Knocking Down Spiderwebs
There’s a spider living in the corner of the transom above my front door. I didn’t realize spiders could live that long, but apparently this little guy’s been at it for at least two years. Either that, or her offspring have stayed close to home. Either way, I’ve been knocking spider webs down from the same spot for a long time.
You might think I’m part of a “save the spiders” organization.
For whatever reason, I just haven’t gotten around to actually removing the spider. I’m not sure if it’s compassion or laziness, but I have been content to simply knock down her handiwork every so often and then watch as she rebuilds what I’ve torn down.
I think there are a lot of people like me.
I think I’m a lot like me.
I think there are a lot of us who see problems in our life, but instead of removing the root of the issue, we simply bat away the tangled web it leaves in its wake.
In the gospels, Jesus tells us not to worry about things like what we are going to eat for lunch or what we are going to wear to the party. As one who has mastered the art of worrying, this sounds like pretty good advice. The problem is, the more I think about not worrying, the more I tend to worry. Sometimes, I even worry about worrying so much. Sometimes, to try to get my mind off of worrying, I will do something to distract myself – I’ll go to the gym, take a walk, immerse myself in my work, or eat a pint of ice cream. I tend to handle most of my sins this way – it’s called behavior modification. Instead of killing the thing inside of me that is causing me to do things I don’t want to do, I simply change my behavior.
The problem with this?
Once the ice cream is gone, the worry comes back.
This is why Jesus doesn’t stop his teaching with do not worry.
He takes it one step further.
“But seek first his kingdom, and all these things will be given you as well.” (Luke 12:31)
You see, removing sin from your life is not a game of avoidance. Lust cannot be cured by simply avoiding things that cause you to lust. Un-forgiveness cannot be healed by avoiding the person you haven’t forgiven. Whatever it is that is creating messes in your life can only be dealt with through a surgery of the heart that removes the source of the pain and replaces it with something whole and good.
Jesus’ command to seek first the kingdom of God implies a redirection of the heart that takes us not just away from the things that create problems for us, but towards the One who gives us what our heart truly desires.
You don’t have to spend your life knocking down spider webs. I’ll spare you the details, but tomorrow I look forward to having a clean window.