Since the dawn of creation, the power of fire has been not only a consuming force, but also one that mankind has sought to control. Prehistoric man (or antediluvian, as I like to call them), probably discovered the power of fire, and over the course of many millennia this power has been harnessed to do great good, and also cause great pain. It is fire that has helped to propel civilization out of the Dark Ages and into a bright future, and it is also fire that has leveled cities, decimated great forests, and snuffed out lives. Fire is both wonderful and terrible at the same time.

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Video games can be considered to be projections of what the present day culture both values and fears. With that said, it is no wonder that the power of fire has become a reoccurring theme in both retro and brand new games. From the burning barrels in Donkey Kong to the obligatory “molten lava” levels in most every game ever made,  it is evident that fire is an important part of the fun and challenge of video games.

In one of the more recent gaming experiences that I have had, the uses of heat and fire  are multi-faceted. Usually when a hero is going through a dungeon that is filled with lava or fire, they do not appear to be effected by the heat that is being produced in those areas. It took game developers over 30 years to realize that lava produces an insane amount of residual heat, and that realization came to manifest itself in the most recent Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 

In this survival-esq game, our hero of legend, Link, must navigate through the harsh wilderness of Hyrule, gathering enough power and weapons to face and defeat the terrible Calamity Ganon. Different areas in Hyrule have different climates and temperatures associated with them. For example, the desert is hot and dry, and can really wear Link out if he is not adequately prepared and hydrated. The volcanic “Mount Doom” of this game, which is actually called Death Mountain (I see what you did there, Miyomoto), is also hot, so hot that you will burst into flames if you get too close to it. You can not step foot near that place without the right gear or potions to keep you fireproof.

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Here’s the kicker, the gear is only optional . In fact, for any RPG or action game that allows you to equip your character with gear, you can actually choose not to give them gear that will secure for them the upper hand in the game. Take Dark Souls, one of my favorite games, for instance. Your hero can go throughout that game finding incredibly powerful weapons and armor and never once using any of them. Well, if you know Dark Souls, then you know that not putting on the right gear will spell certain death for your character, because all it would take is one stray fireball or demon claw, and “YOU DIED”. The same goes for Breath of the Wild, because walking around on frozen peaks in his starting gear will only bring Link to a frosty death.

In the Bible it talks about putting on something called the Armor of God. This sweet piece of gear is a spiritual bulwark against the Devil and his minions. This is what the Bible says about the make up of this legendary armor.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. -Ephesians 6:13-17

Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, the fact of the matter is that this armor is absolutely optional to wear in this life. That’s right, you don’t have to wear it, and many people have made the conscious choice not to do so. You can take the truth and cast it aside, choosing to live your life anyway that you want. You can also kick the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the curb, choosing not to look at it or acknowledge it as the truth. Even salvation itself is purely optional, being something that must be placed upon us by a choice we make to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. All of this gear is completely optional, and believe me, you will get wrecked if you don’t wear it.

Have you ever heard the old saying, “if you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the fire?” Well, this whole world can feel like a fire because of all the chaos, suffering and malcontent contained within it. It seems like every week there is a new school shooting or some sort of political scandal, and each terrible event echoes the truth that we live in fallen world. Being in this world of sin, we can not hide from the hatred, but we can definitely hold our own against it. We just have to make the conscious decision to don the armor that has been given to us through Christ Jesus. This is done through “bringing every imagination and thought under the control of Christ.” Pray like you are truly warring against a foe that is hell bent on your destruction. Serve as if you alone were sent to bring peace to this land. Lead as if you hold the key to correcting all of the ills in this world, because through Jesus Christ, you do.

Listen, if you can’t handle the heat, change your gear.

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