My wife told me about “a weird dream” that she had last night. She explained that we were “in our bedroom but it wasn’t ours, it was somewhere else” and she said there was “this huge spider web hanging from the ceiling fan, with a huge spider on it” but that I wouldn’t let her kill it “because the web was so beautiful”.
As a recurring temptation, I deal with lust. I deal with situations and circumstances that seemingly are an open invitation to step into “bedrooms that aren’t mine” — sometimes they are very real invitations where a woman is flirting with the idea of some kind of romantic interaction, and sometimes it is just a fantastic temptation that may just be in my mind and nowhere else.
I used to love these types of fantasies, not even as “guilty secrets”, but as opportunities that I would intentionally seek out to make a reality of infidelity, and that I would also use as reoccurring fantasies to stimulate my mind and body. Even though I knew on some level that it was wrong, it just “felt so right” that I didn’t care about right and wrong, and I found ways to justify this behavior. Let’s call it what it is, justifying sinful behavior.
And this justification of sinful behavior didn’t just affect me, but it clearly impacted others through my actions. It affected marriages, it caused unnatural ties between me and ladies who should have only had those ties with their rightful husband. It even drew me into relationships where sex was the centrally unifying component, which were doomed to fail.
And even my thoughts, my fantasy life, impacted others — even when I wasn’t acting upon them with outward actions — because my heart wasn’t right towards God and towards those I should have been loving and serving. I was only interested in my own enjoyment and pleasure. I would even lie to myself saying that I enjoyed pleasing “them”, but even that was a source of fulfillment for myself as I could be “proud” of my ability to woo, to captivate, to enthrall, to excite, to fulfill, through things these ladies should only be sharing with their husbands. So opportunities for real love and service and ministry were missed, and opportunities for growth and character and integrity were missed. So even my sinful “thought life” had a “real cost” even when I wasn’t “acting” upon my temptations — because I wasn’t resisting, I wasn’t letting them be killed, instead I was getting comfortable and familiar with these beautiful demons that I didn’t mind letting hang around.
As I think about recent temptations, I wonder if I have not confessed them to my wife often enough to join with her in prayer and see these things killed? I say that I wonder, but even that is a lie — I know that I haven’t been eager enough to see them killed and their beautiful webs removed from my mind.
Spiders craft beautiful webs, but the purpose is to trap, to ensnare, to kill. There is another that sets traps to ensnare and to kill.
I look to you for help, O Sovereign Lord . You are my refuge; don’t let them kill me. Keep me from the traps they have set for me, from the snares of those who do wrong. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, but let me escape.
Psalms 141:8-10 NLT
My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it. So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house! If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.” Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
Proverbs 5:1-23 NLT
I’ve spent too much of my life being foolishly led away into captivity to my desires. I want the spider killed.
“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand —causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Matthew 5:27-30 NLT
I’ve committed way too much adultery in my life and in my heart, and I’m ready to be free from that captivity. I’ve seen the cost of laying down with Bathsheba like David did, and it is only curses and death and cost in the end. I don’t wish that all you other women were cursed to be ugly, and I don’t want my wife to have to fret about her looks or age or weight to make her an enticement to another man. No, I love my wife dearly, and she is beautifully and wonderfully made perfectly for me, but I have too often been distracted by beautiful webs.
I’m done. I’m finished. I will not trade my beautiful doe for an ugly spider with a beautiful web. Lord help me. Friends, pray for me. Love rise up in me for my wife, and disgust rise up in me towards lust, that demon spawn of satan that tempts and seeks to devour. Set my feet upon solid ground and lead me not into temptation, oh Lord, because I am weak and prone to wander, but you are a good shepherd who will not let me be devoured. Amen.