Hands of praying young man and Bible on a wooden table.

— Pastor Seth Buckner is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, in Jefferson. He can be reached via email at pastorseth@hopeatheritage.com.

In the 1960s, a psychologist wrote a book “Games People Play” that has sold over five million copies. The author’s premise was this: “We think we’re relating to other people — but actually we’re all playing games.” Psalm 12:2 puts it this way: “They speak vanity everyone with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.”

Worse than playing games with each other is when we play games with God. It is sad testimony when Christians are not honest and upfront in their relationship with the Lord. Christianity should not be something that we turn on at church and turn off in life.

Some believers feel like a religious T-shirt or a cross around their neck means more than it really does. These can be a beautiful display of an inward faith. They can also be just a game. Is your heart right with God, or are you just playing games?

I Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

So if you think that merely saying the Lord’s prayer is magically protecting you, you are playing games. If you think carrying a Bible under your arm everywhere you go is pleasing God, you are playing games. God is not pleased with our religious trappings.

Games are not for grown-up believers. Now, it is not my job to decide who is playing and who is not, but you can be sure that God knows. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

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— Pastor Seth Buckner is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, in Jefferson. He can be reached via email at pastorseth@hopeatheritage.com.