In the fall of 2008 there was a 4 week series at my church called Foundations of Freedom. The lessons were taught on a mid-week evening by a guest pastor, Alan Smith from Gateway church in Southlake. While I realized at the time that it was a significant period in my Christian development, I really wasn’t aware of how significant. Freedom ministries laid the foundation for pretty much all the healing I have received & much of the growth that has happened in me. The timing (as always) was perfect, I was dangerously close to trying to figure out how to become a nice, normal Christian, trying to figure out how to fit in & be like everyone else. This of course is not what we are called to do or become, I started my walk in a wonderfully ‘Barbarian Way’ (go read that book it’s awesome) over time though, I was becoming lost & disconnected. Like so many saved people, I was wandering around in a slumber. It has taken 5 (or I guess 36) years for God to fully awaken me, at least I think I am fully awake right now, if not yikes, there are exciting times to come!
It was during the Foundations of Freedom series that God used the movie The Matrix to explain His Kingdom & the story of my salvation to me in a way that I would understand. When I gave my testimony to my men’s group at church earlier this year I made a brief reference to what I had been taught & promised to revisit it & write it down. So this is me doing that, as promised.
I shall begin with a brief overview of what I know of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is real place, it is not heaven, it is a real realm that holds dominion over the natural word. The natural world being the physical place (Earth etc) that we all live in.
The dictionary defines a realm as ‘A community or territory over which a sovereign rules; a kingdom.’
So if you think about this from a hierarchy perspective, you have the physical realm earth etc & as much as we don’t like it, the king of this realm is the satan. However, above the physical realm is a spiritual realm, The Kingdom of God, Jesus is the king of this realm & this realm holds dominion (Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty) over the physical realm beneath it.
When Jesus was on earth teaching, his central message was to teach people about the Kingdom of God. How many times do you read him say “The Kingdom of God is like…”? Jesus taught many times about the Kingdom of God, he delivered this single message in multiple ways knowing full well that many of the people he taught would not get it; for those who have eyes to see, see, for those who have ears to hear, hear.
What did he mean by that? I believe firmly, that in order to see the things of the Kingdom of God you have to have entered into the Kingdom of heaven. How do we enter the Kingdom of God? Repent & believe. Of course today we believe in Jesus including his death & resurrection, however the invitation that he gave was to believe before he had been killed “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand”. He knew what was to come of course, but to me, this shows that the Kingdom did not begin with the resurrection, it has always been there. Jesus knew so much about this eternal, timeless place because that is where he came from, that is where he grew up (to put it in our terms).
Repent; let’s look at that for a minute. The New Testament word repent comes from the Greek word metanoia (yay I took notes). Metanoia means “a transformative change of heart; especially : a spiritual conversion”. It does not mean, as I once believed, saying sorry & trying to do better. Repentance comes from God, acting better of thinking better is the fruit of repentance, not the act of repentance. The act of repentance is to confess to God & allow him to enter your heart in order to change it. Repentance is an act of faith, it is an act of obedience & submission. That faith comes by hearing the spoken word of Christ in your life.
So if that’s how we enter the Kingdom, what exactly is the Kingdom? This will be like trying to show you the entire Grand Canyon with one postcard, but I shall try to at least get across some of what I have been taught about the Kingdom. The kingdom is transcendent love, it is the power of God, the same power that created the universe. The Kingdom is bigger than history. The Kingdom is peace, joy, righteousness, it is the blue print of how God designed things to be. Life and light fill the kingdom, the life that existed before living things.
When you are born again, you are born into the kingdom. Your physical body remains in the world, but your soul, your spirit is born into the Kingdom. The 1st thing that happens in the Kingdom is you are given the Holy Spirit, as small as a mustard seed, but able to grow & fill your life completely. The Holy Spirit is like a down payment, a guarantee of what is to come, all those who enter into the Kingdom will surely one day be in heaven. The Holy Spirit is a taste of what heaven will be, in addition to being your guide, counselor & most crucially your direct connection to the source.
What do I mean by the source? Well God of course. Humankind was originally designed to be connected to the source, that is why in the garden there was no need to eat from the tree of knowledge because that vision came from God. In the garden the spiritual & physical were intertwined, it was not until after the fall that they were separated for us as they are now. Think about it, the tree of life which they were free to eat from. We all know what a tree looks like, but what does the fruit of the tree of life look like & how would you know to eat it? They were connected to the source, so like having an internal spiritual radar they knew.
That is the thing with the Kingdom, once we enter into it, we have access to see the things of it, to see how life is supposed to work. You can think of it like a radio station, it is everywhere, right where you are reading this, however, you have to have a received, not only that, but the receiver has to be turned on. I know that for myself, even after I was given the received there have been many times when I turned it off & then forgot to turn it back on & other times when I didn’t have it tuned quite right.
