The Spiritual Consequences of Escaping to Imaginary Worlds

Schizophrenia => broken + mind

Def’n: divorced from reality
-not equipped / prepared to deal with real life personally
– not able to answer the real life concerns of others

“Love the Lord your God with all your….mind…” Matthew 12:30


1271 dianoia – deep thought; mental faculties, imagination, understanding.
4993 sophroneo – sound mind
3563 nous – intellect (Rom 1:28)
5427 phronema – mental tendency; inclination, purpose
3675 homophron –  one mind
5424 phren (from phrao ) – midriff; by implication, feelings, mind

“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

We are to have the mind of Christ, allowing our mind to be renewed by Him in order to be transformed from this world. Rom 12:2

The possessions of the mind of a worldly person are futility.

Evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Cor 15:33

What we are to think on is expressed in Philippians 4:7-9. Why do many Christians think these qualities sound lame?

Ps 1:1-5 why does this sound like tedium to anyone who claims to be a Christian?

The effect of feeding the mind with imaginary tales:

          • We are drawn out of the ‘real’, and into the unreal. We develop an appetite for the feelings we have when we go there.
          • We are tempted to impose the perspectives and responses of the unreal characters in the stories into real life.
          • We develop desires to live the experiences presented in the stories as if they were our own.
          • We are drawn to idle ourselves in imaginary roles, identities, characteristics.
          • We develop the tendency of submitting the real events of our lives to imaginary musings in which we or others effect unrealistic responses to those things.
          • We come to view the images we consume as normal and normative.
          • Our expectations of others become conditioned by the characters we admire. 
          • Real life becomes boring, because it cannot sustain the excitement level of the imaginary stories we consume. Because of this boredom, the tendency to seek experiences that will replace the excitement we feel when consuming fictional adventures becomes such a driving force that we invest many hours and resources in pursuing the feeling.
          • The senses are dulled to the real world around us. The stories affect what and how we see the material realities and our spirits become disassociated from the moving of the Holy Spirit (referred to in Scripture as ‘the quenching of the Spirit’
          • We develop schizophrenia – the fracturing of the mind. When we are ‘spiritual’, we think, see, and feel as the Lord leads. When we are carnal (natural, of the world) our thoughts, perceptions, and responses diverge from the spiritual, and like James’ ‘double-minded man”, we become unstable in all our ways. (double-minded = di-psuchos – 2-spirited, vacillating)
          • Our view of and understanding of reality become inconsistent and unreliable, we are ‘divorced from reality’.

Most people deny the influence of their entertainment choices upon their attitudes, values, and behaviours, despite the words of God on how we respond to ‘corrupt communication’ and the statistical evidence that clearly demonstrates the correlation between consumed media and attitudes, values, and behaviours. Multiple millions of advertising dollars are spent each year expressly because of this relationship.

We are called to ‘redeem the time because the days are evil’, which makes how we use our time a stewardship issue. Professing Christians waste dozens of hours per week entertaining themselves – movies, books, games, sports, parties. The time slips through our fingers with no profit to ourselves or others, while we are drawn away into imaginary worlds with imaginary heroes doing impossible feats that ultimately accomplish – nothing.

Many ‘Christian’` admit to finding it difficult to spend 20 minutes in prayer, but can passionately debate hockey or party politics for a whole evening. Something is wrong. Reading God’s word is tedious, yet murder mysteries or spy novels are consumed by the half-dozens per week. Arguing the merits of a team, a player, a prime minister, a college prof, or your best friend is routine, but you are insecure and uncomfortable presenting Jesus Christ.

Do you enjoy reading about murder, extortion, adultedo yy, rape, and war? Do swearing, nudity, pointless or graphic violence not bother you? You have no peace when your world is quiet?

You have been moulded by the information you take in, and your values and perception of ‘is’, ‘ought’, and ‘would like’ are being shaped by what you see. If you don’t believe it, you are deceiving yourself.

Where did Jesus go to ‘escape’ the pressures of His life? To prayer. From where did He receive strength and refreshment? His Father. Everything He spoke was according to his Father’s direction. Everything He did was according to the Father’s example. He came to reveal the Father and glorify Him before men. We are to glorify the Son in this world.

Jesus didn’t waste time. He didn’t pursue pointless diversions or spend awhile escaping reality. Everything He did was purposed to show men the Truth. How can we hope to reveal the Son to the world when we insist on living in the lie? It is time to wake up and live what He has called us to live.

You are not your own, you were bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. You are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, nor be conformed to this world, but rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. We are called to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. And we shall all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, to receive the things done in the flesh. [i]

The body of Christ has no right to allow the things of this world to condition our thinking. We are out of fellowship with Christ when we hide ourselves in sin. “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.”[ii] By maintaining an amicable relationship with sin, we betray the Lord who bought us. Our minds become shaped by the prince of this world, the arch-enemy of the King, and we are rendered unfit for His service.

There is a battle in this world for the hearts and minds of men. The ultimate price is eternity. Stop hiding in the fairytales Satan weaves through his servants, and bring every thought captive to Christ.[iii]

“You are the salt of the earth. If the salt has lost its saltiness, it is good for nothing.

“You are the light of the world….if your eye is single, your whole body is full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness….”

[i] 1 Cor 6:19-20; Eph 5:11; Rom 12:2, 1; 2Cor 5:10
[ii] James 4:4
[iii] 2Cor 10:5