He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,

[Luke 4:18]

I’m sure it was quite difficult for an unknown artist to carefully, slowly, and skillfully craft the “web of lies” as pictured above. But I’m even more certain of the impossibility to ever untangle it all again with success. Instead, one would have to begin anew if ever needing a straight piece of string all to itself.

This image is picturesque of what the Bible calls the flesh. The flesh is the system of beliefs and behaviors which grow from the soil of lies we’ve all accepted as truth. It’s the grid through which we’ve learned to understand ourselves and the world around us. From childhood, our experiences have led to held beliefs, and those beliefs have manifested in behaviors. The flesh is our well-developed set of “knee-jerks” as we’ve reacted to hurts and hurtful people. And like the unseen artist who made the web of lies above, our flesh has been masterfully crafted by an invisible artist the Bible identifies as the devil.

Biblically, there’s no substantial evidence to conclude the devil is a red, goat-like figure with horns and a pitchfork chasing helpless kids on Halloween. However, God’s word has not left us on our own concerning how we should understand Satan and his tricks. Jesus pulls back the curtain, unveiling our invisible enemy, in more than one place in the writings of the New Testament.

In John’s gospel, He calls him the father of lies. He…does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Every lie that’s ever been told or believed can be traced to this individual as the source.

Later in the book of Revelation, Jesus gave John more details concerning the true identity of this character with a vivid fourfold description of “the great dragon,” the one with potential to wreak havoc in the lives of Christians- And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; (Revelation 12:9a)

 1.    He is “the serpent of old,” a title speaking to his subtle and poisonous influence. The serpent presents himself in ways that seem strangely familiar and sometimes even attractive--

 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:3, 14)

 2.    “The devil” is the Greek word diabolos and literally means “slanderer” or “false accuser.” The devil is a malicious prosecutor seeking evidence of the sins of Christians to accuse them before God’s throne--

the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10b).

 3.    “Satan” is a Hebrew word meaning “adversary.” Satan assaulted God in his original rebellion (Isaiah 14:14) and deceived Eve to sin by leading her to doubt God’s character and word (Genesis 3:1-6).

 4.    “Who deceives the whole world” tells us Satan’s continual, habitual work is to seduce people into believing that he tells the truth and that God is unfit to be trusted. 

Satan’s strategy has always been one of deception. Satan’s power is in the lie, not in our committing gross sins.

Fortunately, God hasn’t left us to ourselves to untwist the sticky, tangled webs we find ourselves in. Jesus tells us, If you continue in My word… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32). What is His word, you ask? Here’s a hint: It’s not a “what?” It is a “who!”

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (John 1:14 MSG)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
(Luke 4:18)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36)

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1)

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does (Romans 7:24-25 MSG)

My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. (Psalm 25:15)

Freedom is our birthright as God’s kids. If you feel like you’re in a “snare” and being victimized by bothersome emotions or circumstances, we at Crossway can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced staff.