. …The more positive things I came into contact with, the less addicted I was to the Internet, and the more easily I rebelled against the flesh. Gradually my condition became normal. God’s words ask me to have a good chat with my family. Thus I practice according to God’s words, telling everything to my mother. What’s more, I have learned to help young brothers and sisters. When they have some conditions and problems, I also find God’s words to communicate with them and to support them. Now my life has been more and more regular, I going to bed earlier and getting up earlier than before, and my diet has been regular.
My mother said I have had more changes during this time, so did my brothers and sisters. Hearing that, I was very happy. I know it is God that always helps me by my side. And God didn’t abandon me when I was deceived by Satan. It is God’s words that have changed and saved me. So I become determined to believe in God, to read God’s words thoroughly and to be a man that lives out a normal humanity under His leadership. Thank God! All the glory be to God!
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