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Welcome to Southwest At the Movies! Throughout the remainder of July, we will be examining recently released summer movies and examining some of the cultural themes that these summer movies expose and look at a Biblical response. We are going to begin this four week series with Despicable Me 3! And what is not to love with 80’s music, hairstyles, rubic cubes, and cool animation!
If you don’t know the story of the first movie entitled Despicable Me (spoiler alert for a 2010 movie), Gru is this villain who ends up adopting three girls from an orphanage and as result of their pure love and devotion for him…he is transformed into a new person! I couldn’t help but think about the parallel of Gru’s transformation…and the transformation that we can experience in a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Let’s look a little more closely at this guy named Gru and … Remember the Old Gru
In the opening preview of the movie, we see a quick flash back to the old Gru when he body slammed another vehicle into a building. Not a good guy … likewise earlier in the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul, who was the writer of this book of the Bible said that it is important for us to all remember the old self.
Listen to these words …
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much … Ephesians 2:1-4 NLT
As we honestly unpack Ephesians 2 in verse 3, we see this absolute statement by Paul: “All of us used to live that way …” As I researched this word “all,” I discovered it means … “Everyone.” For us to really appreciate the love of Christ, we have to wrestle with this word “all.” As the text says later in vs. 3 … By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. We also have to wrestle with the old Self … we have to all wrestle in each or our lives and in each of our pasts (and possibly some still in the present) … that we all have a Despicable Me!
This passage and others like it don’t say that we were in a spiritual coma before coming to know Christ’s love … it says that we were spiritually dead … and yet in spite of all this Christ was willing to die us to make us alive in Christ. As we keep reading in Ephesians 2, this is the radical transformation that we are taught to experience and to…Put on the New Gru (new self!)
Let’s keep reading later in Ephesians as it is recorded this way …
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20-24 NIV
One of the things that I appreciated about the Movies in the Despicable Me series, it shows the real struggle that Gru has to put off the old Gru and to put on the new Gru … just like we have to honestly admit we have difficult putting off the old self and to put on the new self! Now are we doing these things to deserve God’s love or grace? … “NO!” We are responding this way because of God’s love. We are putting on the new self so that we can imitate the God that has rescued us from our spiritually dead state!