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TeensWho Pushes Your Buttons?
By Matthew Gabhart

If youíve ever played a video game, which I am sure you have, you know that in order to win a game you must be a master of the controller. The controller determines everything that happens on the screen. If the buttons arenít pushed on the controller, nothing will happen and the game will be lost. If the wrong buttons are pushed, the game will be lost. If the right buttons are pushed at just the right time, the enemy will be defeated, the race will be won, and victory will be achieved.

People spend hours and hours learning how to push the right buttons at the right time so that they can win a video game, but how many hours do people spend learning how to win the game of life?

We are the characters in our own video game and life is the game itself. We must complete all the levels and achieve victory in the last round Ė or at least that should be our goal. Whether or not we will win the video game of life is determined completely by whose hand we put the controller in.

You see, unlike other video game characters, we get to choose who plays our game. We can choose to play the game ourselves, or we can choose to put the controller in the hands of an Expert. We can attempt to guess at what is ahead and use our own judgment when tackling obstacles Ö or we can give our controller to the Founder and Creator of the game.

This person knows every course like the back of His hand and has led countless characters through every level, achieving victory in the last round, every time He has been given the controller. This person knows precisely which buttons to push and knows every code that was ever created for the game.

Our decision seems obvious, but the choice is a hard one. In the game of life the stakes are high. There are no extra lives and once we are defeated, the game is OVER.

Everyone wants to win, but almost no one wants to give up his or her controller. Somehow, everyone feels safer when the controller is in their own hands Ė even though they have never played the entire game, have no idea what obstacles they might have to face in the near future, and have suffered defeat and extreme losses in the past levels.

Instead of giving the controller into the hands of the Master and resting in the confidence that He has never been defeated, most people would rather grasp their own controllers and hang onto it with all their strength, refusing to give it up until all they see is a big black screen with white flashing letters saying, "GAME OVER".

While this thought is still fresh in your mind, please read the following Scriptures and think about what God might be saying to you. Who is pushing your buttons?

"Those who are DOMINATED by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are CONTROLLED by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature CONTROLS your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit CONTROLS your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey Godís laws, and it never will. Thatís why those who are still under the CONTROL of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not CONTROLLED by your sinful nature. You are CONTROLLED by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)
(Romans 8:5-9 NLT)

Matt Gabhart is currently the Youth Minister at Care Academy in Willisburg, KY. He is 26 years old and has been working in youth ministry with his wife Nicole for the past six years. While he focuses mostly on writing short articles for use in his ministry, his wife has written two Christian novels for teenage girls, "Watered Down Coke" and "Bathroom Stalls: The Writing on the Wall." For more info go to http://www.nicolegabhart.com
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