30 March 2012

Chess and the Kingdom of God

Life in the Christian faith is very similar to chess…

Chess is a game of ultimate patience, planning and with one main objective – to gain territory and checkmate the king. It requires aggressive tactics, cunning strategies, and always thinking ten moves ahead. The end goal is everything. It’s not how you start but how you finish that matters.

Chess is a fascinating game on so many levels. It is a game for Kings with everything at stake and the game in balance with just several key moves. Choices and decisions can have significant implications. You need to be always thinking several moves ahead and always putting the enemy on the defensive.
It is a game that teaches you about yourself and your opponent. You can learn a great deal about somebody by watching them. It is an opportunity to teach your enemy what you want them to learn about you. For them to think that your weaknesses are really your strengths.

Likewise, the Kingdom of God is intense spiritual warfare. The souls of billions lie in the balance and when captured can never be recovered. The world is one MASSIVE chess board with much territory to be taken! God’s aim is to slowly check mate the devil and He uses us as His chosen instruments. We have been drafted into his army to fight for the King and His Kingdom – Jesus Christ.

Consider the following:
• Chess has an obvious theme in the traditional White against Black sides, good versus evil. White always moves first.
• The pawn represents the frontline foot soldier that can only move forward. They begin side by side and are essential to the kings success.
• They can be promoted to another piece at the masters choice (Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen) if it advances all the way to the opposite side of the board (proves itself faithful, fights the good fight of faith).
• Connected pawns which are diagonally adjacent form a chain that protects the one on front, are essential at protecting the more valuable pieces.
• The only difference with chess and God is He never sacrifices one piece for another of greater value, and the game has already been won!

King - The Leader and the most important piece on the board
Queen - All the King's secular forces combined into a powerful tool of his administration. Starts at his side, to show His dominance. Straight and Diagonal movement shows the ability to apply to all problems and situations.
Bishops - liaison between man and God, the administration of the House of the Lord on Earth. Keeps to one color, to show that the church has limitations in its applicability, but there are two Bishops, one for the Church, one for the congregation, and between the two of them, they can get anywhere.
Knights - The Special Forces, able to attack from unseen angles, and retreat across obstacles. This 90-degree component is seen by many to symbolise the duality of God's might and man's will.
Rooks - Portrayed as a castle, examination of early structures lead many to conclude it is actually a church. Usually exemplifies a building made of stone, and ‘on this rock I shall build my church’.
Pawns - All the multitudes of man, serving God best by stepping boldly forward in Faith!

If you allow it chess can teach you to make better decisions in life and the absoluteness of your actions. As your options narrow and you are left with only sacrifices to make, you understand more about how the best decision to make may not be one that you want.

In chess you learn to maximise your take downs and make every move count. God's plan for our lives is VERY STRATEGIC - never more like a game of chess. He has planned out every move here on earth and has divine assignments for us to fulfill. When you are moving where God leads you in life your labor is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Chess as a game is very much an end-state oriented operation. The rules of play in chess decree that the sole goal of the procedure is to bring the opponent's king into checkmate. Only moves that contribute to that end are ‘good moves’ they are good only to the degree they do so contribute.

How many other men I capture, how many of my own men I manage to protect, how soon I get one of my men into his king row, how quickly I make my moves, how many different pieces I use, how much my play impresses the spectators - these have zero significance if they do not contribute to my checkmating his king.

Notice that, although material considerations are very important in chess thinking, one doesn't win by having the most pieces. All that matters is delivering the final checkmate. The end is the measure for everything that happens within the game itself, from first move to last. This is precisely how God deals with us.

God Can’t Lose and the Devil Can’t Win!

This is true whether devils and man believe it or not. The only reason the enemy is still existing now is for God's use as tools for our processing and education to grow in Faith. The PLAN is to erase them and the ‘chess board’ (the earth) permanently by fire (Matthew 23:33, 25:41). For the world and its evil desires will pass away but whoever does the will of God will live forever (1 John 2:17).

Only two things in this world are eternal - the Word and people. It only makes sense to build your life around these two things that will last forever. Think about it: God’s Word will last forever - people last forever - everything else disappears.

In light of this reality how should we live? We should live our life backwards from the judgment seat of Christ and ask, “What difference will my life make in 10,000 years?” Most of the things we work for or worry about won’t matter in three weeks, let alone three months or three years. We focus on the trivial and forget to pursue the eternal. But 10,000 times 10,000 years from now, you’ll still be glad you invested your life for Jesus Christ and spread the gospel in your world in influence.

Of course, the black side has the same pieces and represents the devils forces. The Dark One has his followers and his Bishops which are the false religions he deceives man into believing. Satan is our opponent. His ‘pieces’ are all his evil spirits who attack, possess, and control men in the wickedness of their roles as black pieces (John 9:24; Romans 7:15-25). When he captures pieces they are effectively lost forever.

God has been playing a chess game with vindictive and ignorant demons using them as tools for His greater purposes. They are the objects of humour for heaven as they try to defeat God (Psalm 2:4, 37:13).

Have perspective today Christian, the game has already been won. Stay faithful, obedient and strong in Faith to the very end. Because at the end of the day - we win!