4 minute read

The Lies of Lust: Fantasies That Won’t Satisfy

Last Updated: August 20, 2019

Noah Filipiak

Noah Filipiak is a pastor and the author of Beyond the Battle: A Man's Guide to his Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World (Zondervan)He also hosts The Flip Side Podcast. If you desire to be free from lust, porn, and fantasy, you can join Noah and his team in an online small group at Beyond the Battle, or get the leader guide to run your own group.

The Lust Trap is a web of lies. Lies that we believe. Lies that make promises that never deliver. This three part series tackles three of these lies head on and provides each truth needed to break free from the trap.

I’ve already addressed Lie #1: This man or woman will make me feel whole and valuable.

Now, I want to give a response to Lie #2.

Lie: What I’m seeing and feeling is real.

When you think about all traps, the foundational lie that they sell is getting you to believe something is real that really isn’t. You’ve probably bought products you later regretted because the reality didn’t match what was promised by the advertisement.

Real estate in Florida is a classic example of this. The buyer assumes they are receiving a great deal for a beautiful piece of land in the sunshine, only to find out later that it’s swampland and cannot even be built on.

The Proverbs 7 examples of animal traps would also match this, but in a deadly way. You put some bait in the trap, and the animal walks in thinking it’s going to get a delicious meal. The delicious meal is the animal’s perceived reality. The cheese or peanut butter or chunk of meat looks and feels so real. In some ways, it is real. But, it’s a good thing placed in a destructive context. The true, ultimate reality (and the only reality that actually matters) is death and destruction for this animal.

“…like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.” Proverbs 7:23

The bird would have never entered the snare if it knew it would die! A lot of us who struggle with lust know this truth, yet continue to fall into its trap.

There are several ways these lustful fantasies play out:

  • One is with pornography. The rush of porn feels good, like we’re on top of the world: comfort, acceptance, value, and physical stimulation. For a moment.
  • Another is with lust. These are looks filled with sexual longing, typically directed at someone’s body parts. Dehumanizing this person into a set of body parts that exist for your consumption.
  • The close cousin to lustful looks is the mental fantasy. Mental fantasy can be purely physical, or it can go a step further and create a world where you and this other person are really together. You imagine what an affair or one-night stand with this person would really be like. You might even begin to hope or plan that it happens.

Truth: Reality is all you have. Invest in it.

All of these fantasies feel real.

But the truth is, none of them are.

Pixels are not people.

People are not objects.

Sexual escapades outside of marriage have disastrous consequences.

One of the greatest motivations to turn away from lust is to simply state out loud that it isn’t real.

The opposite of life is fantasy. If I eat fantasy food instead of real food, I’ll die. If I breath fantasy air, I’ll suffocate. The more I invest in fantasy, the worse my reality gets.

Related: Lust, Fantasies, and God’s Riches for Needy Souls

I can’t guarantee that if you invest in your reality, it will get better. But I can promise you with a full, absolute guarantee that if you want your reality to get worse, all you need to do is indulge in fantasy. Fantasy will always starve out your reality.

On the flip side, while it’s not a guarantee that all your dreams will come true, chances are investing in your reality will improve it.

If I want to invest in reality, I will treat women (or men) with dignity and respect as whole people, created in God’s image. If I’m married, I will invest in my spouse and marriage, despite my circumstances. If I’m single, I will intentionally fill my life with community and relationships and use my energy and free time to impact the world for good.

The grass always seems greener on the other side, because that’s where we are watering it. Water the grass God has given you and see what happens.

We spend most of our time wanting things we don’t have. We’ll even take this to God, demanding that He isn’t living up to His end of the bargain by providing us with what we want. All this does is suck the life out of our reality.

There’s no way you can live in gratitude and appreciation for what you have if you are always wishing you had more.

We really have two choices.

One is to live in the reality that we have received God’s mercy, a gift we definitely do not deserve. A gift that will fill us with joy and thanksgiving if we let it. A gift that will fill us up to overflowing. In this choice, our marriage or singleness is our reality.

There will be enticing bits of cheese and peanut butter sitting in the fowler’s snare, begging us to come get it. Doing its best to convince us that we can live the best of both worlds. That we can live in God’s true reality and in the quick escapes of fantasy.

In choice #1, we train ourselves to reject what isn’t real. We lose our desire for fake food and fake air and fake real estate, no matter how good it looks on paper. We cling to what is real, and we rejoice in it.

Choice #2 is to follow our desires into the falsehood of fantasy. This choice, of course, takes us into the snare of lies. We swallow up the choice morsel, little knowing it will cost us our life.

Unlike the bird darting into the snare, we have a Savior who continues to rescue us and give us new life. If you fall into the snare again, don’t give up hope. You aren’t dead. You can do better. God can do best.

Speak truth to the lies of the Lust Trap. Its biggest weakness is that it isn’t real. Take a big, deep breath of real oxygen. Call out lust for not being real; invest in what is.

Related: It’s Time to Declare War on Lust