Claustrophobia is statistically one of the most common phobias in the world. Instinctively, as humans, we fear the inability to move or be free. There is a noticeable lack of freedom in tight spaces. In this confinement we become slaves to the lack of space, having no room to do anything. We feel crushed, squeezed, breathless, irritated, etc. We just feel trapped.
The same can be said spiritually speaking. Sometimes we just feel trapped under the weight of life. It seems like you’re stuck inside a bubble, a glass bulb from which no one can hear you. It even seems like God Himself can’t hear your prayers. You’ve done so much sinning over and over again, yet still hanging onto a shriveling hope in Jesus, that those very sins have built up into a cage. They’ve become a separation, a blockage, a wall between you and the Holy Spirit. You begin to develop a dry spirit, you beg for relief even though your hope for such is gone. You begin to doubt any help will ever come, and you may even blame God or become angry with Him.
This is the feeling of having a trapped spirit. But like all spiritual matters, there is a cure in Jesus. I was shown a few scriptures by the Lord to explain this. This article might be one of my longer ones, but sit tight because it is loaded with information I was given from the Lord.
Psalm 91 is my personal favorites, as it assures us not to worry about the things that come against us in life because of the Lord’s promise of deliverance. Verse 3 tells us a lot more than we realize at first glance.
“Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” (Psalm 91:3 KJV)
The first thing we are told here is that God will deliver us “from the snare of the fowler”. I want to break that down into such tiny pieces that we can easily digest it. First, consider the word snare. A snare is a trap usually used to catch animals. Hunters have used them throughout the ages to make feeding themselves easier.
A snare is a stratagem composed of the usage of a loop or noose which gets tighter and entangles an animal passing through it. Varying types have existed in all different cultures, sometimes made of rope or string, or even wire. The prey is entangled, stuck in one spot until the hunter (or another animal) arrives for the kill–or even until starvation, whichever comes first.
The next peculiar thing about this verse is the word fowler. If you didn’t already know, a fowler is someone who hunts birds. We often just refer to this as hunting today, which we practice much differently than Biblical fowlers, who didn’t have the luxury of guns to make hunting birds easier for them.
So not only are snares–or traps–mentioned, but we are told that these specific traps are set by a fowler–a bird hunter. It says more specifically that the traps are set for us rather than birds.
I think the interesting part of this is that a bird trap is set for a human being. God is implying that we are like the birds. Birds are potential prey for the fowler, and likewise, we are potential prey for Satan.
Caught in Satan’s Snare
Snares come to us in many forms. In most of my experience, or the experiences I’ve witnessed, they come in the form of temptations. These temptations could be big or small, and in whichever amounts are effective for the enemy’s purposes. I’ve noticed they often come right after a season of spiritual growth. We start doing really well with God. You’ve been going to church, listening to praise music, praying, and you read your Bible constantly. Things seem great, and you spit at the enemy and yell, “give me all you got devil!” because we feel so strong in God’s will at that time. We couldn’t possibly fall now, we tell ourselves.
However, keep in mind Philippians 3:1-4. “Have no confidence in the flesh.” Basically saying, ‘don’t get cocky.’ Don’t entertain the idea that you are so strong the enemy will never bother you again. Often when we feel strongest we are weakest. We don’t take into consideration the crack in our wall that is just wide enough for the enemy to slip through. He has been observing your every move since your birth so he can exploit your weaknesses and manipulate you.
You might have the strongest wall in the land. Your fortress might be the mightiest in the whole kingdom and tower above people, touching the clouds. The fortress is so big that you don’t even notice the crack down at its base. The tiny gap in the weeds. No one would notice it. No one, save for Satan. As a snake, Satan can slip through that crack easily. From the inside, he sees all of the bars and steaks keeping those walls up. All he has to do is pull one out and sit back as our walls crumble.
