N.E.S.: Controlling Life
Oh the joys of the classic N.E.S. controller. It was the first console controller I held, and it just felt right. I asked my mom for the system that had Mario on it for Christmas, but I really should have specified because I ended up getting an Atari 2600. Turns out “Mario Bros.” is on Atari, “Super Mario Bros.” was on N.E.S.. I played it for 2 years, daily asking my mom to get me the other one. Finally she got it for me and my chubby little thumbs were never happier. It was a simple design without being too basic and there wasn’t much you couldn’t do with it. Now most of the portable systems and other lighter consoles still use the same basic design. When I see the N.E.S. controller, though, it says a lot more than button mashing ecstasy. It is a formula for life.
+ The D-Pad:
This 4 way button of destiny is the epitome of choices in our life. So many people spend days, hours, and years trying to figure out “Where am I supposed to go?”, “What am I supposed to do with my life?” We end up spending more time asking these questions than we do actually living. I think we find in scripture that we aren’t supposed to wait for a master plan to act, but rather that we act, with wise choices, trusting God, and be attentive to what He leads and guides as we go. “3 Commit your activities to the LORD, and your plans will be achieve. 9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.”- Proverbs 16. Notice it says we commit our activities and in our hearts we plan a way then we allow God to guide us. If we sit around waiting for a sign from heaven before we ever move, we will probably be waiting a long time. I’m not saying God doesn’t guide us, or have plans for us, but I think we will see that we have to get moving first.
We see the same concept in “Psalm 37: 4 Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act,” We need to have a desire, a way, a direction we desire for our life, and then let God guide as we are going.
My favorite verse is “Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart, as the Lord and not for men,”
Get moving and let God guide you as you move. Seriously, think of it this way, if you start playing Super Mario Bros., and you wait for directions to pop up on the screen before you do anything, what’s gonna happen? Time will run out and you die. When that game starts, you move. Don’t make me break out in “Switchfoot” lyrics here.
A + B: The Action
You used these buttons to throw plant induced fireballs, swing some nunchucks, or punch Mike Tyson in the grill, these buttons are where everything went down. It’s not just enough to have direction; you have to be able to make things happen. If we know where we want to go but remain still, even if we don’t know all the steps, we do ourselves, and God an injustice not to act. How many times have we had people in our lives say
“Oh I’m gonna do ___________...” and never follow through? Like a guy saying he’s going to make a devotional about sci-fi, superheroes, and video games.
Even more so in our faith life we represent Christ horribly because we talk a big game full of Jesus-y lingo, but don’t follow through with action. If we don’t back up our words with action they are useless. “Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.” 1 John 3:18. If we don’t apply action why should anyone ever believe a word we say?
“ If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.” – James 2:15-17.
Can you imagine what any game you’ve ever played would be like if you never hit an action button? You’d walk right into every obstacle, pit, trap, or enemy you faced. Direction is important, but direction needs action.
Choices we make are so important; the “select” button is the least used button ever. I mean outside of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, I can’t even remember using it too often. The same goes for our lives instead of actually making a selection about things in our lives we often live vaguely, sitting on the fence on things. We hesitate to make selections in anything from relationships, to conflict, to our future, even with selecting direction or action. We need to realize that if we fail to make choices in situations, we are responsible when things go the wrong way, or far from the way we hope. Sometimes we don’t make choices out of fear of failure, and it’s true sometimes even when we thing we are in the right, we can be way off. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” – Proverbs 14:12. I think if we use scripture as our guide in our thinking, it will also overflow into our decision making.
So often we make poor choices because of a flawed perspective but we see in
Philippians what our minds should focus on, and then in turn our choices will be made. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Start usually has that dual purpose of beginning and pausing. On beginning, I doubt there are many infants reading this book, so more than likely my readership consists of people who have already started in life. Quite possibly you aren’t exactly thrilled with the way things have started for you. I’m so thankful that we get a new start in Christ “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. So if you feel like it’s time for you to hit the Start button on your life, I strongly recommend doing so by knowing Christ. Maybe you’ve already hit start to begin, maybe it’s time for a pause .I remember watching “Captain N” as a kid and he had a controller on his belt. He could pause the world for a few seconds, I thought that was so cool (am I the only one who ruined a perfectly good controller to make a belt like Captain N?). Sometimes we just to take a break though. We were designed to not only be in action, but also to rest. God even commands us to rest, so I’m pretty sure we should value it more. Jesus even makes a promise to give us the rest we need it we will just come to Him.
28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”- Matthew 11.
Jesus makes the point to let us know to pause, to come to Him and not only will He give us rest. He will make things easier when we resume. Even more than that, sometimes we just need to be still. To stop everything so we can breathe. I think one of the simplest and most beautiful commands in scripture is in Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!”
We don’t have to worry about handling everything, or being responsible for everything, or making sure everything works out okay. All we need to do is hit pause, stop, and realize that God is bigger than any situation we face, and that He will take care of everything not only in Heaven but on the Earth as well.
On a final note with the controller, the thing I think of most often when I see a controller is the Konami code. This is the code that worked for Contra and pretty much every Konami game. Its fame is in Contra though, and when entering “^^vv<><> B A Select Start” you and your “Player 2” would receive lives. The game is pretty difficult and I can’t imagine ever making it through without the code (I’ve tried and failed many times).
Just like you find life when you hit these buttons on a controller, we need to take the same step to finding life here. In John 17:3 Jesus tells us where we find life “they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So often we think of eternal life to be life after death, but eternal life begins now and continues on through eternity. There’s no cheat code for life, but if we want to find true life, this is it.