Move over “Death Stranding”… step aside “Last of Us”… there is a new king coming for the post-apocalyptic crown. Buried in a Nintendo Direct that had just about something for everyone was the news that everyone’s favorite pink puffball is coming back to the Nintendo Switch in Spring of 2022 in “Kirby and the Forgotten Land”, a brand new adventure in an entirely different environment than we have ever observed Kirby in before. While details are still sparse, it is clear that this is not just another romp through dream land… the Kirby we know and love has been dropped into a seemingly dystopian landscape overrun by vegetation and wild animals. Hopefully the developers of this game have learned from the OTHER games in the post-apocalyptic genre and we won’t have to carry a bunch of boxes around instead focus on what Kirby does BEST… eating.
Many video game characters “eat” their adversaries… Yoshi eats turtles and spits out their shells, Pac-Man eats ghosts and turns them into… well, I guess they are still ghosts. But Kirby is on an entirely different level… when he eats his adversaries he doesn’t simply defeat them… he absorbs their capabilities, becoming a master sword fighter or gaining the ability to throw bombs simply through inhaling them. Of course, he can’t carry all of those abilities at one time, so as he absorbs one he discards whatever he was carrying previously. He doesn’t actually “learn” the skills… he just has the ability to emulate whatever he has recently chosen to absorb for as long as he desires. This unique ability gives us as players a great deal of flexibility when playing a Kirby title that is a large part of the longevity of this series and Kirby as a character… but it also comes with a downside.
There are times when I have absorbed an ability into Kirby that I am really enjoying, but due to the design of the control scheme it is also easy to “accidentally” discard the ability I was carrying and pick up an undesired one instead. When I am rocking the ability to shoot fire, the last thing I wanted to do was accidentally trade that for the ability to sweep with a broom really well. But that has happened to me MANY times as I have played through the variety of Kirby games over the years, as I have found that either through carelessness or sloppy gameplay I absorbed the wrong item, and now my previously powerful and victorious Kirby has an incredibly useless and undesirable ability that makes the game much more difficult and much less enjoyable.
Much like Kirby, the things that we choose to absorb into our lives matters… often in ways that may not be immediately obvious. What we consciously read, the things we choose to dwell on, and the conversations we participate in either empower us or weaken us… everything we allow into our mind, heart, and spirit will always have an impact. Paul summed up this line of thought in his first letter to the Corinthians…
1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Well… that sounds good on the surface, but if we are being honest it also leaves a great deal open to interpretation. So let’s dig a little bit deeper into this verse and see if we can gain some additional Scriptural insight and avoid any personal interpretations. First, the word “lawful” used here is the Greek word “exestin“, which is translated as permitted, lawful, or possible. But let’s focus on the word translated as “helpful” in this verse… the Greek word “sympherei“…
Sympherei – to combine in a way that brings profit, benefit or advancement
The root word here should be fairly recognizable… it is where we get the root of the English word “symphony”, which for us band nerds is a fancy way to describe a collection of musical instruments being played together in a complimentary way. Unique sounds such as the light and ethereal qualities of a flute intermingling with crashing cymbals and powerful cellos all form one cohesive (and hopefully enjoyable) piece of music… when they work together towards a common goal. For that balance to exist there must be a unity that ties each specific style of instrument together… in an orchestra it is the sheet music. While each instrument has a specific part to play, following the sheet music insures it is all done in the same tempo, the same key, and following the same melody. Otherwise some elements would overpower others to an unhealthy degree and the essence of the song would be lost.
Let’s get out of the abstract and back to the practical… like Kirby, there are a plethora of things for us to inhale and absorb into our spirits. But not everything that is accessible and permissible to us is actually BENEFICIAL for us… some make progress more difficult, and others may actively move us farther from our goal. We are in a constant process of being formed into the likeness of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), and that growth is a journey that will continue until our final breath. Just as a symphony is a collection of musicians guided by the goal of producing a beautiful song, our lives are a composition of all that we consciously choose to include with the singular vision of having our minds transformed into the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). But for this to work we need clearly defined “sheet music” to guide us, insuring that our symphony is aligned with Scripture and not merely some cheap legalistic generational hand-me-downs. And fortunately, Paul was kind enough to give us a clearly defined list of what meets the criteria for beneficial absorption…
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
That’s it… that’s the list. That is the criteria for what is safe for consumption and actually benefits our walk with Christ and advances HIS Kingdom. And when we are considering the various means of ingesting information into our minds, this is the list of what makes the cut. And to be truly beneficial, it must meet ALL of the criteria, not just ONE element. There are things that are true, but are they praiseworthy? There are things that are lovely, but are they pure? When we make the decision on what to read, watch, listen to, talk about, post about, or interact with we must prayerfully review what is beneficial to meditate on and determine if if makes our “Kirby” stronger or weaker. And depending on where we are at in our journey, there may be specific abilities and skills that are simply more profitable than others… not because there is anything wrong with a Kirby that has the ability to turn into an impenetrable rock, but because there are times that the current challenge would be much easier if Kirby was carrying a powerful sword instead. Let the Spirit of God guide you on what input is MOST beneficial for you to absorb, and resist the urge to simply copy the other “Kirby’s” around you… the Lord knows the unique season you are in and what specific battles you are about to face.
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