A few weeks ago, after returning from a ten day trip that combined family visits with a speaking engagement, I was exercising on the porch steps and happened to look at the screen door. Maybe because I was concentrating on my repetitious step routine instead of simply going in and out, I saw a thick layer of cobwebs wrapped around the automatic door closer. I looked a little higher and more hung from the hinges. Yet a little higher and both corners were strung with white.
These were not small cobwebs. They were several inches in diameter and so thick the black metal door looked as if someone had splashed white paint on it. This is what I’m saying: they were easy to see and had been there quite awhile yet I had missed seeing them.
Here’s a question for you. If cobwebs were dangerous in some way, poisonous perhaps, which would be the most dangerous, the ones you can’t see, or the ones you can?
Let me make that a little easier for you. Those cobwebs that Keith gets down for me? Before he retired I might not have seen them, but I knew they were there—cobwebs always hang from the ceiling. When any special company was on the calendar, I always got the broom and brushed them down myself. I knew where to brush whether I could see them there or not. The cobwebs that hang all over the screen door as clear as day? Those I never see because I never look for them.
When we raised our boys we taught them several ways to avoid poisonous snakes. One was to stay away from places they could hide, like wood piles and thick brush. We also taught them to look for odd shapes and movement in the grass—the only way to see past their natural camouflage. But on a cold sunny day, those things won’t be in some dark place, they’ll be right out in the open, basking on a sun-warmed rock or lying in the sun-baked field. Which ones do you think are the hardest to see, simply because you aren’t looking for them?
Now think about the dangers in your spiritual life. Which temptations are the most perilous, the ones you know to look for or the ones you don’t bother to look for? Which of your faults are the most dangerous? The ones you are trying to work on, or the ones you refuse to see?
What’s the moral of the story? Always be looking. Don’t fool yourself with that psychological trick called denial. It won’t make the snakes disappear. It won’t make the poison less venomous. You have an enemy who isn’t stupid. He has great camouflage. Sometimes he looks like a friend, sometimes he looks like a blessing, sometimes he even looks like you.
Do a daily character exam. Look for the cobwebs in your soul. Look where you see them and where you don’t. Or get someone with better eyesight to do it for you, and then listen to them. “That’s just how I am,” may be the biggest lie anyone ever got you to believe. Blindness is not an excuse for sin.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds, 2 Cor 11:13,14.