The Game of Life



Harvard professor and historian Jill Lepore says that ‘a whole history of life can be written by studying the games of life.’ Following this idea, she wrote a book titled, “The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death.” In the book, she tells the story of a man named Milton Bradley who created a game in the 1860s called “The Checkered Game of Life.” The game board had checkered squares on it which named life experiences that people could go through. There were good experiences such as perseverance, wealth, marriage, and happiness. And there were bad experiences such as crime, disgrace, suicide, and prison. The goal of the game was to get to the furthest square marked as “Happy Old Age.”

Even though Milton Bradley said he came up with his game from scratch, there were actually multiple forms of this game which had already been made. The first game of this type was called “The Human Game of Life” which was published in 1790. The goal of this game was to reach death and then immortality. The goal of another game called “the Mansion of Bliss”, which was published in 1800, was to get to salvation in much the same way. “The Mansion of Happiness”, which was published in 1843, used a heavenly mansion as the goal of the game of life.

More modern versions of this game changed the goal of life to be something entirely different. Hasbro’s edition of the game made becoming as rich as possible the goal of the game of life. And in the 2007 version of the game, called “Twists & Turns”, the purpose is to experience as much of life as you possibly can. There really is no end or final destination in this particular version of the game. It is all about seeking thrills.

So, which game is right about the game of life? Are the earliest versions of the game correct, with salvation, immortality, and heavenly mansions as the goal of the game of life? Is Milton Bradley correct, with “happy old age” being the goal of the game of life? Or are the most recent versions of the game correct, with riches and experiencing the thrills that life has to offer being the goal of the game of life?

We can look to what the Bible has to say about life to determine the goal of our existence and our destination after death. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” This verse sums up what we should be doing while we are alive. Our goal is not to get wealth, popularity, or material possessions. Our goal is to obey God and bring glory to God through our lifestyle.

But what happens after death? The Bible says, “it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” The Bible also says that “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” At the end of our lives, we will stand before God, and we will be ushered into one of two eternal destinations — heaven or hell. Where we go depends on a choice that we make in life. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The wide, broad way is the way of the world. It is the way of earthly pleasure, riches, and sin, but it will eventually lead to eternal destruction in hell. The straight and narrow way is the way of following Jesus Christ. On this road, everything is not always easy, but the end point is eternal life in Heaven with God.

I want to encourage you to play the game of life the smart way. While the broad and wide road may look like more fun for a while, it ends up in tragedy. It is foolish to go down this road. I encourage you to follow Jesus Christ, and you will end up winning the game of life. You can begin following Jesus Christ by giving your life to Him today. All you have to do is take the following steps:

First, recognize that your sins have separated you from God. Our sins are the bad or wrong things that we do. In honest repentance, agree with God about your sinfulness and admit your need for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Because of our sins, we are automatically sentenced to die and go to an awful place called hell. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” This is what happens to those who die without giving their life to Jesus Christ while they have a chance.

Second, realize that God loves you, and believe that his perfect Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins –taking the punishment that we deserve. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross, we do not have to go to Hell. We can be saved from that terrible place.

Third, accept this invitation from Jesus Christ to receive salvation by trusting him by faith to be your Savior. Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you trust Jesus Christ for salvation, you will be saved from sin, spiritual death, and hell. You will be guaranteed a place in Heaven and you will win the game of life. If this is your heart’s desire, you can pray a short prayer to let God know about your decision:

Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”.

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!