The Web

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith… 1 Peter 5:8

As spider webs go, it was spectacular – elegant in its construction and beautiful in its symmetry. The silk formed a perfect, dizzyingly tight spiral radiating out from the center, each concentric circle intersecting the spun spokes anchoring the impressive construction to the exterior frame of the rather large window. It was truly a marvel of engineering.

The weaver, herself a marvel, was nowhere in sight, tucked away in the shadow at the corner of the window frame, waiting patiently for just the right vibration on a gossamer strand of the lethal lattice.

Interestingly – and key to its deceptively benign function – the web all but disappeared in the afternoon sunlight, leaving nothing but the reflection behind it of the trees and shrubs surrounding the house in the window glass. If one were not paying attention, one could easily dive headlong into the viscid clutches of the fine-spun thread…

The dragonfly darted through the trees, performing aerial maneuvers sure to shame the most accomplished pilot, as much a virtuoso of flight as the weaver was at creating a web. It lit, seemingly weightless, on the tip of a tussock grass plume, lacey wings spread wide, its prismatic body shimmering against the bluish-green stalk. After a moment’s rest, it took flight again, continuing its tour of the yard.

It eventually veered in the direction of the house, straight toward the window, stopping a few inches from the glass. It hovered there for a few seconds, its beating wings a blur as it hung in mid-air. Maybe it saw the alluring reflection of, as yet, more unexplored trees; maybe it saw a reflection of itself and decided to investigate the intruder. Whatever the reason, it suddenly awakened from its suspended reverie, made an imperceptible adjustment to the bearing of its wings, and dove toward the window.

It never made it, blocked by the orb weaver’s pièce de résistance, caught in the grips of the curiously strong silk. It struggled with all its might, one wing flapping furiously but futilely, the other welded tightly to the deadly network.

But its struggle was short-lived. The reticent weaver sprung from her hiding place and scurried swiftly and deftly across her delicate, but deadly, den. Soon, there was no movement from the dragonfly…

• • •

I actually watched this fascinating and equally disturbing horror show take place from the other side of the window. (I left out the gruesome details– you’re welcome.) It was a spider-sized illustration of Peter’s “roaring lion” from his first letter (5:8). True to her nature, the spider didn’t hesitate to incapacitate and take advantage of her prey. What’s important to keep in mind, though, is that she had no evil intent – a gal’s gotta eat, you know? And when a nutritious dragonfly delivers itself right to your doorstep… Well, you would have, too.

However, the equally dangerous and even more cleverly disguised traps we non-dragonflies face daily – traps laid not by an orb weaver but by the father of lies – are woven by one whose intentions are most definitely evil. Because here’s the thing – unlike the spider, Satan isn’t interested in us; we’re just pawns in his war against God. Anyone he can draw away from living his or her life fully for the Lord is – to borrow a phrase from an equally exploitative, emotionless, and selfish act – just another notch on his bedpost.

Unlike the dragonfly, we’re made in the image of God with a complex brain that possesses an inherent awareness of Him and His definition of right and wrong. In fact, to answer that age-old question, “What about the member of that tribe in the remotest jungle who has never heard of God or Jesus or read the Bible? Are they accountable for the condition of their soul?” Paul said that…

what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20 NIV (Bolded text here and in the next several verses is by me.)

Later on in that same letter he expanded on that idea …

Gentiles [any non-Jews], who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law…they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. Romans 2:14-15

So we – all of us, no matter where we live – know what sin is and what the potential traps are. I hesitate to try and make any sort of comprehensive list of those traps, but they can range from the allure of sexual imagery (impurity), putting our hopes in something or someone more than God (idolatry), wishing we looked like someone else or had their house/car/job (coveting), or being consumed with and solely dependent on ourselves and our own abilities (pride). You know what your traps are. You also know how to avoid them.

Likewise, we aren’t helpless against the trap-weaver and are able to repel his influence. The late Flip Wilson, famous for his comedy skits, made popular his trademark phrase, “The devil made me do it.” Although Mr. Wilson played this for laughs, Jesus’ brother, James – with no hint of humor whatsoever – dispels that myth, insisting instead that the devil can’t make us do anything we don’t want to do, writing, simply…

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NIV

Actually, that whole passage, written in the über-hip and contemporary language of the Message Bible translation (MSG) says it like this:

You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud “no” to the Devil and watch him scamper. [or “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”] Say a quiet “yes” to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. James 4:4-10 MSG

Just say “no,” dude…

By the power of the Holy Spirit – and that is some serious power – we can resist any sinful influence or temptation Satan puts in our path. If we don’t, though, we might end up like that dragonfly, caught in a web we can’t get free from.

Yell a loud “no” to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet “yes” to God and he’ll be there in no time…

And “he” will and “He” will…

• • •

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3 thoughts on “The Web

  1. This writing is “full” of wisdom and great application in relationship to God’s word. Thank-you for sharing what God has placed on your heart.

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