Christians interpreted the movie "The Matrix" the way we interpret a lot of things. Because of our inexperience, and lack of understanding of what it really means to know God and abide in his love, a lot of us latched onto the most obvious metaphor the movie provided. Neo was supposed to set people free from the pretend world where people were unconscious slaves to the machines. Just like Jesus sets us free from our slavery to sin. And the fact that the "real world" was dark, dingy, full of pain and suffering, hard work, and constant danger, fit very well with a worldview that many Christians hold.
Sin is glamourous, full of color, bright, shiny, just like the pretend world of the matrix. But of course anything that glitters can’t be God, so the real world must be shades of grey and black with striving, and suffering everywhere. But hey, at least we’re not living in that awesome pretend world of sin anymore…
This is a twisted view of reality. The Matrix had it backwards. And a lot of us bought it hook line and sinker.
The reality is this. Sin is not glamourous, it’s not shiny. Sin is dark, it’s miserable, and it eats you from the inside out. Our life without God resembles more of the "real world" of the Matrix. No refuge, no comfort, just a confusing maze of tunnels and robots that like to try and kill us with their long tentacles. OK, so I made up the part about the robots, but really, we need to stop treating sin like "it looks so good but it’s really not". Take a look at someone who’s lived a hard life of sinnin, and see how glamourous they are. And the thing is, sin is not fake. It’s very real, and so is the pain and despair that come along with it. It’s a cursed land, and people who live there are going to have to deal with all that comes along with being separate from God.
So if sin is like the "real world" in the matrix, what does that make life with Jesus like? I have found that in the past 2 years, my life looks more and more like the fake world inside the matrix, except that it’s real. My world is brighter, more joyful, more peaceful, and I can leap from one building to another with a single bound. I honestly think that the colors of nature around me are brighter and more colorful too, but that could just be because I’m finally able to take time to look at them instead of living my life in fast forward always thinking about the next thing I’m going to accomplish.
This metaphor is far from perfect, but I hope that it makes some sense those who read it. Life after death to sin is not supposed to be a constant struggle, a dark world of grime and grease and robots. Rather, Jesus sets us free from a life that looks like that, and opens up the door to constant communion with the Father, and that kind of life is full, overflowing, and abundant. Maybe not always in the physical sense, but what we experience in Him does not have to match what’s going on around us.
If your picture of "the Christian life" has looked more like the Nebuchadnezzar in The Matrix, ask yourself if this is the kind of thing Jesus really died for. Sin separated us from God, and we’ve been miserable ever since. Did Jesus die so we could wake up to a life dirty torn clothes and cold metal beds? Or did he die so that we could wake up into a new world of uninhibited, unconditional love from our Creator?