In an MMO1, the most fun for me is usually in the “discovery” phase, when each play session yields new loot and new opportunities. Because of current real-life responsibilities, I just don’t have the time and resources for end-game raids and corporations. But, that element of discovery, exploration, and “leveling up” is great.
From time to time, I’ll play EVE Online. (I think that I actually played the beta, many years ago.) As a result of the part of the game that I enjoy most, I’ve started several new characters, just to enjoy that phase of the game, and sometimes to try out new career lines.
When doing so, though, there’s a point where one is saving up for the next-bigger ship. As each class of spaceship costs significantly more than the last, it typically takes my entire savings to buy the next one. So, after making a purchase on the market, it’s customary to fly a cheaper ship (maybe a simple shuttle) to another system in order to pick up the new one. However, after draining the bank account for that shiny new ship, there may not be enough left to insure it, or to purchase new modules (both offensive and defensive) to bring the ship up to its potential. If, like me, you want to fly that new ship as soon as possible, but the pick-up point is a ways away from your home base, this produces an unusual situation: flying home an empty shell of a new ship, with only some last-generation armaments to fit it out.
This produces a little fear in even the veteran pilot. After all, one of the rules of EVE Online is, “Never fly anything you can’t afford to lose”. Typically, if one stays in high-security systems, the risk is lower, but nowhere in EVE Online (except maybe a station) is one safe from the chance that a griefer will warp-scramble you on the way home and you’ll lose your ship in a dramatic explosion, having to start over – re-earning enough for a replacement.
In the same way, we sometimes enter into the dangerous environment of, well…the real world. After spending time with God, or learning new things at church, we fear that showing off our recently-acquired (or recently-upgraded) faith will result in us being attacked and left with an empty “social bank account”. We grow in our belief, but still tread carefully as if we might lose out, playing it safe and being cautious around others. We share our thoughts about our faith only with those who are “safe” – those who we are pretty sure will agree with us.
The good news is that God doesn’t expect us to go around in our lives with an “empty fitting”. He doesn’t send us into the battle between good and evil (not between us and the people who God loves) without both defensive armor and offensive weapons. While Paul, the God-inspired author of the book of Ephesians, didn’t use a spaceship metaphor, he made a similar point, in the terminology of his day:
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:13-17 NLT
Now, this “fitting” doesn’t help us if we don’t use it. In EVE Online, a great missile launcher, armor plate, or repair system doesn’t do much good if you keep it in your cargo hold, or sitting in a station. In the same way, we must develop these armaments in our lives that are here to protect us, and we must be ready to use them out in the arena of our lives (the “marketplace of ideas”).
So, the next time that you learn more about God and your walk with Him, or when you spot Him doing something amazing for you, don’t be afraid to tell other people about Him. Tell the people that love God, and will rejoice with you. Tell people who need to know God, to fill a void or heal a hurt. Tell people who think they know God, but don’t understand His nature, so that they can get to know Him better.
No matter the griefers that may pop out to try and shoot us down, we can operate with a full fitting. We can be confident that, if we have installed the recommended loadout, is more than able to withstand whatever attacks are made against us. Our ship may be battered; Jesus didn’t promise a damage-free life on this earth, but we’ll make it to our final port.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NLT
So, let us make sure that our lives are full of truth, righteousness, preparation, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Then, fly with confidence, and fly safe! o7
- That would be a Massively-Multiplayer Online game. I realize that not all readers of these articles are gamers. ↩