Spiritual warfare- and not online gaming- about true and false ways.
"Dearly beloved, since I am constrained to write to you concerning the salvation of us all, I deem it necessary to exhort you in my letter to contend for the faith which is once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For some men have crept in, against whom judgment has long since been written: ungodly are they, perverting the grace of our God into the opposite, into debauchery, and denying our only Ruler and Lord Jesus Christ. 5 But I will remind you, who know all things once for all, that the Lord who rescued the people out of Egypt, the other time put to death those who did not believe. 6 Even the angels who did not keep their high place, but left their dwelling place, he kept for the judgment of the great day with everlasting bands in darkness. 7 So also Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities round about them, which in like manner committed fornication, and followed after other flesh, are set for an example, and suffer everlasting torment. 8 Likewise also are these dreamers, who defile their flesh, despise the power of the Lord, and blaspheme heavenly powers. 9 But when Michael the archangel contended with the devil, and contended with him for the body of Moses, he dared not condemn him for blasphemy, but said, The Lord punish thee. 10 But these blaspheme that which they know not; but that which they understand by nature, like unreasoning beasts, they perish by. (Jude 1:1ff)
My dear friends, dear followers,
I love online computer games. That which left me with a little bead of sweat on my forehead for a long time ("can I do this? Is this okay, Lord?") is now becoming a blessing to me.
Because online computer games, the so-called MMORPGS, follow certain mechanisms and principles that I find, to my greatest horror, within the widespread concepts of "Spiritual Warfare".
When I first realized how strikingly similar live role-playing games (LARP) and classics like The Elder Scrolls and the eternally propagated "principles of the spiritual world" really are, I was stunned.
"Jesus," I said, completely dumbfounded and horrified, "that's not true now, is it? They didn't just stage a huge LARP that they back with prophecies, and have people dancing like puppets on ropes- surely no one could be that evil and manipulative?"
I sigh and hear the answer clearly: Yes, yes. Yes, there are people who are so wicked.
I know that I am attacking the hobbyhorse, the golden calf of the charismatic movement, and I am already waiting inwardly for the shitstorm. But read on - and then think about it in peace. For I certainly, as a former New Agler, will not deny the spiritual battle itself, nor the ways that are truly helpful to persevere in it.
In fact, the problem I see is quite different: when those who are the strongest prayers, those who hold prayer mandates and who really bring passion for Jesus, are held in misguided and darned sophisticated concepts of the other side, then their prayers- are blocked. God cannot answer prayers that are self-centered and self-serving. And you know, friends, Satan knows this very well.
So I ask you to listen to me, and for a while, question what has been drummed into you: That people retell the spiritual realities in stories and therefore such parallels are no miracle. Check how many "Cloaks of Anointing" "Keys of Healing" and "Better Armor of God" actually came flying out of "Heavenly Portals" over stadiums.
You will find out:
None at all. No announced revival has taken place. No extraordinary anointing came, and also the announced election successes, resurrections, life extensions, storm tides and drowning polar bears at the North Pole (I kid you not, that was an official prophecy!)-have never happened.
When you play online role-playing games, LARP and the like, it's always about helping a rightful king in the fight for his kingdom, which is occupied by dark forces. Basically, it's about demons, monsters and crazed beasts having a firm grip on the fantasy world through magic - they rule various cities, territories, they recruit followers and enslave the free population. To do this ("The Elder Scrolls"), they pour into the current world through portals from other dimensions, "to occupy it".
One finds oneself in a permanent battle between good and evil, BUT:
You yourself are the chosen avatar, the miracle student, the announced liberator and judge of evil. You fight your way through the countless enemies, learn a craft and fulfill countless tasks to be stronger and better equipped - and to become more and more skillful and invincible in your -either endurance- or magic-based- abilities.
To make the whole thing mighty fun, you are rewarded with events in which magic portals ( "heavenly portals", treasure chests to loot ( "treasure hunt") and titles are awarded (new, more honorable names), as well as to receive higher quality attributes ( anointing), and of course adapted equipment ( new armor).
At the center of it all is yourself, not the king you are fighting for. And you can be whatever you want: you can learn to be a healer, you can buff (bless, miraculously increase influence/strength), you can fight ( warrior), you can be cunning and loot the enemy's treasure chests( rogue), you can be a melee fighter, ranged fighter, elf, human, halfling, dwarf, orc...heck, whatever you want, it depends a bit on the title you play.
There are so-called area and dungeon/inibosses that you can only defeat with several, using your skills against them. This is where everyone is needed- the bards, the healers, the tanks ( those who put themselves on the front lines), the ranged fighters and the mages who "burn the evil" with- for the most part- fire ( Fire!!!).
After the area bosses (minor demons), come those who dominate entire map areas ( medium demons), and finally you face the world bosses, in completed titles the final boss (Satan).
These you defeat only with a raid ( an entire army), and then, finally, you can hand the king back the key to his kingdom.
