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Released in America in 1980, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Pac-Man changed the world. Commonly agreed as being one of the greatest video games ever, its ubiquitous legacy in our culture and commerce paved the way for a revolution in arcade and at-home entertainment. The premise of the game is simple: Control a chomping yellow circle through an enclosed maze of dots and avoid greedy little ghosts who want to chow down on your hero. Clear the dots, and you clear the board. The game’s simple premise belies how tough it can actually be. As you move along, the ghosties get faster, your hand starts to ache, and the puzzles even get more complicated. What’s a little yellow hero to do?

Thankfully, the creators of the game have not left you defenceless. In the corners of the board, are what are called ‘power-pellets,’ and when Pac-Man takes a bite of those – look out! The hunted has become the hunter. Ghosts now blue with fear, turn and run from an energized Pac-Man looking to rack up the bonus points. The ‘power-pellets’ have changed that little yellow circle into an unstoppable ghost-eating machine, striking fear into the hearts of all 8-bit apparitions.

Taking a step back from nostalgia, quarters jangling in your pocket, walkman on your hip, consider now our age, some forty plus years since Pac-Man’s emergence. My, how the world has changed. Things are taught, embraced, and celebrated in ways that seem so surreal, so threatening, so painful to watch. What’s a little Christian to do?

Thankfully, your Creator has not left you defenceless either. Residing in God’s Word – God’s incredible, inerrant, inspired Word – written for your sake and mine that we may be complete and lacking in nothing, are truths of incalculable power. Truths that will turn you from feeling like you are continually being chased by culture, to the place where you see a glorious reality. And on this month, of all months, I offer up three big ones. Power-pellets, right there in God’s Word to encourage, challenge, and remind you that because of Christ, you are actually on the winning side.

1. You Do Not Need to Be Afraid

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33)

Always remember that the Lord is in control of His world. The events of the last 40 years and indeed all of history have been carefully orchestrated and organized by One person. God alone is in control, and no president, no prime minister, no teacher, no agenda, no interest groups, or administrations can move our sovereign and omnipotent God from His perfectly unfolding plan. Rather than being promised a life of ease, free from persecution and difficulty, the Christian follows the Lord into hardship, bearing witness to the hope that is within him or her. As God has done countless times throughout history, we can trust that He will again use opposition to carry forward His great aims of advancing the Kingdom of God. If this was not God’s plan, we wouldn’t be seeing it because God’s purposes are never frustrated. Remember, you do not need to be afraid, Our God is in control.

2. Focus on the Mission

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Rom. 1:16)

Remember that it is only the message of Jesus that can sway a culture towards real and lasting obedience to God. If we have any hope as Christians for seeing reform, that hope must reside in our confidence in the life-transforming work of Jesus. Petitioning schools, writing leaders, posting on social media can raise awareness, but they will never replace the Holy Spirit and His work in completely upending a soul for Jesus. This does not imply that the Christian should be socially paralyzed, but rather to call us to remember that our energies are better placed in sharing Christ. No one has ever come to Christ through a hate-laced post on facebook, but millions and millions have come to saving faith through the simple gospel. Remember, it is only the Gospel message that can ultimately transform a culture for Christ.

3. In Your Frustration, Do Not Sin

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Eph. 4:26-27)

It can be a disheartening thing to watch culture move faster and faster away from any semblance of Christian ethics and behaviour. To be sure, within the 20th century one doesn’t need to look far to see the abuses of power within so-called Christian circles, but so much good has also resulted. Within this online age, we see cultural shifting at exponential rates, and this really is no longer the world we as parents grew up in. In interacting with others this month, be mindful not just of the message of hope you carry, but also the way you deliver the message. Just as the Lord can harness evil in this world for his purposes, so too Satan can use this opposition to feed into your impatience, and anger. Remember, as you share Christ or interact with issues, speak with kindness, patience, and love.

Pursued in this world as we are, we take heart and do not give up. God is speaking to us still and reminding us of His great truths. All we need to do is run to them and chow down.

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