Pastor Al, the late-night parson, answers again...
"Come Into My Parlor"
Posted: 26 September 2008
Have you ever walked outside on a summer morning and found a dew encrusted spider web glistening in the sunlight? It's a beautiful sight, unless you are a fly.
I was looking at such a web one time when a fly landed on it. At first it did not move. Moments later it shook itself and tried to fly off.
Meanwhile, at the center of the web a spider detected the vibrations caused by the fly's movements. Within seconds it determined which part of the web was shaking and was racing toward it's prey.
Sometimes a fly will break free and buzz off before the spider gets there. If not the spider will quickly begin wrapping the struggling fly with a thick strands of web before subduing it with a venomous bite.
It reminds me of the old rhyme, "Come into my parlor, said the spider to the flyÖ"
Satan is a lot like the spider sitting in the middle of web. Patiently he waits, alert to the slightest tremor in any one of the many strands radiating out from him. Waiting for an unsuspecting fly to become ensnared.
The dew-encrusted web is a masterpiece of ingenuity and engineering. It glitters and shimmers in the morning sun as if woven from diamond strands. Beautiful, enticing, deadly.
The strands of the web have names, too. Names like fame, fortune, pleasure, money, drugs, power, occult, immorality, pornography, rebellion, new age, violence, religion, and many more. All spun by the spider at the center.
Tempted by its beauty, we fly ever closer until ensnared. Unfortunately, unlike the fly, we do not always realize the danger we are in. Instead of struggling to get free, we grab hold of the deadly strands, further entangling ourselves in the sticky mesh.
It doesn't matter which strand we land on. The vibrations announcing our arrival are transmitted back to the devil at the center who rushes to investigate. Quickly he works to spin thick strands of web around us, often with our own cooperation, until we are unable to escape. And finally, at the end, he administers the fatal bite to his helpless prey.
It is a perfect illustration of James 1:14-15: "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
Let me explain by way of example. Joe starts a new job. Anxious to fit in he willingly accepts an invitation to stop off for a few beers after work with the guys, even though he does not drink. He succumbs to peer pressure and has a couple of beers. The web quivers.
The weekend comes and the guys invite Joe to a party. Pleased to be included, Joe heads off to the party. Later that night and several beers later he realizes the time and manages to make his way home without any problems. The web quivers some more.
Joe, like the fly, has landed on the web. He has attracted the spider's attention. Will he become an alcoholic? Maybe, maybe not. But, having landed and attracted the devil's attention, the longer he stays there and the more he grabs hold, the greater the likelihood that the devil will enmesh Joe in a web of drunkenness and related sins.
As the old Jewish adage says, "Evil concupiscence [sin] is at the beginning like the thread of a spider's web; afterwards it is like a cart rope."
Here's another example. Mary transfers to a new high school in a more affluent neighborhood. Awkward, shy, and a little intimidated by the kids at school, she retreats into her own fantasy world of romance and adventure, divorcing herself from the reality of her everyday mundane existence. The web quivers.
One day Mary chances upon an advertisement inviting her to discover her true potential and unleash the hidden psychic power within her own mind, gaining all the power, wealth, and love she has dreamed about. She quickly sends off for the free book. The web quivers some more.
Mary, like the fly, has landed on the web. She has attracted the spider's attention. Will she be ensnared in the occult or the new age? Again, maybe, maybe not. But, having landed and attracted the devil's attention, the longer she stays there and the more strands she grabs hold of, the more likely it is that the devil will wrap Mary in a web of occultism, witchcraft, and related sins.
Mary has fallen into the trap that Paul warns of in 1 Timothy 6:9: "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."
Of course, neither Mary or Joe would become ensnared if they never landed on the spider's web in the first place. It is always better to avoid and resist temptation than to deal with the consequences of sin.
The problem is, temptations are usually presented in attractive wrappings. The pleasures of sin, rather than the wages of sin are glorified. After all, how many beer commercials feature unattractive men and women hugging toilet bowls in a grimy restroom, their bodies wasted from booze and drugs? How many paranoid schizophrenics living in constant fear and torment are trotted by the psychic promoters?
No wonder Job remarked, "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? (Job 31:1)". And, for the same reason, Paul admonished Timothy to "[f]lee also youthful lusts (2Timothy:22)" and Titus to "avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law (Titus 3:9)".
In all actuality however, without Jesus Christ in our lives we are all bound to be caught in one of Satan's webs sooner or later. And even if by some miracle we manage to avoid his many webs, we will never escape the one he has waiting for us at death's door.
That final web is devil's most successful. Multiplied millions have sought through good works, rigorous self-control, discipline, and clean moral living to avoid Satan's snares only to find out in the end that those were very strands enveloping them in that final web as the devil scurries in for one last venomous bite to ensure that they pass into a Christ-less eternity.
Only Jesus Christ can enable us to avoid that final web. Through His death and resurrection Jesus cut through the devil's webs and opened the door of salvation for us. Not only has He opened the door, He will carry all who call on His name through it.
Through Jesus Christ we can say: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)".
However, even when we have trusted Jesus as our Savior we are still in danger of becoming entangled in the devil's webs. Hence the caution in Galatians 5:1 to, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
We should no longer desire the things that the devil uses to tempt and ensnare us. As Paul says in Galatians 4:9: "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"
Instead, our desire ought to be to "...preach the gospel to the poor; ...to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)". Remembering that "...the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26)".
Something to consider the next time the devil invites you into his parlor.