These games have a huge addictive factor, because of the guaranteed success, because of the conditioning. Because we humans are deeply impressionable about punishment and reward systems, and being rewarded, being successful ALWAYS feels good. They are just...fun. The interaction, the feeling of power, the rewards- all great. It's not for nothing that millions of people of all ages play these games.
The point is: this has nothing, nothing at all to do with spiritual warfare in the Christian sense.
And yet, anyone who is "practiced" in spiritual warfare will recognize the parallels:
demons who bind whole cities under a dark force, and who must be "prayed down" together
Country lords in the spiritual dimensions, who bind whole countries, and who are to be prayed down in national prayer armies
Forming Joel's army/ the end-time army that will defeat Satan and judge the world
-The Seven Mountains Mandate, which has the goal of "pacifying the world so that the key to the Kingdom can be returned to Jesus.
Announced revivals in which anointing, enlightenment, better armor tumble out of heaven portals ( and gold dust, let's not forget that one)
Knowledge and treasures hidden in treasure chests, which is why we have to go on "treasure hunt" with Satan.
Awards, titles, new names, level up in the knowledge of God, baby Christians, name Christians, enlightened Christians, "mature Christians".
and regularly we have to refuel ourselves because we run out of mana potions, uh, Holy Spirit reserves, that is, we run out of gas.
No. No, and no again.
We are not the heroes of history, and Jesus never called us "his army". He never talked about growing in self-strength and self-knowledge and self-realization, but in knowledge of God, in the strength of our faith ( trust in God!) and in the power of love, prudence and hope in our salvation through Christ.
The problem with avatars is that they are computer-controlled pixels that are correspondingly immortal and can be revived again and again. And: they are given a "power" that makes them little gods who can achieve anything.
With all love: No one finds such an approach to the spiritual battle anywhere even rudimentary in the Bible, and rightly so, because:
Jesus won the victory all by himself and without our help on the cross of Golgotha. We have long since been bought out of the kingdom of darkness into the light, through him and only through him. There is no equality between Satan and God, but "the demons tremble with fear because they know that God exists."
We are to flee evil and not study it, nor are we to believe anything the father of lies tells us. Nowhere are we given command over demons, nor are we taught to mock or directly address Satan. The more we study the kingdom of darkness instead of praising God, exalting Him and confessing His victory, the more our thoughts will revolve around demons, Satan's power and strategies. At some point, it becomes all about fighting demons and Satan becomes more and more equal in our thoughts, more and more dangerous, more and more threatening, more and more present. Well, if it's news, he has no power over us. We are bought out with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. And it is God Himself who rules the hosts of angels, who gives the victory, who will judge Satan.
When I look into the Bible and equally look back at my esoteric times, where I saw numerous really scary and amazing mystical things, there was only one thing that lifted me out of fear, out of darkness, out of spiritual struggle and the like:
And that was the plea for help, voiced as such, my pleading and wrestling for God to reveal His truth and authority, the confession of belonging to Him, and ...praise. Praise and knowledge of who is really my Lord makes me persevere until today, survive attacks, and feel attacks, but not be at the mercy of them.
It coincides with the experience and approach of the apostles, it coincides with the struggles and the struggles of the psalmists, the great prophets, - and it pacifies the land.
We need to remind each other in times of attack how often God has been reliable. We must raise his praise, we must look to the one who died for our sins on the cross of Golgotha and canceled all the promissory bills.
Yes, we may pray that our events, our seminaries, our worship services are protected. Yes, we may ask for God to pronounce His dominion over us. Yes, we may ask that he be like a wall of fire around us, burning and hindering the evil, liberating and cleansing that within. Yes, we may ask God why arrows keep hitting us in the same spot, and ask for knowledge and healing- but this will involve self-responsibility, for we are not perfect nor flawless.
Of course, in difficult and challenged times, we may ask God to send us His angels, and yes: we may also remember that we are under His Lordship.
But demons are darkness and lies. If we fight them with the same fire that they themselves are, we will not defeat them. If we think we have command over them, they will attack and laugh at us.
No, demons are darkness and death. Only asking for the presence of the Holy Spirit, the presence of light, of life, of truth will illuminate and drive out demons - because in God's presence they cannot be.
May we think carefully about what we want: To save and bring out people, or to fanatically fight, hate and destroy - to feel our own power and deny the victor like avatars.
I have made my choice. And I hope you do too. Because Satan, in whatever guise of light, brings you only suffering.
And if you absolutely want to slaughter demons and play the battle of good against evil, to be rewarded for it - then just play an online game. You know, it's not any more un-Christian than the scene of the crime.
And throw away books that promise you the same rewards as these games. They are not true - and just make the authors a lot of money.
Die Bibel, Luther 2017, www.bibleserver.com
MMORPG & PC Games: The Elder Scrolls-Oblivion, ESO, Neverwinter Nights/ Neverwinter Online/ World of Warcraft.
Foto: Pixabay, black-talon,thx, its matching!
Lobpreis: Michael W.Smith: More love, more power.