Wednesday, August 07, 2013

if sin can bleed... thoughts on rocky IV part 2

So yesterday, I wrote a little piece after watching Rocky IV, because... well, its my site and I can talk about whatever.  I just thank you for reading...

This is my spiritual take on Rocky IV.  I wrote this in 2002, after a Bible Study, where a girl named Fish taught.  She used this movie as an example, butchering the concept, the names and the dialogue.  So I wrote the following... part of it might be a little redundant, as some of the same thoughts I wrote then I also carry similar opinions on now, but I hope you get my drift...

Anyway... I called it a Rocky Christian Life
One the best the worst the best the most interesting
Cold War'esque opening shots ever
Rocky IV is such a guilty pleasure. Seriously... the movie itself is incredibly cheesy, the plotline is a little thin, the death of icon Apollo Creed, while tragic, was almost deserved. Come on, did he really think he could beat Drago? I mean, Drago probably put an even bigger smack down on him simply because Creed entered to James Brown's "Livin' in America".

Very stereotypical and formulated. Rocky loses his best friend to the big bad Russian Ivan Drago, and then challenges Drago to fight. Do you realize that Ivan Drago has only six lines of intelligible dialogue the entire 112 minutes? (I cannot be defeated... You will lose... I must break you... If he dies he dies... Until the end... and You're dead) We absolutely can't get away from the standard driving fast in the hot sports car at night while Survivor song plays, because this gives us flashbacks to previous Rocky movies so in case you didn't see I-III, you can catch up. Adrian's "You can't win!!!" standard speech. I hated her.
Sidebar: Incidentally, if you only see a single Rocky, catch part III, just for the Clubber Lang/Mr. T. scenario. It doesn't take itself as seriously as I and II which gives that cliffhanger ending (like there is more to come), but doesn’t start down that ridiculous road that over-the-top IV takes you on, which leads to the disaster crap that is Part V.
Sidebar, written today, not in 2002... the song "There's No Easy Way Out", which plays while Rocky speeds through the night... for whatever reason, I always attributed this song to the band "Survivor", as they did "Eye of the Tiger" and "Burning Heart", so why not this one, right?  Its actually a dude named Robert Tepper, and if you look at his Wiki page, you'll see he's done several songs for TV and film, including the theme from the Sly classic "Cobra".  Two things--first, Tepper released his first few albums in the mid-80s, his 3rd in 1996 and his 4th in 2012.  Lots of time between.  Secondly, "Cobra" is important to note because its the film that Sly Stallone did... INSTEAD of Beverly Hills Cop, which was written specifically for Sly.  We see how that worked.  Some dude named Eddie Murphy did BH Cop, I've heard it worked out okay.
Okay, sorry, back to 2002, and "Rocky IV" talk...
Sly Stallone with his Nighthawks beard... wait... what?  Lando Calrissian
AND Rocky Balboa are in this film?!?!  How did I not know this?!?!
One of my favorite parts of IV is when Rocky and Drago finally meet. Leading up to this, you see Ivan Drago doing all these highly technological workout routines, with heart monitors, steroids, in 1985-state-of-the-art bowflex soloflex leg iron pump arm twist weight control thing deal pumper muscle builder machines. And Rocky? He's grown this "Nighthawks"-like beard, he's dragging logs, he's punching walls, he's running up a mountain through the four feet of snow, he's chopping wood, he's pulling Paulie and Adrian (is she actually needed in these? When she changed her mind right before the fight and flew to Russia, I would have had the KGB shoot her plane down... would've made a great subplot) in a wooden card. Russian technology versus good ol' American spirit and heart.

So, in the fight, Drago is pounding away at Rocky, tearing him up. Rocky is doing his dance moves that Apollo Creed taught him in III, when he was going up against Clubber Lang, and of course, demolition man Ivan is just punching away. But suddenly, out of nowhere, Rocky slams his fist into Drago's head... and... and... oh my gosh! He's cut the Russian open! He's cut the Russian open! And there it is... the once invincible Russian is bleeding from a cut to his eye. In the immortal words of Ah-nold in the immortal classic Predator... "If it bleeds... we can kill it".

Have you ever had habitual sins? Just stuff that keeps rearing its ugly head over and over? No matter how many times you go to the cross with it, intending on leaving it there, somehow another you lay everything else down and end up sneaking that sin into your back pocket. When you walk away, it’s with you. You know the routine... you sin, you ask forgiveness and a short time later, you sin the exact same thing. Sometimes in the exact same manner. Be it gossip, lust, anger, pride, jealousy... whatever.

There are so many tried methods of breaking free... journals, books, speakers, conferences, people you consider more godly than thou, lessons, magazines, whatever... some simple, some complicated, of how to break free of that sin.

I think a problem for me is on the road we call God's Will, I tend to stop when I screw up. Instead of accepting God's grace, reveling in the freedom, I stand in my own depravity, guilt ridden, overwhelmed with anger at myself for betraying God. Over and over, yourself you judge, dreading the consequences of your actions. As a friend of mine once said, "When God says 'Arise and go', I say back 'Wait, don't you understand what I've done?'"

So instead of pressing on, driven by a pursuit of Him, I just stop. And that big bad Russian Ivan Drago pounds away at me, uncaring. "If you die... you die". Satan looks at me square in the face, and says, "I must break you". And the slaughter begins. What to do? Do I succumb to the Adrians of the world, and believe the "YOU CAN'T WIN!!" myth, what the secular society tells me everyday?

Or do I keep going? Do I keep training? Training, not by those crazy worldly machines... but by the simplistic methods of prayer, devotion, mediation, study of His Word... and mind you, I'm not training to "be ready to be used by God", I'm training to "be ready when God decides He's going to use me to fight".

"Apollo was like a son to me. I raised him. And when he died, a part of me died too. But now you’re the one... you're the one who has to make sure his death didn’t go for nothing. You're the one. Do it. Do it!"--Duke, Apollo's former coach, who is training Rocky in the cabin in Siberia.

"Christ was a son to me. I raised him. And when he died, your bondage died too. But now, you’re the one. You’re the one who I desire to make his death not in vain. You’re the one. Do it. Do it!" God, talking to you and me, challenging us to move forward.

Suddenly, we realize that Christ didn't die just to give us grace when we sin, he died more so to give us Freedom to not sin. Let me say that again, because that is such a huge statement to make...

Christ died not for grace for sinning, but for Freedom of not sinning.

Isn't that just slap you in the mouth and grab a biscuit amazing? Blows me away just to think about that... let that soak in today. There is daylight at the end of the tunnel, I promise.

When you realize this information, that we don't have to be trapped by sin, that Satan's power over us is nothing, suddenly we can fight back. We can start throwing punches instead of taking them.  

Oh my gosh! He's cut Satan open! He's cut Satan open! Satan is bleeding from a cut above his eye!

Remember... Sin. If it bleeds, you can kill it.

If I can change... you can change... we all can change!!!!

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