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How I Quit Video Games

How I Quit Video Games

Richard Fan—Irvine, California, USA


I started playing video games when I was in elementary school. Back then my parents had very strict control over what kind of games I played and how long I got to play them. But as I grew up, I found ways to evade their control.

As time passed, video games slowly became the center of my life, even though I did not want to admit it. I really liked to barter with my parents about how long I could play video games. Whenever my parents left the house, I would stop whatever I was doing and go straight to my computer or X-box. It was like second nature to me. I used to evaluate the quality of my day by how many hours of video games I played—the days without video games were considered bad days.

If you have played a game called The Sims, you know that the characters have eight kinds of needs, or desires, which are represented by bars. If the character eats something, the bar for “hunger” fills up, and if the character plays video games, his or her “fun” bar fills up. However, reality doesn’t work that way. I played video games thinking I could satisfy my “fun” desire, but after playing hours of video games, the desire was never fulfilled. Instead, I just wanted to play more.

The desire for video games was so strong that it appeared on my mind all the time. I thought about video games when I was asleep, when I was taking a test, and even when I prayed for the Holy Spirit.

After a period of time seeking after God, I received the Holy Spirit and got baptized when I was in ninth grade. But I still didn’t see video games as a problem in my life, even though they wasted a lot of my precious time, made me forget to keep the Sabbath, and caused me to lie a lot to my parents.

I didn’t realize video games were a problem to my spiritual life until I attended the 2003 Winter Student Spiritual Convocation (SSC) for the first time as a junior in high school. The special topic on video games was very powerful and touching. It made me realize that video games occupied so much more of my time than God. I also learned how video games subconsciously influenced me in many ways that I was not aware of, such as affecting my temper and desensitizing me to violence.

But I didn’t have enough strength to quit or even cut back on video games.


Before attending the 2006 National Youth Theological Seminar (NYTS) in Southern California, I had mixed feelings about going. I had heard a lot of “bad” things about the event, like people quitting video games and TV after attending NYTS. I didn’t mind the TV part, because I had no habit of watching TV. But I couldn’t imagine myself without video games. I thought video games were one of the most important components of my life.

As usual, video games kept on popping into my mind during prayers at NYTS. Before, when I heard pastors saying that we cannot serve two masters, I always told myself I wasn’t serving two masters; that video games were only part of my leisure activities. But during the prayers I slowly realized that I had a problem.

I remembered Jesus Christ said, “‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’” (Mt 11:28). So I decided to throw the heaviest burdens to Jesus Christ, which were video games and my parents, who were not yet baptized.

I said to the Lord Jesus, “If You let my parents, both of them, get baptized, then I will quit video games.” I thought I was pretty smart by throwing the responsibility onto God, because I knew that even if my parents decided to get baptized, the next spiritual convocation and baptism was five months away, and in those five months, I could still play as many video games as I wanted. Problem solved.

However, my prayers got worse and worse. By Thursday morning, I felt that my faith was even lower than before I came to NYTS. I was ready to go home because I missed my games so much. I also felt that I didn’t need to stay because I hadn’t committed any major sins, so I didn’t need forgiveness.

Thank God my counselor and other counselors encouraged me with Bible verses and their life experiences, and I decided to stay. That’s also when I realized I needed God’s forgiveness and mercy more than anyone else needed them.


During the evening prayer on Thursday, I had the most wonderful experience in my entire life. As I was repenting in my prayer, I felt that God touched me so much and held me so close; I even saw Him give me a new heart. Unstoppable tears of joy poured out during that prayer. After the prayer, I felt weightless, completely without burden, and I hadn’t had that kind of feeling since I received the Holy Spirit.

I felt like video games were not a problem anymore, not because I quit video games, but because video games quit me. I felt I was completely free, that video games had no control over me anymore. I was so joyful, that I really wanted to share my joy with everyone around me.

That night I was so happy that I couldn’t fall asleep until very late. Strangely, I had a nightmare. I was falling, falling, and I could even feel the wind blowing on my face as I was falling facedown. On my way down, I saw the devil falling down ahead of me.

The devil had a body similar to an octopus, but with a lot more legs. Its face was so hideous that I do not remember how it looked. There were many computer monitors around the devil, falling down with it. As we were approaching the ground, I could see a huge fire pit down below, blazing with lava.

The devil and the monitors fell into the pit, and they were no more. When I was about to fall in the fire pit, I suddenly woke up with a verse on my mind. When I looked up the verse in the morning, it literally took me only about five seconds (normally I am not that fast) to find it.

The verse read, “Then he goes and takes him seven other spirit more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Mt 12:45). From this experience I knew I must fill up my life quickly with God’s words and other meaningful things, or else I was going to end up falling into other temptations.


