The main reason that we barter with our bodies for the attention and affection we deeply desire is that we simply don’t trust God for the satisfaction we seek, the provision we need, or the comfort we crave. Why? Because it’s much easier to reach for a “middleman” (or woman). They’re readily available and eager to hold our projection screens while we play our mental movies onto them. God doesn’t seem nearly as easy to access. However, the truth is that He’s more accessible and more eager to meet our needs than any human can be. We’re just too spiritually lazy to look past the middleman and seek the Real Deal.
But there’s a tremendous difference in what a human has to offer and what God has to offer. So many women have discovered this reality the hard way. The possibility of passion and the notion of romance keep us captivated to the core, which is why romance novels and chick flicks are such a booming industry. We fantasize about being wooed and pursued by the perfect man who’s been looking his whole life to find and fulfill a woman just like us — a wonderful, generous, considerate, and compassionate man who will move heaven and earth just to be with us! A man who’ll lay down his life to protect us and provide for us, who’ll bring out the very best in us and take great delight in us even on our worst days!
And why might a woman search the world (and the Internet) to find him? Because we’ve lost sight of the fact that we already have such a Man in our lives! His name is Jesus. No other man could possibly shoulder such burdens and live up to such expectations!
Women are certainly not the only ones in danger of adopting an opposite-sex archetype as a false god. Men are just as guilty, just as prone to this fantasy fallacy that a certain human being can fulfill our deepest longings.
A few years ago, I received an anonymous email from a pastor. He’d just read both Every Man’s Battle and Every Woman’s Battle, and he said he needed to confess his sin to someone who would understand. His fear was that his denominational leaders would certainly not be sympathetic. My guess is he was right. He admitted to having four affairs over the past ten years, all with women in his congregation:
Each time these relationships started in my counseling office, as they bemoan the fact that their husbands aren’t good spiritual leaders. They want men who will pray over them, discuss the Bible with them, draw them closer to God — all things that a pastor focuses his time and energy doing. So, of course, these women have seen me as a “direct connection” to God. I can’t tell you how heady this is for a man to realize that a woman views him in such a way, especially when his wife belittles him at home. It’s jolting . . . humbling . . . overwhelming . . . and yes, intoxicating. I always thought that these needy women were just looking for a man to be Jesus with skin on for them, and I was happy to oblige. But my flesh eventually got in the way every time. What I’ve come to understand is that I wasn’t just their god; they were, in fact, mine.1
Whether we’re male or female, we all must realize that fulfillment isn’t found in another human being, no matter how appealing that other person may be, no matter how soothing and invigorating their presence may feel.
Instead of looking to another, it’s time to correct our compass and look to our Creator instead.
(1) Personal email to the author.