"Are You Playing The Faith Game?"
By Edie Bayer
I have read Matthew 17 dozens, maybe even hundreds of times. Each time the Lord shows me something different. One morning, I saw something I have never seen before: different "levels" – like video game levels
– as a story progressed. If you are a gamer, you will know exactly what I mean!
I have found that some video games are made from movies, but sometimes movies are made from video games! These video
games always begin with a narrative, then the action begins. The good guy has to beat whatever bad guys are on the first level. The action builds up, the scene explodes, then there is a "plateau" to catch a breath and gear up for the next level. This formula
usually includes a continuation of the narrative, or an explanation of the new level to come.
Although the story lines are different, the formula is always the same! The one thing that always happens at
the end of each movie, and the highest level of each video game, is that the hero has to beat the biggest, baddest villain of them all – "The Boss."
The Faith Game - Level 1
Let's call Matthew 17 "The Faith Game," beginning with level 1:
Here, we have the narrative. Jesus takes His disciples to the mountaintop. They don't even know WHY He is taking them up there,
but soon the action starts. Jesus transfigures, revealing His God-self to His disciples. The action intensifies when their Old Testament heroes, Elijah and Moses, show up, continuously speaking to Jesus. Peter speaks, causing this reaction – God thunders
out of a cloud of light:
"This is My Son, My Beloved, with Whom I am [and have always been] delighted. Listen to Him!" (Matthew 17:5b)
The Faith Game
level 1 assignment has been made clear: LISTEN TO JESUS.
Next "cut scene" is the plateau. The action ceases, allowing their heart rate to slow down and the adrenaline to stop flowing. The disciples fall
on their faces in fear after hearing the Lord speak. Jesus comes over, touches them and tells them NOT to be afraid. (Remember, their faith assignment on level 1 is to listen to Jesus!) Immediately, the cloud is gone, God is silent again, Moses and Elijah
disappear and all that is left with them on the mountaintop is Jesus. Frankly, that's all we need, and we have passed level 1. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
The Faith Game - Level 2
The Faith Game, level 2. The narrative for this plateau: Jesus is headed back down the mountain with the guys in tow. Their instruction for this level, and the following level, is to not relay anything they've seen until He is risen from the dead.
Hit the "PAUSE" button here.
Remember how every movie and every video game have THE BOSS? "The Boss," for all of us that play The Faith Game, is DEATH, Hell and
the grave. We now have insight into who The Boss is – and it's not satan!
Push the "PLAY" button now to continue.
While they trek downhill,
Jesus sets the scene for His resurrection, telling them what would happen during the passion. They get it because they learned to LISTEN in level 1.
It's their FAITH!
Finally, arriving at the bottom of the mountain, they are met by an enormous crowd. The action once more begins to build. A man begs Jesus to heal his son, stating that His disciples were unable to do it. Jesus gets upset, railing on this guy, saying,
"O you unbelieving (warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me." (Matthew 17:17b AMPC)
Jesus rebuked the demon, it left the boy and he was cured instantly. Boom!
Again, a plateau, which calms everyone down, explaining the lesson they just learned. This cut-scene is where the disciples ask
Him why THEY couldn't drive the demon out.
It's their FAITH!
"He said to them, 'Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly
relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to yonder place," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.'" (Matthew 17:20)
The Faith Game - Level 3
The Faith Game, level 3: The narrative continues. Jesus tells the disciples what is going to happen to the Son of Man, including even
more details this time. Now remember, in the previous 2 levels of The Faith Game they have learned to LISTEN to Jesus, and to use their FAITH.
Are you playing The Faith Game?
The action begins. Peter is in Capernaum; the Jewish tax collectors ask him for money for the temple, alluding that Jesus hasn't paid. Jesus gives him further instructions for this level of The Faith Game. (Photo via PXhere)
"And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him [about it] first, saying, 'What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or tribute – from their own sons or from others not of their own family?' And when Peter said, 'From
other people not of their own family,' Jesus said to him, 'Then the sons are exempt.'" (Matthew 17:25b-26)
Peter has learned that the sons are exempt from the rule of this world. He has learned his position
as a son in the Kingdom of God, and about his authority. He now has 3 mighty weapons that he can use in The Faith Game: 1) Listen to Jesus, 2) Use Your Faith, 3) and Know Your Position of Authority.
closing out this level of The Faith Game, Jesus gives this instruction to Peter – and indeed to ALL of us who are playing The Faith Game:
"However, in order not to give offense and cause them to
stumble [that is, to cause them to judge unfavorably and unjustly] go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel. Take it and give it to them to pay the temple tax for Me
and for yourself." (Matthew 17:27)
This is a game inside of a game; we must play the game of this world – not by the rules of this world, but by the rules of The Faith Game. We are not of this world!
We are aliens, just passing through. We have supernatural power, and supernatural help is available to us. We have the Holy Spirit of God – a full 1/3 of the Trinity – residing inside of us!
has given us mighty weapons of warfare to enable us to walk by FAITH, listening to Him as we use our authority that He has given us while we are training for reigning in this level of existence.
all, there is a new level after this one that we are to live in...the Kingdom of Heaven.
Bless you as you play The Faith Game!
By Edie Bayer
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321