This is the second of four articles in our "Fantasy Island Series III” which explores reality and its relationship to fantasy. In this article, we want to discuss the dangers of living a double life and how this fantasy destroys lives. We are going to take a closer look at the emotional aspects of fantasy. We are also going to discuss God’s will for men like you who want to grow in maturity, truth and reality, versus Satan’s plan to replace your reality with his fantasy, escapism and unreality.
I want us to look at the first relationship that fantasy impacts: your relationship with God.
If you have a Bible available on your phone, tablet or shelf, I want you to turn to Isaiah 65. As you are heading there, I want to remind us all how we are supposed to love God. Jesus says: “You shall love your God with all your heart, with all your soul and your entire mind.”
God talks about the inner workings of your mind and how that impacts your relationship with Him in here Isaiah 65.
Let’s look at Isaiah 65:2. God is talking to His people and says this:
“All day long, I have held out my hands to an obstinate people who walk in ways not good pursuing their own imaginations.”
Do you see what God is saying there?
This is the first aspect of your relationship with God that fantasy impacts.
Say this with me out loud: desensitizes, disappoints, disconnects.
When you pursue a life of unreality, a life of fantasy on even the smallest level like — “Boy, I wonder what it would be like to be with her” — all the way over to pursuing cyber-stuff, all the way over to emotional and physical affairs. That all involves this thing called vain imaginations.
When we look at fantasy it impacts God in this first area. It DESENSITIZES you to God. To say yes to fantasy, a man must say no to God. To pursue those things that intuitively and spiritually you know are looking to another source to meet your need other than God, you have to say yes to fantasy; you have to say no to God.
Think about this, think on the vast scale of fantasy and how Satan loves fantasy’s impact in our world. Over $54 billion spent on fantasy. There are over 250,000 pornographic websites. There are over 300 new websites hitting the market every single day.
If you are Satan, you are saying: I love fantasy and pornography. I love any pursuit that get’s some guy spinning off on unreality because it desensitizes that person to God. They have to say no to God to say yes to fantasy.
In Isaiah 66:18, look at God’s response. Look at how God feels on the inside.
“And I, because of their actions, and their imaginations, I am about to gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory.”
He says, here I am, in all my glory, and all my love for you, and you are pursuing this course of unreality and fantasy and imagination. Imagination is not a bad thing; creativity is not a bad thing. God’s a creative person and full of intellect and emotions, will and creativity, and you are made in His image.
When someone you love looks to some other source to meet their need, other than you, and you want to provide their deepest needs, it kind of hurts you on the inside. Doesn’t it, especially when you love that person? Someone who doesn’t want you to meet their needs, someone who is pursuing a relationship outside of you, when you really want the relationship: that hurts.
God is saying when you pursue vain imaginations, it impacts your relationship with Him. It motivates Him to want to bring you back around, but if you won’t do it willingly, he’s going to bring a strong dose of reality.
Trust me, I get hundreds of emails from men who pursue fantasy. Because they won’t come back to God and turn to Him as their source to meet their needs, God gives them a strong dose of reality which bounces them back toward Him and toward people.
Number one in your relationship with God is that fantasy desensitizes you to God.
Secondly, fantasy DISAPPOINTS God. When you are going to a source to meet needs that God wants to meet, obviously that disappoints Him.
In Matthew 11:28, you can see the heart of Jesus when it comes to all your needs. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Fantasy is about relief, rest, escape and unburdening. There are real burdens in life. We know that, and we have to accept it.
Jesus said that’s what happens in life: “Take courage, I have overcome the world.” He’s accessible now. That’s what’s great about being a Christian and being part of the Kingdom of God.
The good news of the Gospel is the presence and availability of life in the Kingdom of God, with Jesus — both now and forevermore. It’s not just some future event. It’s available to you now.
When Jesus says come to me when you are weary, come to me when you are burdened, and I will give you rest, He knows that either you will come to Him or you will go to something else for rest, relief and escape.
NOW PLAYING: a spiritual battle. Satan is right there saying: You don’t need to turn to God for rest and comfort, relief, assurance, love and escape for your unburdening. Come over here and unburden yourself. Satan knows exactly when to strike.
Some of you are reading this right now, and you’re isolated, you’re lonely; your trial has been prolonged. You have deep emotional needs. There are issues in your life that are creating inner conflicts that you would just as soon escape.
The reality is that you can’t escape them. You can’t run away from reality. You have two choices: You can turn to God, to His person, His promises and His plan and by faith trust in and rely on Him and watch Him restore and renew you, or you can go for the quick fix.
Turn to God or turn to the quick fix.
Boy’s turn to quick fixes, men face reality. They engage it and encounter it. God is obviously disappointed that you are turning to something else to meet your needs rather than Him and His plan. He knows that you want to feel unburdened and to feel significant, loved, deeply known.
The reality is that only one thing is going to satisfy that: eternal love.
In Romans 8:37-39, we see God’s offer and why He is so disappointed. “Know in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s love is for you is a sure thing. Can you accept that? It is there 24/7/365.
If you doubt that at all, take a long hard stare at the cross. If you doubt that God loves you, if you doubt that His love can redeem anything that is happening in your life, if you doubt His commitment to you, then you need to take a little visit to the cross of Calvary and stare at His love.
That’s why we have communion. It’s something we are not to forget, but you know fantasy makes you forget that stuff. God never forgets it. Of course it’s disappointing to God when you pursue fantasy relationships.
It’s disappointing to us when we put out love and then it’s rejected.
Has that happened to you? You put out the energy, the commitment and the sacrifice, and then they blew you off. Wow! You say to yourself: Really, after that?
That’s how God feels too. God is person and I think that’s where fantasy wars against your relationship with God. You have to devalue a person and what they have done in order to pursue another source or another person.
Fantasy desensitizes you in your relationship to God; fantasy disappoints God.
Third, fantasy DISCONNECTS you from God.
In Ephesians 4:18, the Bible talks about when we have darkened understandings. Imagine pulling the curtains closed and creating total darkness in a room. When it’s totally dark, do you walk freely or stumble into things? You hit things. You fall over. You stumble.
The Bible says when your understanding gets dark, you are separated from the light in your understanding. This means you are separated from God because Jesus said: “I am the light of the world.” He makes things visible. He makes things clear. He gives insight and understanding so that so you can do life the way you were created to do it.
Ephesians 4:18 says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the light of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”
Now we have come full circle. Now we are back to the desensitization. To say yes to fantasy, you have to say no to God. You have to harden your heart against the plans and purposes of God. When you do that, there is an obvious distancing in the relationship; obviously there is a disappointment on God’s side. There’s knowledge that you know that you are hurting that relationship. Because of your darkened understanding you are disconnected from the light, you are not illuminated, and when that happens it separates you from the life of God.
WatchFantasy Island - Part III where men’s expert and pastor Kenny Luck helps you learn to own God’s gift of sex for yourself.”
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Kenny Luck is the founder of Every Man Ministries and the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church. His 20th book – SLEEPING GIANT: No Movement of God without Men of God - is the proven blueprint for men’s ministries, and was recently released through B&H Publishing. Watch and read more of Kenny’s teaching here at EveryManMinistries.com.