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Leveling Up

Do you enjoy playing video games? If you do, you know that the goal is not to stay at the same level, just playing the same level over and over and over. You want to move on to reach the prize, earn experience, power-up, take on new challenges…you want to level up!


My experience with playing video games is limited to when my children were in elementary school, and they were given a Nintendo 64 game consul with the Donkey Kong game as a Christmas gift from my younger brother. They were so excited, and I must admit I was too. We spent hours working together to collect all the bananas and fight off the bosses to move up to the next level. We didn’t want to just stay at the beginning level. We were determined to keep moving up to the next level until we reached the end and win the game.


The Westbrook Kids recently completed a series called “Level Up,” but in this case it wasn’t about advancing to the next level in their favorite video game. When starting a new game, you must learn a new set of controls and be faced with new challenges and opposition as you move through new adventures. As followers of Jesus, we discover that we were made to live and see the world a new way, and He calls us to a new “level” of living as we navigate through the game called life.


God loves us just as we are, but He doesn’t want us to stay as we are. He wants us to become more…to level up. So, what does that mean? God made the whole world to work in a special way and part of following Him means living and seeing the world in that special way. We see God’s ultimate expression of love in Jesus and all the qualities that make Jesus who He is: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). These qualities, the fruit of the Spirit, become qualities in us the closer we grow in our relationship with Jesus.


However, this “fruit” or new way of living doesn’t happen by our own power and strength. Jesus tells in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” To level up we need to stay connected to Jesus and grow our relationship with Him…spending time in prayer, in God’s Word and connecting with other followers of Jesus.


Which brings me to…how do you “win”? Our ultimate victory comes through Jesus’ victory over sin and death. However, when the fruit of the Spirit is present in our lives, it’s an incredible, life changing thing…a “win” that leads us to want to share the love of God to those around us. If you are not aware, Westbrook Kids sponsors a child from Peru, Johann, through Compassion International. The children at Westbrook, as a part of the Level Up series created cards to send to Johann to express God’s love and offer encouragement. I invite you to “level up” in your relationship with our beloved Savior and bless the world with the “fruit” that grows in your life. “Oh, banana!”

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