I hate spider webs. I know they serve a great purpose for catching/reducing flying insects, but after all these years, I still grumble when walking into one. Interestingly, the Devil operates much the same way by building webs across the walking paths of our lives. Like a spider, the method never changes. Even though the anchor points of the web change with the times, the primary component of the webbing continues to be the same thing. What is that one thing you ask? Well, based on scripture, history, and current events, it’s dishonesty. Lies, half-truths, misrepresentations, distortions, false narratives, and denials all still work. For example, Acts chapter 16 describes when Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison, all because of lies meant to juice up the crowd to demand violent punishment. What was their crime? Casting out a demon. For that they were described as trouble-makers and insurrectionist against Rome.
It should come as no surprise then to us if our spiritual enemy uses the same tactics. While it’s true that temptation derails many, dishonesty is the basic DNA and building block. It always promises more than it delivers and costs more than suggested. In the cultural shift we are currently witnessing, dishonesty is the foundation to rewrite history, redefine rights, criminalize certain kinds of speech, crush dissenting views, and to achieve false moral authority. So where does that leave us? Well, based on Acts 16, here are a few thoughts as the dishonesty grows around us:
- Jesus said lying is Satan’s natural language (John 8:44). We must be wise by walking in the Spirit to discern them and teach our children the same. Like the web of a spider, there is a method to the enemy’s process. Each strand of deceit is connected to another and only the sword of truth effectively cuts through them (the same way Jesus responded in the wilderness).
- Our reactions to the challenges matter. Instead of anger (which would have been quite natural), Paul and Silas sang praises as the earthquake suddenly broke open the jail. As they praised, many were listening and it set up a moment to speak a message of truth to the jailer and his family who all placed faith in Christ that very night. A general disposition of peace can speak volumes to others and set up divine appointments.
- “Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10). Often, timing is everything. Paul and Silas weren’t fearfully passive, but they challenged their arrest and unjust treatment at the right time. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit they later declared their Roman citizenship which brought their immediate release. Choosing words wisely and waiting for an opportune moment can put us in position for the most kingdom benefit. In their case, it strengthened the new believers in Philippi by highlighting something that could work in their favor…the rule of law. “Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might!”