Saturday, July 1, 2017

When It's Time to Leave the Snake-life Behind


I know. It's a harmless snake. 

A black racer eats mice and other little creatures that are, generally speaking, a nuisance. A big ole snake like this is a helpful creature on the farm and, usually, I have enough sense to be grateful for their presence. 

With that said, I stepped out my back door yesterday to see my biting cat peering down at the snake, who had been sunning himself. Biting Cat had leaned over far enough that he was in danger of toppling off the steps. His neck was stretched out as if he thought the snake was another opportunity for biting. 

The snake wasn't happy. He was curled up, head raised up like a cobra, hissing and striking at the cat like a rattlesnake. 

I know. He's not a cobra or a rattlesnake. He's harmless. I kinda forgot that in the heat of the moment, though.

In retrospect, hissing and striking at the cat might not have been a bad idea, because Biting Cat is his name for a good reason. 

I spoke firm words of exhortation to the snake. 

He ignored me and kept striking at the cat. I suggested again, in my "you better mind me" voice, that he should go to the barn, where big snakes belong. 

He turned his attention from the cat to me. 

When he struck at me, I grabbed the shovel to defend myself. Lest you think the snake was in any real danger, the shovel was propped against the wall of the house because it was too dull to dig a hole. 

He struck at me one more time, and I swung the shovel at him. That enraged him and he jumped up a step and charged me. 

I screamed and offered a few more words of exhortation. They came straight from Scriptures and I have nothing to apologize about for any of the words I spoke to the snake. In case you wondered. 

I offered a paraphrase of the snake-curse from Genesis 2, and explained that it was no wonder he had lost his legs after all the trouble his ancestor had helped usher in by letting the devil use him. I suggested he should quit following in the ways of the generational curse and choose a better path.

He didn't. 

I don't know if shovel-swinging or dredging up his past made him madder, but he lunged at me with serious intent. 

When his forked tongue shot out like an arrow from a bow, I was sure he meant to bite me, so I did the only sensible thing. I abandoned the steps to the striking snake and went inside.

The Striking Snake finally chose to slither off to a safer place. I hoped he ate a few mice and left my cat alone. He hasn't come back. 

Once my heart stopped try to pound its way out of my chest and my heart rate returned to normal, I realized something important. 

That snake was just acting like a snake.

I don't know if he can change his ways or not, but he didn't. 

We may not believe it,  but we're a lot like that snake. We act like our ancestors, too. Adam and Eve had a great life, but the evil one offered an opportunity to do something wrong, and they didn't hesitate. 

They jumped in to trouble as fast as they could. 

We are't a bit better. Temptation comes our way and what do we do? Embrace it. What happens? The same thing that happened in the garden of Eden. We get consequences, and we don't like them.

Striking Snakes are destined to act like snakes, but Jesus came to give us a different destiny. We have a choice: continue in our temptation-yielding ways or embrace the path of Christ. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome all the temptations that come our way. 

We don't have to live like our ancestors any more. We can resist. We can be freed and leave the snake-life behind. And we should. 

Today, let's stop acting like a bunch of hissing serpents. Flee temptation. Resist the attack of the enemy. Choose the path of Christ. Do good, not evil. 

Love God. Love your neighbor. 

"I have discovered this principle of life - that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." Romas 7:21-25 nlt
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When We Had a Little Taste of Heaven and Wanted More 

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