Someone once told the story about a town drunkard who was constantly living in defeat and rarely did anyone see him sober. There were only a few times he gave any indications of ever changing and this was always during the community revival meetings. He would verbally agree throughout the message, and when the altar call was given, he would audibly pray a repentant prayer saying, “Oh God!! Forgive me! Cleanse me from all the cobwebs in my mind…” However, this exact scene repeated several years without producing a noticeable change of heart or priorities. The time of annual revival meetings arrived once more, and again, the drunkard rose to respond and cried out, “Oh, God! Remove the cobwebs from my mind!” At that point, another man from the congregation called out, “Oh Father! Forget about the cobwebs….just kill the SPIDER!”
This can be a good picture of some of the messes that are in our lives and how we aren’t always able to identify the actual problem. We may focus on the symptoms without being willing to get rid of the root problem. This drunkard was addicted to his bottle, and he was looking to it for the peace and security that he should have been finding only in God. He wanted to clean up the “cobwebs” without dealing with the “spider.”
I would like for us to compare this “spider” to a misplaced priority or security in our life. This can produce numerous “cobwebs” that can ensnare us and make our lives unattractive to others, as well as miserable for ourselves. We may struggle with questions like, “Why does God allow these hard things to come my way? Why isn’t He answering my prayers? Why do I no longer have purpose or joy in my life?” Each hardship we face may be the result of the “spider,” but we have the tendency to blame God instead.
What are some of the evidences of having misplaced priorities? Although there are various symptoms, only God’s spirit can effectively identify which ones are in your life. I will give a few examples of the ugly “cobwebs” that can be indicators that you are affected by this “spider.”
Do you have the tendency to worry about the future and what will happen if the economy collapses? Maybe you just worry about having enough money to pay your bills… Do you feel a little better about yourself when you finally own the latest iPhone, iPad or other technology? In your opinion, does your social significance improve when you are able to upgrade to a modern, $40,000 SUV replacing your worn-out minivan? Does the size of your house or the status of your neighborhood boost your self confidence or give you a greater sense of value? Do you worry about your future if the economy crashes? Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with the latest styles or fads of clothing or the latest decor for your house?
What priority do you give the relationships that God has blessed you with? Do you struggle to spend quality time with your family? Do they resent your job or ministry because it has a higher priority in your life than God intends for it to? Maybe your children are now grown, and you struggle with having no genuine purpose. Do you feel empty and as if the center of your life has now vanished? The answer to these questions can help to identify whether God needs to cleanse your heart from the sticky “cobwebs” by helping you to chase away the “spider” of misplaced priorities.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning the latest iPhone or computer. It is ONLY when it becomes a misplaced priority and brings a false sense of security, that it becomes sin. In reality, the sin of materialism can affect the poor as well as the rich. You may hardly have anything of monetary value, yet, still be enslaved by the “love of money.” Also, you may be blessed with much wealth and possess a beautiful house, yet, still be one of the godliest and freest people around. This “spider” can bite and infect each of us and is partial to no one.
The “venom” of this “spider” is the belief that money, people, or possessions can bring peace, joy, fulfillment, and significance to you. Do you see how a poor, homeless person can still be affected by this “spider”? Having misplaced priorities is the result of a sinful heart condition and NOT by your financial status.
In 1 Timothy 6:17-19 it says, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to TRUST in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
We usually put our trust in the things that we treasure. This means if we treasure the riches or positions of this world, this is where we have placed our security. If we are worried about money, than we are putting our trust and security in IT rather than in GOD. If we treasure our relationships with others above our relationship with God, we put our security in someone who will let us down or who can be taken from us in a brief moment. After we lose this treasure and our security, we become angry at God for allowing it to happen. I believe God is simply saying, “I want you to find your security in ME, since I am the ONLY ONE who will always be there for you. I know you will never experience the genuine joy, matchless peace and fulfillment
that I intend for you to experience any other way. My plans are not to harm you but to gently lead you to a bright and glorious future. Please find your treasure and security in ME and TRUST ME.”
Have you been able to see “cobwebs” and other messes in your life? Have you, like me, tried in your own strength to sweep up the web rather than killing the “spider” that has been actively attempting to get you tangled up in its trap? Don’t be like the town drunk who seemed sincere but, in reality, wasn’t willing to deal with the sinful issue that was in his heart. Kill the “Spider!”
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)