All retro gamers will agree that there are limitations to what older systems will allow the player to do. Graphics and software aside, it’s the hardware, particularly the controllers that create the biggest barriers to a truly pleasurable gaming experience. I think about the Super Nintendo, for example. The system is considered to be just about the best that ever existed, and yet that seven-foot-long cord just doesn’t seem to give the players the range that they need. I’m sure everyone here who has ever owned a retro system has pulled that sucker off a surface at one point or another.
You know how it happens, right? You’re playing your brother in Mario Kart and you are both neck and neck. The finish line is right there and then you see him back away and blast you with the green shell that he’s been holding. Oh, what a tragedy! Much like the prophets of old, you throw your hands up in anguish, but instead of tearing your cloak, you rip the SNES right off the entertainment center. Thank the good Lord that those things are built to last because that won’t be the last time that happens!
Luckily, times have changed and we now live in a new era of gaming accessories. Everything is going wireless, and it is a good thing too because our game consoles can’t take much more punishment. The worse that can happen now is that an Xbox controller can become a high-velocity projectile that can get more air time than ever before. It’s nice that none of us throw controllers, right?
We love wireless controllers and the freedom that they bring! Speaking of freedom, I think this is the perfect time to talk about that very thing in reference to being tethered to something. The Scriptures talk about slavery in length. Back in the days in which the Scriptures were written, slavery was pretty common. In fact, it is suggested that, at the height of its power, one-third of the population of the Roman Empire were slaves. For landowners, slaves were highly sought after. For the slaves it was freedom that posed to be the greatest prize in the land.
I find it interesting, then, that Paul makes this very bold statement in Romans 6:15-18:
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
This passage of scripture is talking about being tethered to something. Much like a retro gaming control is tethered to the console that it works with, we as creation s of God are be tethered directly to God. In fact, we really can do what we have been created for without doing that. It is what the Scriptures call being “slaves to righteousness.” It is a better form of slavery, one in which the master does not mistreat his servants, but equips them to do greater works in His name. It is being tethered to the right port.
Think about it for a second, can you use a GameCube controller for an Xbox. Naturally, you can not. I suppose you can break the console a little bit in order to enable that abomination to take place, but it will not be easy on your hardware. When we go against what we have been made for in this life, what we are doing is breaking our spiritual hardware to make room for something that does not fit there.
My friends, we were not created to do evil, and anytime we partake in it we are basically taking our spiritual hardware and putting it somewhere it doesn’t belong! That is hard on us, and we can all see what it does on people. Addictions, abuse, hatred, and many more vices become the products of outsourcing our spiritual desires for God and truth, and that just hinders us from true healing.
When it comes to the controllers of our lives, make sure that they are plugged into the right port. God has told everyone that serving Him in “truth and love” is the greatest thing that we can do. Perhaps that love should be the piece of hardware that you pick up this week.