What do Wall-E and Christianity have in common?
No, it’s not that they both have a character named Eve. Nor is it that they both address larger social issues on earth.
What they have in common is this: in both, there is a hyperjump to the finish line.
Okay, for those who need a bit of catch-up or refresher, Wall-E is about the adventures of – well, Wall-E – the last waste clean-up robot on earth, set hypothetically in A.D. 2805. It was one of the most thought-provoking yet captivating and entertaining sci-fi animated movies made, considering the minimal amount of dialogue there is in the film.
The storytelling is amazing. The plot is simple, unfolding gradually through the life and viewpoint of Wall-E: humans have trashed the planet (literally), escaped to space in a mega space liner where they live extremely easily and comfortably through practically fully-automated services, sending periodic space probes back to earth to determine if the situation back home has improved enough to support life again, in which case they can then activate a simple process on the space liner to bring them back to earth to start life anew.
This is where Wall-E comes in: He finds a plant on one of his regular work days, saves it, meets the probe Eve and falls in love with her, and presents her with the plant as a gift, which kicks off their journey back to the space liner and quest to get the plant safely into the hands of the captain and inserted into the ship’s holo-detector, that would trigger the return back to earth.
That’s probably my favourite part in the whole movie – the moment the plant is put into the holo-detector port, the ship’s course is immediately reset to earth and in a matter of seconds, a hyperjump is triggered and the ship and all within it is instantaneously transported back to earth.
It doesn’t matter how the plant got in there – whether it was placed gently, poked in, squeezed in, or tossed in – the moment the holo-detector has the plant, the sequence is activated and the hyperjump home occurs.
What’s a hyperjump, you ask? Also known as a jump drive, hyperdrive or warp drive, it’s a science-fictional method of space travel which enables a thing e.g. a spaceship to instantaneously be teleported from one point to another point in space, even if the distance apart is many light years. In other words, you get to your destination immediately, no matter how far away you were from it.
It is a great analogy for what happens when we receive Jesus.
All of us are miracles of God’s creation. We’re built like the space liner, with our bodily functions pretty much fully-automated.
Our body wakes up on its own every morning, our heart pumps 24/7, our body prompts us to eat and drink when needed, digests what we consume and our blood cells transport oxygen and nutrients all over, and prompts us again to go to the toilet to get rid of the waste. Our brain processes information, carries our thoughts, links our memories, and activates our emotions via an intricate network of neurons and synapses of unbelievable complexity.
It is all so seamless and perfectly orchestrated that we hardly ever think about what our body is doing all the time until something goes wrong. Indeed, God has made it so easy for us to live in our bodies that we don’t think twice about it.
And all of us have a Jesus-shaped vacuum within us, like the holo-detector port on the ship. The plant, the life-form that will take us home, is Jesus.
The steps to receiving Jesus are blindingly simple: Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. And He’ll be in you. That’s all there is to it.
There’s no 180-pages of instructions or checklists to fulfil as a prerequisite, no 40-year path of self-mastery to trod alone, nothing. Just follow the simple set steps that God has laid out: say it out loud, believe in your heart. The moment you do that, God sends His Holy Spirit inside you, filling that Jesus-shaped vacuum. And before you know it, the hyperjump is activated, and you are instantly at the finish line, your destination.
What does that mean? The Christian life begins with this word: Finished. Every Christian, once they receive Jesus, starts at the finish line. Jesus’s own Spirit comes and lives inside us, and from that moment on we live in Him, forever.
In Christ, we are made righteous, holy, and perfect, by the power of His blood. Heaven becomes our home, we are made heirs of the cosmos, and we are given every spiritual blessing by the Holy Spirit in the heavenly places.
It means all of heaven’s blessings become ours to enjoy right now, on earth (because we don’t really need blessings in heaven, heaven being a perfect place).
All of God’s promises are “Yes” to us in Christ, received simply by our “Amen”.
What it simply means is this: receive Jesus, receive His everything. His position, His perfect righteousness and holiness, His authority, His power, His peace, His wealth.
That’s what God starts us with the moment we receive His Son. It doesn’t matter how far away removed you were from God, or how you received the Holy Spirit (through hours of prayer or through a simple confession), as long as you confessed with your mouth and believed in your heart as God said. The result would still be the same.
For some reason man finds this very hard to accept. What God has made freely available for all to receive, we want to try our best to earn and merit. We feel like we need to “play our part to God”.
And so well-meaning and sincere ministers turn Christianity into another rigmarole of trying to get to the finish line through encouraging obedience and good works. As a result, many Christians end up living more or less the same lives as non-Christians, trying desperately and impossibly to get to a finish line they don’t realise they are already at.
The only part God wants us to play is this: Let Him do all the work, and let Him have all the glory. Keep planting the truths of His promises in His Word – of our righteousness and possessions in Christ – within us, like the seeds planted by the humans at the end of the movie.
And in time to come, the planted seeds will surely grow and flourish, and we will start bearing the fruit of those seeds and walking not just in obedience and good works, but in abundant victory and blessings that nobody can deny is from God.
Just confess and believe. And let Him.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.