I won’t pretend that I haven’t been openly critical of the release of Anthem, the ugly duckling in Bioware’s rich portfolio of successful franchises. I have been rooting for quite some time that the development of this troubled shooter would ultimately result in a game that would eventually become a beautiful swan, but it appears there is a different ending in mind for Anthem… a little more similar to the final beats of Old Yeller. In a move that most of us saw coming a mile away, last week Bioware announced that they are finally ending the development of this ambitious, costly, and ultimately under-performing title. The bell has been tolling on this one for a minute, and for those who have appreciated this game as an alternative to Destiny, I truly hope all eight of you will find something new to play. Too soon?
I am of two minds on this news… on one hand I would absolutely prefer that the minds behind Bioware funnel their resources into titles that have an actual chance for success, such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Jade Empire… or literally anything else, really. Maybe even My Little Pony… anything but more Anthem. On the other hand, it is always sad to see a game fail to rise to it’s potential as magnificently as Anthem did. Many people put a lot of work into this game that was meant to spawn a franchise, and for them this will be a part of their work resume that will always carry a bitter aftertaste. Bioware did everything they could to give this game a fighting chance to survive, but at the end of the day they have chosen to cut their losses, learn their lesson, and move on. Anthem will still exist and remain playable, at least for now… but it will never be more than what it is today. So if you love it, congratulations… you can continue to play it exactly as it is until the servers get shut off. And if you don’t, I have good news for you too… you are getting about 40GB of space back on your hard drive. Everybody wins!
One of the hardest parts of life is taking a negative or disappointing experience and “deleting it” off of our personal hard drive. We covered that subject in depth here if you missed our previous article on Anthem a few months ago:
But when reflecting on this news on Anthem there is an even deeper challenge to this than meets the eye. Sure, we can delete Anthem off of our hard drive and reclaim all of that space for future use… but what if you don’t install something else in that space? While it has been removed from the ability to access it, it is technically still there filling that space. Anyone who performs a basic system recovery can get back deleted files on their PC, and even more importantly the space still remains there for it to be re-installed in a moment of weakness. Simply deleting our “Anthem” experience and moving forward is important, but there is still something to be done about that supposedly “empty space” that it once occupied. And as we will find, there is a great danger associated with our unoccupied hard drive space that warrants a deeper look.
In Matthew 12 Jesus provides a very easily comprehended analogy on the danger that empty spaces present to each of us…
Matthew 12:43-45 When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Similar to a hard drive, when the Lord delivers us from an oppressive evil spirit that has either horribly traumatized us or perhaps led us into a previous sinful lifestyle, that evil presence has been “deleted”. But they have not ceased to exist, they were simply ejected and their access has been removed. And here is the critical part of Christ’s lesson… if that space that they previously occupied remains vacant, it provides an opportunity not just for a relapse/return of the oppression… it opens the door for a problem that is exponentially worse.
Past traumas, damage done to us by others or ourselves, and the ravages of sin on a soul that was never designed to carry such a burden exist in our minds and hearts like blocks on a hard drive. They pop up at the worst possible times, inflict additional pain on our psyche, and can even poison future relationships and opportunities. Sure, the delivering power of Christ can cast out even the most hardened sinful past and undo the pain of any abuse we have endured… but as Jesus Himself is showing us here it is not a simple one-step process. He will absolutely kick out all of the evil that has occupied our mind and heart space, but as long as that space has not been filled with something else it is just waiting for it’s previous occupant to come back with a vengeance.
I know many times I have been guilty of letting the devil live rent-free in my head… stealing my current joy and happiness by reminding me of past hurts and pains, and robbing me of my peace by holding my previously forgiven sins against me. But, for a follower of Christ, that space does NOT belong to him anymore. We are under new management, and satan cannot afford the rent. This space was purchased at the highest possible price… the blood of the Son of God Himself (1 Cor. 6:20). All we have to do now is let the rightful owner of our souls fill that space with HIS Spirit.
Fill that empty space with Him each and every day… spend time in His Word, meditating on it throughout your day (Psalm 119:11). Remain in constant contact with Him at all times, keeping Him on your mind all day long and reaching out to Him in prayer in every situation (1 Thess. 5:17). When the enemy comes knocking at the door claiming he left his keys in the couch, stand on the authority that we have been given by the Lord to rebuke him and let him know that he doesn’t live here anymore (James 4:7). Keep your hard drive filled each and every day with intentional actions that keep the Lord at the center of your thoughts and actions and you will never have to worry about that “Anthem” trying to reclaim hard drive space that it no longer possesses. The secret to keeping the enemy out of our minds is to allow Christ to fill ALL of that available space… deleting “Anthem” is only step one. Take that second step today, remove that “For Rent” sign, and fill that hard drive space in your mind with Him (1 Cor. 2:16). The enemy has lived rent-free in a space that doesn’t belong to him long enough…
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