It’s been difficult to go a day without seeing a news story about the Pokémon Go craze sweeping smart phones across the country. I confess I’ve never played the game but feel I have read enough to be well informed about the basics. For those wondering what this could possibly have to do with living a Jesus-centered life, please hang with me; we’ll get there! If you don’t know about Pokémon Go, it is what’s called an “augmented reality” game. Augmented reality blends the real world with things that are superimposed on top of it.
You look through the camera on your phone and see the world around you, as you would expect. The game then layers additional objects onto what you see, in the form of Pokémon monsters. The goal is to find and collect them by capturing them in the same way as you would take a photo. As I marveled at the craze, it occurred to me the game has profound implications for how we live our lives in a manner pleasing to Jesus each day.
A lack of paying attention is one of the most common downfalls to our aspiration of living a life that looks like Jesus. As we go throughout our day, we simply forget to pay attention to how we’re living. We lose our focus. We neglect to look for Jesus in the world. Here’s where Pokémon Go becomes applicable. What if we concentrated on “superimposing” Jesus into the reality we see each day? Yes, Jesus is omnipresent and already exists in the world around us, but too often we fail to notice and forget to look for Him.
Let’s play a new game. This one isn’t focused on collecting make-believe monsters for our entertainment but rather on capturing each moment we encounter in a way that honors God. Would we walk by the homeless person on the street if we saw Jesus sitting next to him? Would we yell and gesture at the driver who cut us off if we saw Jesus in the passenger seat? Would we talk behind the back of a friend or co-worker if Jesus was standing next to us? Seeing Jesus as part of our reality would – or definitely should – change the way we interact with our surroundings.
If we’re honest, we know this isn’t a game we can choose to play. For disciples of Jesus, it is our calling and the way we must live. How can we follow Jesus if we’re not looking for Him? How can we focus on Him unless we are seeing Him in every scene of our lives? If you’re serious about being a disciple you have to play this “game”. You have to see Jesus in everyone and everywhere. There is indeed a link between Pokémon Go and discipleship, except this isn’t augmented reality; it is how things truly are. Look for Jesus. Capture the moment. Respond in the way Jesus would. Live your life to bring glory and honor to God.