Have you ever played the children’s board game, Candy Land?
The box says: “Welcome to Candy Land…. A world of sweet adventure! Come and visit some very special friends. Travel the path and stop along the way to explore the Peppermint Forest, the Gumdrop Mountains, and the Chocolate Swamp. As you go, don’t forget to visit fun-loving Gramma Nutt and beautiful Princess Frostine. But watch out for the ever menacing Lord Licorice.”
Candy Land was my daughter’s first and most favorite game; we would play it endlessly and sometimes the game ended in tears!
(Don't judge even though she was only four- I wouldn’t allow her to cheat, we had to follow the instructions and I certainly never just let her win. The child had to learn how to play fair and square.)
Now, you can criticize me all you want, but my daughter learned that no one likes a sore-loser and there is no accomplishment in winning the wrong way!
What I didn’t appreciate was that I was not only teaching her a character lesson, but also a valuable lesson about Christ.
Yes, the message of Christ in a child's game!
Let’s think about it…. the game really does mimic life. It has a beginning and an end. A journey done with family and friends, navigating mountain tops and valleys that are filled with both sweetness and danger. You encounter setbacks, learn the tenacity of endurance with the goal of safely reaching the Candy Castle at the end.
Honestly, the game isn't fun played alone or with cheaters who make up the rules as they go along.
Interestingly, most folks don’t want to follow the instructions or take the right path. We try to play by ourselves, throw the instructions away and make up our own rules. Then we wonder why we get stuck on the licorice spaces and many tragically realize too late that the game comes to an end and not everyone is a winner!
Why do you think we have so many different views, religions, and pathways to God? We just adore to change things!
Do you realize that even within the same “religious umbrella” we like to add our own “man-made stuff” to the game?
I recently heard an excellent example of this very thing-- a Catholic priest teaching his congregation that ONLY Catholics go to Heaven!” No Candy Castle for you if you don’t wear the Catholic label!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16
Pretty simple instruction (straight from Scripture), so I’m unclear where this new “rule” came into play that says only those that wear the Catholic label could achieve the goal of eternal life!
Hmmm… Makes you think, doesn't it?
We love to complicate things – add labels, rules, rituals and even devising multiple paths to God! We want to play the game however we like and believe that eventually, everyone will end up at the same goal!
Jesus said to him, “I am THE way, and THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~ John 14:6
He did NOT say, "I am one of many ways you can go, pick whatever path you think would be best, follow whatever instructions you feel like and I’ll just see you all there! Have fun in the Peppermint Forest and don’t worry about the path you take or the manner in which you arrive.”
Ironically, almost every major world religion recognizes Jesus in some fashion. They declare him a great teacher, gifted leader, prophet, and humanitarian. Heck, even Mahatma Gandhi believed Jesus was an ethical symbol. Some may even say Jesus was crazy, but none can dispute that no other historical figure has had more of a global impact than Jesus Christ.
Only Jesus completely turned this world upside down and continues to do so today (2,000 years later), yet we trivialize His importance, His words and want to change the game to suit ourselves.
Folks we aren’t God. We aren’t the inventor of this game called life and trying to throw the instructions away, make up new rules and create new paths to our ultimate goal isn’t going to get us anywhere of lasting importance!
The bottom line to playing this game of life and winning isn't found in religions, rituals, rules and good deeds.
How to PLAY & WIN the game is ONLY found in having a
RELATIONSHIP with Christ.
So simple it’s child’s play!
Father, thank you for the beautiful gift of life; may we seek to journey through life with Jesus by our side and your word in our hearts. I pray that all come to know Him and declare Jesus is the only path to you! He is our salvation, our truth, our provision and our life.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:9