When my receiver is on & tuned correctly though, life makes sense, I am a better husband & father, I am a better employee, a better friend & neighbor & just more pleasant to be around. It is because of this that we must make the Kingdom of God our priority, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. When I first discovered this it seemed strange to be putting something before my wife, but the truth is, if I want to honor my wife & be the best I can be for her (which I want with all my heart), then I have to seek God first, because it is only through Him that I can be the husband that my wife deserves.
So I told you all that so I can tell you this, Ron White moment (haha). When I was being taught all these things, frankly my head was spinning, I was hearing but not hearing, I was understanding but not comprehending. So in order to dumb it down for me God told me to look at life like one of my favorite movies, The Matrix.
I know, I know, The Matrix is not a Christian movie & my use of it to learn the things of God is well, uniquely me. Then again I’m pretty sure Aerosmith didn’t write the song Amazing about my early 20s, yet it is the perfect description of that time in my life. These things work for me & maybe they will work for you.
So let’s start with the basics. The Matrix is the physical realm, the architect is satan, the agents are satan. The real world, the one you are born again into, is the Kingdom of God. Nowhere in the bible does Jesus say some & join me in the Kingdom of God for a life of leisure and comfort & it will be all parties & cake. All he offers is the truth, the chance to leave the lies & join reality. He also offers an invitation to join the army of God that is in an active war against the enemy, there is not comfort & cake in war. Jesus doesn’t call us to a life of comfort, he calls us to life of growth, a life of becoming more like him, a life committed to advancing His Kingdom.
I’m going to take you through my personal journey of the Matrix, feel free to come up with your own version. My wife was Trinity, in the beginning when Neo is still Mr Anderson & Trinity hacks into his home computer, when she meets him at the club, when she convinces him not to get out of the car. My wife was all that to me as she gently led me to Christ. She probably didn’t know it, so much of what goes on in the Kingdom is at a subconscious level, you don’t realize what has happened until later, sometimes much later.
You’ll notice in the movie that right before Neo gets out of the Matrix, he comes under a huge attack from the enemy (the scene at his office & the creepy bug thing). It took me 6 months to make a decision for Christ questioning myself, questioning if it was what I wanted, good things come to those who wait, but I was under attack that whole time. Then it happened, then it was my time. You’ve been down that road before, you know where it ends and that’s not where you want to be. What is the Matrix? Control. Once I was shown the door & I walked through it, everything changed, simply everything. I’m not going to write my testimony hear, but you can get glimpses of it enough if you read the things I write.
So then here we are, freed from the Matrix, living in reality (the Kingdom), but unfortunately that is not what we take the red pill for. In order for us to serve our purpose, for life to have meaning, you have to reenter the Matrix. You have to enter the battle; you have to fight for those who would gladly take the red pill, if they only knew that was an option.
Some people have a hard time with that, they don’t want to go back in & when they got reconnected they forget what is real, I call these the sleep walkers. Then there are others, like the digital pimp in the Matrix, who are fighting the good fight, but are so distracted by their own struggles that their focus is not fully on what needs to be done. I have been that guy, when you are ready to let him, Jesus will take care of that for you.
Then there are those who are like Neo. We enter into the matrix fully focused, knowing what needs to be done. Over time we learn the key lessons, like there is no spoon, it is not the spoon that bends, only yourself (we all have our own meaning for this, for me it was not to be deceived by what the world tells me is true, because their truth is simply an illusion). As we walk through the Matrix, when we are fully connected to the source, we start to see things for what they are, like the scene at the end of the film when he no longer sees the Matrix, but he sees the code shaped into what he previously knew to be real. When we get to this stage, that is when we are really rocking, that is when we become the one (Yes, Jesus is THE ONE, but we can all become the one for our own part in the grand movie).
We also have to remember to withdraw from the matrix, disconnect & get some rest & recharge in the presence of God. We have to be wary too of the battle outside the matrix, we need protection inside, but it is outside where we really need the armor of God. Don’t think you won’t get attacked in your home or your church, as soon as your guard is down they will move in.
So which one am I? I have been it all, that is my struggle, I fluctuate with alarming regularity between different stages. Currently I am amore awake & alive than I have ever been, I see the matrix for what it is. As a result I am more under attack than I have ever been too. As I lose the echoes of residual self-image, the false me that I used to be & I embrace my true identity, I can only marvel at how much He really does love us.
This probably made way more sense in my head than it does here. Of course life is real & the earth is real etc. I don’t know what this all means, I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that loves conquers everything.
Be blessed & remember to stay connected to the source.
4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach this message:26 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. 2 For by it the people of old received God’s commendation.
If you are interested in the Foundations of Freedom series, lessons available online. They are slightly different in format than when I attended, but the message is still the same. You can find them here: http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom-kairos/media1