Since video games have been around for a better part of 35 years, it is natural to find plenty of clichés in their content. From the hapless enemies that stand unknowingly next to bright red explosive barrels, to the awesome, super kick-butt protagonist that does not know how to swim, video games across genres and platforms are full of the same old clichés. Out of all of them, however, is my favorite; the famous “fake last boss” cliché.
You know it and you love to hate it. You spend a better part of your summer grinding through a game to make it to the last boss and you totally whoop up on him, like there was no reason to be afraid of the guy in the first place. Just as you set the controller down to enjoy watching the pandering final credits that you deserve, you hear those dreaded words (or something like them), “And now for my FINAL FORM!” Then that easy, vanilla pudding last boss you just faced, transforms into some horribly deformed mega-monster with laser eyes, fire breath, and a really, really small weak point; behind its head. Prepare to spend the next week trolling YouTube to uncover strategies to defeat this disappointment, if it is even the last boss at all.
As much as you might hate it, video games would simply not be fun if it were not for transformations within the game content itself. Sure, there are the annoying transformations that our enemies go through during game play, but think about the amazing changes that playable characters go through as well. Super Mario Bros. would not be nearly as fun if there were no power-up mushrooms or fire flowers. If role playing games forced the player to stay at lvl. 1 for the entirety of the game, then one would have to complete the game with a weakling. In order for someone to succeed in a game, they must inevitably transform, and I can tell you that this is equally true with life.
The passage of Scripture that reflects this idea quite well can be found in 2 Corinthians 3:12-18. There are other passages that speak about the power of true transformation, but this one puts it into a great context.
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
When looking at this passage, it is for your benefit to know what is being written about prior to the passage (whenever a passage in the Bible starts with “therefore,” you need to know what it is there for). Paul has a vendetta against the “ministry that brought death,” or the law, as he calls it elsewhere. Before Christ came and died for the sins of mankind, it was the Old Testament law that was the hope of the people, but it was simply a covering of sins and not a complete cleansing of them. As a result, people gained a “false hope” about their salvation, and they had a hard a time accepting their new hope in Christ Jesus. It was as if a veil was cast over their faces, blocking their vision from the true path that they needed to take.
With all of that in mind, we can now see why Paul uses the language that he does in verses 12-18. Before we met Jesus Christ, we were limited to only how good we were, which is not very good at all. We were un-transformed, that vanilla pudding character at the beginning of a game that is so easy to crush. After meeting and knowing Jesus, a great transformation occurred, more powerful than anything that you can imagine. We were taken from a lvl. 1 to a 99 in an instant, and there was no “grinding” needed. We could overcome the trials of the world that would leave most people a curled up husk of their former selves; the sting of loss, the hatred of others, and even death itself. Our true forms are not the ones that we have outside of a relationship with Christ, but rather a reformed person within a saving relationship with the very Son of God. Is it a better way to live, you better believe it.
If this devotional has helped you to better understand God and various “mysteries,” please feel free to let me know. I am always open for some constructive fed back, as well as some requests of what all of you would like to read about in the future. God bless, and game on!