“Fantasies are what got me in trouble.” – Dennis Rader, the BTK killer.
These are the words of a man who murdered 10 people. His violent and evil career began with perverted fantasies that he played out in his mind. I would dare say that most people think of things that are shameful, but their conscience tells them is it wrong and they shrink back from doing the unimaginable. When a person listens to God’s Word, he understands what is right and wrong. As part of putting to death the deeds of the flesh, he puts to death such immoral thinking: “perish the thought.” Rader’s fantasizing began early in his life. One has to wonder why he had nothing in him to put the skids on what he was thinking. Did he have no mother or father to impress him with right thinking? There is a truth here for anyone who is willing to hear it: engaging in immoral fantasizing is a sin that may lead to even worse sin.
Jesus warned that this is where sin begins. Murder starts in the mind and heart (Mt. 5:21,22). Adultery starts in the mind and heart (Mt. 5:27,28). Jesus said, “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” The Gospel of Mark says that it is what comes out of the man that defiles him (Mark 7:20). The Proverb says, “as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Things like anger, hatred, jealousy and lust are at the root of serious sins against God and man. God is concerned with what happens in our minds as much as with our bodies. Concerning sexual fantasizing, He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt. 5:27,28). Lusting in the mind is a sin to be avoided with every ounce of our fiber. Pornography on the internet, in magazines, and on video is not harmless exercise. It is enough that these things are sinful. But it is not likely that the sin will end there, but instead will lead a man to do unimaginable deeds. Fortunately, with God’s help we can think and do what is good.
The way God hardens a heart