It wasn’t more than a couple of months ago that it wasn’t uncommon to see groups of young people walking around all over the place with the express purpose of capturing all sorts of different Pokémon monsters. Our kids were certainly into it. We were able to go to the beach for a few days in August, and they were excited to be able to capture, collect and upgrade different monsters, creatures that apparently were more maritime. Seafood monsters.
What happened? How did something that started so fiercely (with all the data mining that went along with it!) end so quickly? Well, in the words of my 14 year old, “When the hack was available, it was stupid.” In other words, when you could capture Pokémon monsters without having to work for it, it made no sense. Anyone could have fantastic, powerful and mutated monsters without actually trolling the streets, and locating the local Pokéstops.
I remember when I was growing up there was a debate as to whether the Christian life was difficult or easy. I always came down on the difficult side…Biblical discipleship and Christ-following involves concepts like taking up your cross, dying to yourself, and denying yourself. That doesn’t come easy to me! There are no hacks, no shortcuts to that.
I was recently in a group chat where I published a quote by John Piper that said this: “Prosperity cannot be proof of God’s favor, since it is what the devil promises to those who worship him.” It created a bit of polemic in the group. Isn’t blessing and prosperity (according to the OT anyways) a direct result of godliness? Perhaps, but the NT seems to put a different spin on that. I believe that to a certain sense, our obedience to Christ will keep us poor. We are constrained to share, compelled to give to our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and across the street who have less than we do.
Our relationship towards stuff is just one spiritual challenge we face in taking up the cross. Much more could be said about our relationship to other human beings, to work, to sex, to prayer, and to so many other aspects of life on planet earth.
Living a Biblical Christian life will never become irrelevant, it will never cease to require extreme diligence and sacrifice. It will never be “stupid,” at least if we are presenting a true picture of what discipleship really is. Following Jesus is hard, as Peter reminds us. But after following Him however imperfectly for a time, we all realize that we have no where else to go. Only He is worthy.