The Return of Indiana Jones and Asking the Wrong Questions: When the Mountain Doesn’t Move (Part Four – James 4:1-3)

It is VERY hard to surprise anyone with an announcement these days… between all the hacks and leaks that happen on the internet on a daily basis as well as the amount of people that are typically involved with a video game secret that could potentially spill the beans on a big moment, it just doesn’t happen often. But faster than you can crack ol’ Indy’s whip we got the STUNNING and completely unanticipated news that the next adventure in the Indiana Jones saga won’t just be on a movie screen… it will be on our home console. It was just a few short weeks ago that I was lamenting the fact that LucasFilms had made SO many announcements regarding upcoming Star Wars TV projects without offering any insight on what the future of Star Wars video games looked like… and it turns out I was asking the wrong questions altogether. The correct question was not why LucasFilms had not yet announced any new Star Wars games to partner with their successful TV offerings, the question should have been WHAT new game is LucasFilms preparing to unleash on us? And now… now we know. Well played LucasFilms… well played. I feel like I have watched this switcheroo before…

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Veteran publisher Bethesda has been tapped to provide us with a new adventure in the Indiana Jones universe, and based on the VERY limited clues we can glean from the trailer it looks like Indy is going to be heading to Rome as he prepares to unearth yet another sacred relic. And this doesn’t appear to be simply a vacation gone awry, as we can see his iconic whip is coming along for the ride. You KNOW they don’t typically allow that as a carry-on item, so I doubt he is flying commercial airlines. Now, let’s keep it real… we probably have a decent chunk of time before we will be stepping into the shoes (and most importantly donning the iconic fedora) of possibly the most famous fictional archeologist of all time. But as we spend the next several months/years pondering all of the potential destinations in mind for Mr. Jones, I have to admit that I can appreciate LucasFilms going in a totally different direction than we were all expecting and landing an actual “surprise” announcement that may end up being more interesting than the Star Wars game we were all expecting. How very “Indiana Jones” of them…

Indiana Jones is amazing - GIF on Imgur

Indiana Jones hasn’t exactly had the best luck in gaming releases, although he does have a gaming history that dates ALL the way back to the original Atari. His most well-known gaming adventures were a poorly received pair of original adventures during the PS2/Xbox platform generation and a couple of more successful entries in the Lego gaming franchise. For whatever reason, this beloved cinematic icon has not translated terribly well to the video game medium… but we know it is possible because a gentleman named Nathan Drake and a young lady who goes by Lara Croft have proven this concept over and over and OVER again in their respective adventures in the Uncharted and Tomb Raider series of games. Both of these franchises clearly owe at least a small to medium sized debt to the original “Raider” of lost arks and temples of doom, but when it comes to gaming success it is crystal clear which characters occupy the throne.

Lara Croft Sottr GIF by Tomb Raider - Find & Share on GIPHY

The funny thing is that not only was I NOT expecting a new Indiana Jones game, I didn’t even know that was a question I should have been asking. My gaming priorities from LucasArts has been in the following VERY specific order:

  1. Make me a Mandalorian game so I can play as Mando AND the Child. Mix of puzzle-solving and third-person platforming maybe?
  2. Make me a Mandalorian prequel so I can get the unstated backstory on Din Djarin. Thinking open-world for this one…
  3. Make me ANY Ahsoka game. I will even settle for a tactical, turn-based game on this one. Just gimme, gimme, gimme.
  4. Oh, I also need a Bo-Katan game. Multiplayer, class-based, first-person shooter preferably. This one should be obvious.

And I could go on and on and ON… because there is simply so much in this vein that I want to experience and explore as a gamer, so it was hard for me to even consider there may be something outside of the MASSIVE amount of ideas I have that may be even better than what I had in mind. And while all of these gaming concepts may eventually come to fruition, there may also be a large amount of very good reasons why some (or all) of these may never see the light of day.

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For the last three weeks we have looked at some of the reasons why our mountains may be slow to move, or downright stubbornly resistant to movement. You can find these previous articles here if you want to get caught up before moving forward:

But as I ponder the next major reason why mountains may not always move the way we think they should, there is another very specific criteria for “mountain movement” that I recognize in my wish list of LucasArts “suggestions”. There are several flaws in my personal desires that are apparent to anyone who is NOT me… such as the possibility that this would take away from or dilute future plans for the continued streaming adventures of this new “Mando-Verse” that we are currently enjoying. I have to keep in mind that there are many people who have not yet experienced the Mandalorian streaming series for many different reasons such as lack of access or other competing priorities, so these games could potentially spoil elements of the series that they have not had an opportunity to enjoy. Also, while it is hard for me to imagine, there may be people out there who do not share the same level of appreciation and enthusiasm for all things Mandalorian, and thus my list of games would be completely uninteresting to them. I don’t know who those people are, but they may exist. Theoretically, anyways.

