Heroes of Pixels & Polygons
Digital heroes are so romantic as we know them. But what’s a real hero?
The enemy’s castle is conquered. Galactic destruction has been cancelled. The obnoxious rival is defeated. A shattered past and prolific present collide…
Digital heroes are so romantic as we know them. We cheer for Master Chief, Link, Nathan Drake and Solid Snake.
They seem so confident, so resolute, so not us…
But what of us scared, selfish, angry, non-computing mortals? After we see one glorious victory unfold on-screen, we move on to the next, not accounting for the fact we may have the qualities we admire in so-called digital heroes.
After all, like them, we each have a specific purpose—something God dreamed of before creation (Jr 1:5)!
And what these digital solo acts reveal is the desire within the human soul to be a part of something great—and gaming is the intoxicating aroma of vicarious living.
But take heart! Weakness doesn’t negate adventure. We don't find heroic qualities in self-reliance like pixel protagonists. They are found in fellowship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ. If you're not convinced that you can change, let's look at our case study: Gideon.
What God Speaks Is True
This dude’s confidence tank was bone-dry. His story begins for us in the book of Judges, chapter six. The Midianites, enemies of Israel, had squat over Israel the way some players do in a first-person shooter. In that time, God's Angel met Gideon. He found Gideon sifting wheat in a place where wine was made. The man was hiding. The Lord referred to Gideon as a brave warrior…right. Gideon thought of that last remark anyway. But the Lord didn't deviate from his statement, despite Gideon's reservations.
See, Gideon saw himself in relation to his circumstances. Israel was oppressed by Midian; he was hiding and he was the weakest link in his family. But there's something you need to understand about God—He sees you for who you really are. He sees that person he dreamed of before He told time to begin. He identifies where you are and refers to you by where He's taking you.
Over a series of conversations and events, Gideon becomes a general who lead an army of 300 men to victory through the power of God, roughly 700 years before Sparta and the Battle of Thermopylae! I won't ruin it for you, check it out for yourself.
Change By God's Word
God drew out of Gideon what He already put in the man—His word. Gideon needed to receive the courage of God to burst forth from his own obscurity. True heroism works itself out as faith in God, through love—choosing God and trusting Him with the details of life above all else. The individual who demonstrates this is a hero. Just check out Hebrews 11 in the Bible!
Gaming is the intoxicating aroma of vicarious living.
Our journeys may not be the 4K-resolution events in any given adventure game, but we go to work, school, practice and the grocery store in our colorful days. And I know I’m not the only one who knows that some days are filled with more battles than others. Every day there's the battle to love, forgive, reject anger and remain focused on Jesus by faith. Truth be told, your days are filled with adventure, if you’ll only choose to see it.
So I urge you to not compare yourself with family, friends and fictitious characters. Your only target is to get as close to Jesus as possible, with Jesus leading the way. As fun as those digital adventures are, as determined as digital heroes are, they both pale in comparison with what God has done and is doing. We’ve been called into His Kingdom of Light, to spread the Good News about salvation and a hope and a future. And best of all, while we are doing it, we’ve been given all of Jesus’s strength through His Holy Spirit (Php 4:13).
The people who lay down their lives for Jesus in turning away from sin, with new hearts to desire and do good are heroes! In a world filled with hatred, injustice and selfishness it takes a boldness and courage to stand for truth, justice and forgiveness.
There’s no life like the life of faith in Jesus. Be encouraged. You have your own story to play out and if you’ll trust Jesus, you’ll never see GAME OVER. That’s a promise from the One who cannot lie (Jn 8:51). Jesus will faithfully bring you into His presence when your course is brought to a close. Be the hero He's called you to be.