Snares come in the form of sins. We try to resist but we are the victims of addictions, cycles of sin, and psychological damage. Our brokenness makes it nearly impossible to stop doing some of the things we do. These sins build up into a different kind of wall, one that doesn’t serve to protect us, but rather sever us. We are divided from God.
We call out to God, though we feel as though He can’t hear us. Our prayers become less and less sincere the more silent He seems to us. Tiredness sets in. The world hits us, we stumble into the valley. We’re tossed around like a raft in the midst of the Atlantic. Things just don’t seem to get any better. We might go to church, but we do so wearily. We drag ourselves there. We don’t have any joy or enthusiasm in the Lord, and our spirit dries up. All of these things are symptoms of the cage built up by our choices, our sins.
Sometimes we sin, nearly uncontrollably, and we are so ashamed of it that we feel God cannot hear our prayers. Then even after the shame has faded in time, we’re still not right with God. The connection seems severed. We feel trapped by that wall of division on every turn.
Satan may even blind us into thinking God put up that wall. A raspy voice whispers, “God’s ignoring you,” in our ears. If we aren’t careful it leads us to anger towards God. We hold our arms out angrily, saying, “Well God, where were you when this happened?” or “Where have you been? It’s been hell without you. Do you really care?”
Deeper and deeper, the snare entangles us.
Why we’re Ensnared
So the question remains, why are we ensnared?
We know from earlier that Satan is the hunter of birds, and that we are likened to birds in Psalm 91:3. Satan lays traps for us humans in the forms of temptation that tie us down and divide us from God. Now snares were often placed in weeds and grass and caught birds by their feet, keeping them from flying away. So it’s obvious that Satan wants to keep us grounded. He wants to entangle you in your sins and temptation.
Satan wants to catch you because you are capable of flight. It is all a matter of potential. The enemy wants to prevent you from meeting that potential. Like a bird, you can lift off and reach towering heights with your wings. The higher you get, the closer you are to the Lord. From such a height you can see more, hence the phrase “a bird’s eye view.” You can see more and warn others, wake them up from that old feeling of sleepiness and misery that Satan ties them to on the ground. You can pull people off of the ground and bring them closer to God.
Furthermore, there’s something else about the air that concerns the enemy.
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2)
The Bible says that the devil is the “prince of the power of the air.” So knowing this we can assume that when you begin to fly, you’re stepping on Satan’s turf. You’re invading his territory. When you fly, spiritually, you are threatening Satan himself.
The act of flying is an act of freedom.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
And if truth creates freedom, that must mean that lies and falsehood creates slavery or bondage. We could get deeper into this by talking about how the enemy likes to tell us we aren’t saved or we’ve sinned to the point we are past redemption. The enemy likes to tell us we aren’t forgiven or loved by God. If we believe this it chains us down and doesn’t allow us to act out as a Christian. We won’t pray with others, preach, sing, etc. We see ourselves in the light of an ugly creature, cast out from God, and it prevents us from doing what we want with the Lord. It is bondage.
Your potential is threatening to Satan. If it is used or met it is immediately weaponized against the kingdom of darkness. If we could see the damage done to the devil when we testify in God’s name, we would be amazed. The amount of chains that fall off another person when we do just a little something for God is incredible. Satan wants to suffocate the chances of this happening as much as possible, so that is why he engineers a trapped spirit. He trains us up to feel closed off and divided.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)
The Cure for a Trapped Spirit
I think the most obvious cure for this is to be aware of our sins, strive to stop them, but not allow ourselves to be caught under the lies they create. Remember that you ARE the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) and that when Christ was on the cross, He absorbed your sins and they died with His body. At the same time, the righteousness and purity that was within Jesus transferred into your own body, and you absorbed it. Therefore you are made perfect and clean in Christ, you have no fault in your spirit, even despite your flesh being faulty. Then, Jesus rose again to strengthen you in this life and to resurrect you in the next.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)
Keep the truth within you, because the truth will set you free (John 8:32). And the truth, ultimately, is the cure.