The problem here is not the mountain… it is ME. These are the desires of MY heart, and while I believe many people that are like me would enjoy the games I am suggesting, the truth is that as long as I get to play them I would be content even if I was the ONLY person to enjoy them. Selfishly, the only person I am thinking of in my “LucasArts gaming wish list”… is ME. Me, myself, and I, if I am feeling generous. And anyone that happens to ALSO appreciate my wish list is simply a happy accident. And this is a problem that extends beyond my gaming choices and preferences and into my actual mountainous challenges… much more than I would care to admit. Sometimes I feel like James is speaking his words straight to me in his incredibly direct and transparent start to the fourth chapter of his epistle…

James 4:1-3 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 

James doesn’t exactly mince words here… We don’t have because we don’t ask… but we don’t RECEIVE because we ask so that we can spend it on our “pleasures”. The Greek word for pleasures used here is “hédoné”, which as I am sure you could guess is where we get our root word for “hedonist” and “hedonistic”. The proper Greek definition is a strong desire to gratify one’s natural, physical senses and has a strong negative connotation that this is at the expense of other things. While Jesus made it abundantly clear that the meeting of our physical needs is of great importance to our Heavenly Father, He also established that there is a prioritization that exists for our physical needs and requests as well…

Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

He promised to supply all of our NEEDS (Philippians 4:19), but there is a massive difference between our physical needs and our hedonistic desires. The ability to move these “mountains” through our prayers is not simply so we can grant ourselves comfort, riches and pleasure beyond our wildest dreams like some mystical Aladdin’s lamp. But before we start judging ourselves too harshly for either being tempted or actually praying some personally gratifying prayers, this is actually a mountainous temptation that the Son of God Himself faced at the beginning of His ministry as well, so I guess we are in good company after all…

The Brick Testament. You must contact to request  permission to use. | Legos, Matthew 4, Jesus lives

Luke 4:1-8 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Wait… let’s make sure we all caught that. Did satan just take Christ to the top of the mountain and the offer Jesus the WHOLE mountain and all he could see with it? Yes, that’s EXACTLY what he just did… he let Jesus know that this mountain could actually be Christ’s new zip code. He just needed to act now… although that shipping and handling was going to be a bit of a beast. Literally. As timeshare presentations go, this one takes the cake. Jesus was offered the opportunity to own the mountain and the full mountaintop experience… but he would have had to rotate His worship of the Lord to the devil in order to do it. And when we attempt to use the power that the Lord has given us through prayer in order to gratify our physical, worldly desires, we are doing the exact same thing. This is not a new temptation… and fortunately for us, the Lord does not answer our prayers to move these mountains for that express purpose. But here is the dangerous truth… there ARE some mountains that satan owns. Jesus did not dispute the mountain ownership rights with the devil, He simply let him know that His worship was not for sale.

Our enemy will be all to happy to intercept our misaligned prayers and offer to move some of those mountains for us… at a cost. A cost that sadly I have paid him many times over the course of my life, to my shame. But the good news is that even when we have been guilty of trying to move mountains for our personal benefit and perhaps even giving satan a foothold in our lives as a result, we have an Advocate with our Father (1 John 2:1). An Advocate who has been EXACTLY where we are, and has faced EVERY temptation that we have (Hebrews 4:15). An advocate who can redeem us from even the most selfish of choices and place our feet back on the correct path (Psalm 40:2).

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Perhaps you, like me, have tried to move the mountain for your own selfish benefit. Maybe you have even been guilty of making some real estate deals to facilitate those movements… I have been there as well. But just as I would have selfishly demanded only what I wanted from LucasArts at the risk of prematurely spoiling and damaging their intentions with their Star Wars properties, the good news is that fortunately they are not listening to my ideas or reading these articles. They have their own ideas for what is in the best interests of fans for ALL their franchises, not just my own personal preferences. And similarly, it is the very kindness and mercy of our Father that He DOESN’T move every mountain just because we ask Him to. Those mountains might exist as the ANSWER to someone else’s prayer, and moving them from one child’s “need” simply to fulfill another child’s “want” is a game the Lord doesn’t play. When we want a mountain that was never ours in the first place, there are three simple words that we heard from Indiana’s father to the youngest Dr. Jones LONG before they were infamously uttered by Elsa in Frozen… - Forums - Ben Shelley: What Adam Pelech's injury means for  the Islanders

We will wrap up this series next week with one final look at the mountains that we are trying to move, and the reality that there are more to some mountains than meet the eye. But until then, let us prayerfully consider our TRUE motivations for each mountain we are trying to move. While some mountains exist in our lives for a very specific reason, and other mountains require a deep period of reaching out to God and holding on until the entire mountain moves, there are some mountains that have ALREADY moved in response to someone else’s prayer. And if we are willing to allow the Lord look deep down inside of our hearts and reveal our deepest intentions and motives to us, we will have the wisdom to tell the difference. I guess it’s time to get fitted for a fedora and pick up a bullwhip… sorry Mando. This time… at least for now, this is the Way…

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