Recently I have observed the Body of Christ functioning with some seriously irregular tendencies. People who claim to stand for Godly principles continue to make bad decisions. They want to do good but they continue to do bad. What’s wrong? The problem lies with the values of this age (the Matrix). I think the movie is very powerful because it shows what this world is about. The secular world we live in (the Matrix) is about keeping people unconscious to the Truth. My job as a member of the Resistance (a Christian) is to wake people up. The church has not transformed society, but society has polluted the minds of God’s people. Can the church prevail against the Matrix? We can, but we will never make godly decisions as long as we remain impregnated with worldly values.
Let me just say the Matrix doesn’t care if we fill our brain with Bible verses because it knows when the going gets tough, it’s the values that will eventually move us. How can we be healed or set free from this prison in our minds? Well, if we were computers we would just do a delete dump, but because we are complex humans, it’s going to take some divine “Exlax”. Our spiritual minds are congested with worldly thinking, and we are in need of a holy bowel movement. Thanks to His grace relief is coming, and it’s on the horizon. Let me say too, this is something only the Lord can do.
The Lord has asked us;
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Rom 12:2 NKJV
Most Christians have one set of values related with their Sunday morning rituals, and then use another in their daily routine which they call “secular” life. These Christians are not aware of the forces behind what is driving their decisions.
How do we get this way? From my understanding of Internet Marketing in the last five years, it would be safe to say that billions of dollars are being spent today trying to understand, control, and coerce global spending by consumers. They (the rich and smart) have understood that he who controls the values controls the spending of the populace. The power of this culture (the Matrix) is in getting the Church to want its values.
Our values are those things that the world has convinced us as being worthy of our energy so as to invest our time and money. The Caesars in our life have created a value system (Matrix) in which we exist but under their control. We walk around thinking we are free, but really we are blind and only see what they want us to see. It is not until we learn to hear The Voice from within, the voice of the Holy Spirit, that we can begin to operate on earth as it is in Heaven (Kingdom).
What are some of these values and how do I know if I am operating in them?
Let me share some of the values presently being celebrated by the Matrix:
1. Bigger is Better
Whether we are talking about our modern state of the art sanctuaries or the size of our congregations, the larger something is the better it must be. People flock to Mega-Churches because they think all those people can’t be wrong. We are inoculated with the bigger is better vaccine from conception so that everywhere we look we see it. We are told 200 positive reviews must be better than 20 positive reviews. Computers work night and day for the right price to improve reviews and give you more friends or followers on social media. It doesn’t matter that they are not real people, and they are just the invention of some money hungry marketer who takes advantage of the values in the Matrix. People say perception is everything and it doesn’t matter if the numbers are bogus. So they are deceived, and they continue to deceive others because bigger is better. Who has convinced us that the majority is always right?
2. Winning is Everything!
Why don’t we like standing with the minority as long as we stand for our values? Why is winning so important? At what cost are we willing to win? Winning is NOT Everything! The old man in me is very competitive. I like to win as much as the next person, but at what cost? Today the motto of most businesses is, “If it’s worth, winning its worth cheating,” throwing ethics out the window. Sports teams have been caught cheating to their own disgrace. People today just pass it off as everyone does it. Does that make it right? Business people are winning, but losing their families. Politicians are winning, but they are having to sell their souls. Cheating, lying, and underhanded tactics are now called being savvy.
Will we as the Body of Christ give up our values just for a win? Will we lie about others just to get a win? NO! One day we will all stand before our Maker. What excuse will we give Him then for our actions? The devil, the Pharisees, and Pilate thought they had won when they crucified our Lord. The greatest loss became our greatest victory as our Lord wrenched the keys of Death, Hell, and the Grave away from the greatest loser of all time. The narrow gate has a price. Choosing to stand on the Lord’s side will test your resolve. Rejection, Betrayal, Loneliness, and Misunderstanding are awaiting any man or woman of God who refuses to compromise with the Matrix. I am glad that Mother Teresa never settled for this worlds values, and I am sure she, like Paul, won her race. She hit the mark of her high calling in Christ Jesus. Don’t let the Matrix set the finish line and outline what a win is for you. Don’t sell your soul, your values and your holy life for a win. Let the Lord count your standing for what is right and true as a win that will give Him praise, honor, and glory for all eternity.
