Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
I remember growing up, there was a popular movie playing at the time, called “The Matrix”. Aside from the famous bullet-dodging sequence and the slow-mo, wall-running, action scenes, the movie housed an interesting and insightful concept. In short, the Matrix is a simulated world in which nearly all of humanity lives, but in reality, are enslaved and are being harvested as an energy source for the Machines. A band of freed people called the “Freedom Fighters” fight to overthrow the Machines while they await “The One” who is prophesied to lead humanity to victory. Aside from the evident themes and social commentaries, there’s a short scene that still echoes in my head today. SPOILER ALERT! A freedom fighter, Cypher, planning to betray his team, meets up with the antagonist, Agent Smith. Here’s the script of the scene:
Agent Smith: Do we have a deal, Mr. Reagan?
Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.
Agent Smith: Then we have a deal?
Cypher: I don’t want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I want to be rich. You know, someone important. Like an actor.
Agent Smith: Whatever you want, Mr. Reagan.
Cypher: Okay. I get my body back into a power plant, re-insert me into the Matrix, I’ll get you what you want.
The scene is juxtapositioned with “the breakfast of champions” that the Freedom Fighters eat, as one of the men called it, “a bowl of snot”. Ignorance is bliss. That’s what Cypher realizes after nine years of being awakened to grim reality. Dark. Dangerous. Destitute. Cypher knows the Matrix world is not real. He knows humanity is in danger. But he wants to ignore it. He wants to go back and remember nothing, even though it’s a lie.
Friends, we must remember that reality is not simply what our eyes see. There’s so much going on outside of our perceptions, interactions, travel routes. As born-again Christians, we are like the Freedom Fighters who have had their eyes opened to the world’s fading and the lasting reality. We are called to walk by faith, and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), because if we believe that God is spirit (John 4:24), then there’s a spiritual reality our fleshly eyes cannot see. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).
The truth is, the spiritual battlefield is a bloody battle. The battle will rage until we breathe our last or until our Lord Jesus returns again. Our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). At times, hopelessness feels like our coats and despair like our hats. Nagging sins may come cling to our skins and drag us with heavy weight. Like Cypher in “The Matrix”, we may become disillusioned with the sobering reality of sins that wage war against our soul. One of the greatest dangers in these moments would be to just give in, to pretend like our eyes were never opened, to pretend that the sins we secretly enjoy don’t need to be surrendered and killed, to pretend we can continue to sin with repentance and God will be okay with us. What’s worse than being blind to the spiritual reality is having our eyes opened to reality and then closing our eyes to it. Ignorance is not bliss. It It is delayed misery.
Friends, ignoring the battle will not count us out of it. There’s much at stake, not only your life but the lives of others around you. Let us remember that we don’t fight to win. Jesus has already guaranteed that victory on the cross and in His resurrection. The verdict is out and nothing that the devil does can change it. We fight to stay on the winning side. Paul reminds us to be sober and watchful, to stand firm and resist the devil. (1 Peter 5:8-9). The enemy will come and lure us to leave our post for comforts and pleasures, for the way is narrow and hard that leads to eternal life. Or he may confuse us to go off to another post, where Pharisees motion us closer and hold up the banner of the law and works. And not too far off will be the hyper-grace camp who tear the banner of law up and live without the fear of the Lord. Stand firm in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hold off the enemy’s advances. Be watchful and pray. Our God fights for us.
Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
So do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)