I enjoyed my new freedom in the Lord for a little while. But two days later, the temptation for video games came back again—this time stronger than ever. I could feel my spirituality diving straight down, and video games were about to take over me again. I felt just like an ungrateful Israelite; that even after experiencing God’s powerful miracles full of grace and mercy, I still turned my head around to remind myself of the fish I ate in Egypt.

For the rest of NYTS, I experienced great struggles between the spirit and the flesh. I knew I couldn’t let the battle go on anymore. I knew I would go back to that same old lifestyle once I left NYTS—enslaved by video games, regretting that I wasted my time, yet unable to do anything about it.

I realized I needed a strong dose of medicine in order to completely cut off video games from my life. I decided to take a vow before NYTS ended. I knew we shouldn’t make vows lightly, but I knew my God is very merciful, so I decided that taking the vow would be more beneficial to me than not doing so. My vow was, “I will not touch video games anymore in my life, or else may God punish me severely, such as let me fail all my classes.”

After my parents dropped me off at home from NYTS, they had to go to a friend’s party. My grandmother was away and my little brother was also not home. It was an empty house. The temptation for video games appeared. I could hear it calling me, “Come on, spend the last night with me, then you can destroy me tomorrow.”

Thank God that I had just come back from NYTS, and I knew what to do. I knelt down and prayed. After thirty seconds I found enough strength to turn on the computer, delete all the games I played, and resolve to wash my hands of video games.


It was a little difficult to adjust at first. I suddenly had a huge chunk of free time, and I didn’t know what to do with it. Gradually, I discovered the joy of working in the garden, the sense of accomplishment in helping out in the kitchen, more patience to read English books (English is not my first language), more time to spend with family, and more time to read the Bible and pray.

When I got back to college for my sophomore year, I had more time to spend with the campus fellowship, more time to focus on academics, had the desire to volunteer in the recycling club, and was more willing to attend Friday night services and join the choir. God also blessed me in many ways, such as a dramatic improvement in academics; I even received an A+ for the first time in my life, in a difficult organic chemistry class.

During Winter SSC, I discovered that there was no more emptiness after the prayers like previous years. Most importantly, I found my future path to be clearer—I had a sense of direction, a goal to press towards.

I want to be a professor in the scientific field, so in the future I can preach the truth to scientists and be a good testimony for Christ. A professor can also influence students in a good way, and help the campus fellowship. I don’t know yet if this is where God is going to place me, but I know if I set my goal on the final prize—going to heaven—and am determined to put God first in my life, God will lead me onto the right path.

Quitting video games can sometimes feel like bondage, like the time last year when my dorm friends got together and played video games but I couldn’t play, or when someone invited me to play video games when I went to their house. But I know true friendship is not built upon video games. Video games are a virtual world where you can shed your real identity and don’t have to take any responsibility for what you do. The real world we live in is not that way at all.

Video games sometimes bring up wonderful memories, such as when my little brother and I beat a game together. But what is past is already past. Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” I am pretty sure there are many things other than video games I can do with my brother to strengthen our relationship.

Learning to Fly in Line

I saw a very encouraging short video on Taiwan’s True Jesus Church website (http://www.joy.org.tw). It is about a kite that enjoys flying very much, and thinks that if she can break off from the restraint of the line, she can fly even higher than before and observe more things. So she asks the wind to blow her away.

She enjoys the freedom but soon begins to descend. She gets caught between the trees, gets away, but falls on the ground. Bullies kick her around, and she is filled with mud and full of wounds. As she is crying and regretting, the little boy who owns the kite finds her, cleans her up, bandages her wounds, and sends her to the sky again.

The kite now enjoys the freedom of flying with the line. Tears came out when I saw this video, even though this video is intended for children. Sometimes we may view our family, our church, or even God, as a limitation that prevents us from achieving higher things. But the truth is, without them, we are nothing.

I hope my experience will encourage you to never lose hope in God. We don’t need to be afraid to make determinations for our God, because our God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is indeed a very merciful God.


Since writing my testimony in the beginning of 2007, I have realized that it’s not as easy as I thought to stay away from video games.

By the time summer came, I had stopped my daily Bible reading and prayer. Because of that I felt far from God, and when I started to feel overwhelmed by my classes and research work, I was not able to withstand the temptation of video games. Thank God, I stopped and repented after playing video games twice.

Once school started again in the fall, my faith and spirituality stabilized. I think this is due to Irvine Campus Fellowship. It’s always good to have a lot of brothers and sisters nearby to fellowship with them consistently.

I know that I can have the determination to quit video games, but without God’s help I cannot do it. If I think I can do it on my own will and own strength, it is pride and I will not be able to win.

But I know that I can still live a victorious life with God’s help and the love from brothers and sisters.