Jesus said “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matt 7:13-14 NKJV
3. Having lots of money (Prosperity) is a sign of success
Affluence in the Matrix is greatly celebrated. We are told that true success can only be found in wealth. The expensive cars, clothes, and homes of the rich and famous are set before us as goals worthy of our virtue. Actually these are really the cheese in the mouse trap of the Matrix. Today the landscape of the rich is littered with divorces, alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, and the carcasses of those they have stepped on to get to the proverbial top. We adore the rich so much we make them celebrities, and we are more than willing to make concessions for them when they “make mistakes.” God forbid we find out that they are also child traffickers who market women and children to pedophiles because then we may not like them so much anymore. In this unseen war we are bombarded daily with the values of the Matrix. What is a Christian to do?
Jesus spoke clearly about this;
13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Love of Money)” Luke 16:13 NKJV
We must realize that any goal that causes us to serve it by controlling our passion and desires is our master, and we are slaves to it. You may say, “I am not a slave!” Then why are you obsessed with that? Why do you run to it, and why do you think about it with every waking breath?
4. The External are more important than the Internals.
What we drive, what we wear, and where we live is how the Matrix measures value. Every time I greet someone under 21, do they look down at my shoes to see what brand and make they are? Then there are the financially broke people who dress up on Sunday with everything but the kitchen sink. Who are we trying to impress? What is this world coming to?
We have also been told that importance is based on the title in front or the letters after your last name. Ignorant “book learned” people walk around flashing their titles, certificates, and resumes like they have arrived, yet they have no people skills. Doctorates and Masters are sold to the masses with promises of a better future while diploma mills get rich on the backs of the poor. We who have lived a few years have learned not to be impressed by these shiny pennies. We have learned to ask questions like how long have they been doing this, what kind of character do they have, and how do they work with others. Tough questions for those that only look good “on paper.” The stuff is about to really hit the fan, and we will see millions of college graduates looking for work in the coming days. Knowledge is not power; controlling the values is power!
5. Young and Famous beats Old and Mature
People flock to hear these overnight success stories. For those under the deception of the Matrix, experience has been given a back seat. No one can deny that this new world has lost respect for the the last generation. When I grew up I was taught to respect my elders. We were not forced to believe every word they said, but God forbid that we would contradict or challenge an elder in public. I always knew that they didn’t understand the present world I lived in, but I knew that what they carried in wisdom would transcend any age.
Even today I consider it an honor to sit at the feet of my elders. I would rather get counsel from an 80 year old man of God who never went to seminary than submit myself to the biblical ignorance coming out of the mouths of these 30-40 year old celebrity preachers with DD (didn’t do it) doctorates. Like falling stars they may shine bright for a while only to burn out because they have no character to maintain the heights of popularity and fame they will achieve.
Jorge Santayana from Spain said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and I say those who will not learn from the mistakes of the last generation will not be prepared to face the coming generation.
Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
Can the Church Prevail Against the Matrix?
Here are some suggestions to prevail in the Matrix.
1. Constantly remind one another of the way of our Lord (by example).
2. Turn off the TV and go for a prayer walk or read a good book.
3. Get off of Facebook. Take Facebook fasts to measure your level of obsession!
4. Choose your friends carefully. The values of the Matrix are contagious!
5. Avoid family members and events that drag you down because of the values they condone.
6. Learn to talk to God 24/7 instead of just reading the Bible or playing Christian music.
7. Make time with Spiritual Fathers and Mothers of the Faith. Christlikeness is contagious too.
It’s getting hot in the kitchen and many I know are praying to get out. “OH, Lord come get us!” It is not happening and that is not the answer! I have seen many men die expecting the Lord to come in their lifetime. I have learned that it is pride to think we are the final generation. This is important because if you think you are about to leave, you don’t invest in future generations. There is much to be done before the Horn sounds. I believe the Church can prevail against the Matrix.
I leave you with these words from the Message Bible;
5 Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. 2 Cor 13:5
The Lord Jesus has prevailed over this world (the Matrix), but unlike the movie, taking the red pill doesn’t automatically detox you forever from the influence of this age. May his Grace and Mercy wake the church up to the forces ruling our minds!
For more information on the forces at play behind the Matrix see http://www.b2egroup.net/main-blog-21st-century-reformation/ A great article written by John Matthews
I want to thank my brother Richard Broadbent from Canada for helping me develop my thoughts since he is an expert on the similarities between Church and the Matrix. I also want to thank Lucia Del Carmen Berengo from Argentina for sharing the quote on the Matrix from Frank Viola’s book Pagan Christianity.http://www.paganchristianity.org/