One of my favourite parts of the cinema outing is the atmospheric build up before the actual film begins. The advertising and previews captivate the audience with evocative images, dramatic music and a subtle link to everyday life that draws you in.
I went to watch a film recently and found myself being enticed along where they wanted to take me. I got emotionally hooked in and my mind followed, transporting me to a place of unreality. For forty five seconds I explored a different life and forgot all about the real world. Then the next clip came on and I dived into another world. By the time the film started I had basically been everything I’d ever dreamed of being, forgotten about my limitations, and felt invincible.
The truth though was I was in a place of vulnerability and without recognising it I was primed to be sucked into the world that was about to be presented to me for the next couple of hours during the film. Cinema can be an entertaining and relaxing experience. But with the wonderful advances of 3D, high resolution, surround sound and all the other technological facets of media these days it’s hard to escape the all-engrossing nature of this entertainment. Our senses are so bombarded that we sometimes forget reality altogether.
We present ourselves vulnerable, ready to be taken on an emotional journey away from our regular existence, leaving our normal world, with its difficulties, behind. We like the feeling that comes when we imagine ourselves in the place of the hero or heroine, with their beautiful life. We want the action, adventure, romance and happy endings on offer through the screen. Harmless entertainment can easily become escapism if we let it.
The enemy will try and rob us of true life. John knew this and that’s why he reminded us that God wants what is best for us - life in all its fullness: ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John 10:10).
How many of us have believed that what we can imagine is better than the real life we have? That if only we could write the script for our own life it would be better. We can easily get caught up in daydreaming about how it could all be better, if only.
As it says in Hebrews, it takes faith to be certain of what we don’t see. I suspect that if we saw heaven in 3D, high resolution, and with the angels singing in surround sound, we’d have mountains of faith. Do you daydream of heaven? Do you imagine your life singing with the angels? Do you picture yourself living for eternity full of joy, love, and peace? Can you picture a place where there’s no more pain, anger, stress, hardship, loneliness or fear? This isn’t fantasy; this isn’t replacing reality with a distant dream of a better life. This is reality; this is the promise for those who have faith to believe that Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for retreating to unreality when given the chance, and for sometimes believing that a fantasy world would be better than the reality of the life You’ve blessed me with. I know You’re the only Creator and the giver of life. I want the life You’ve given me, in all its fullness. Thank You, Lord, that heaven is reality and there’s a place reserved for me. I choose now, heavenly Father, not to leave reality behind, and not to allow the enemy to take anything away from this life you’ve given me. I set my eyes not on earthly dreams, but on heaven. Amen.
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