Don’t let the old serpent bite you

Posted By | September 12, 2016 6:30 am

By Derrick Coble, West Sparta Church of Christ

We are charged by the apostle Paul with this command, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). That may sound simple enough, but it is often more difficult than we think.

Many years ago, a strong young Indian decided to climb to the summit of a nearby, snow-capped peak. He donned his buffalo-hide shirt, wrapped his blanket around himself, and set off. When he at last reached the summit and gazed over the endless panorama below, feeling the cold against him, he swelled with pride over his accomplishment. Then, he saw a motion at his feet. It was a snake, which promptly and pitifully spoke to him.

“I’m about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is not food, and I am starving. Please wrap me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.”

“No,” said the young man. “I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake, and if I pick you up you will bite me and kill me.”

“No,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you’ll be special, and I’ll not harm you.”

At last, the youth gave in to the creature’s pleading and tucked the snake under his shirt. Arriving down in the valley, he removed it and laid the snake on the ground. Whereupon the snake immediately coiled, rattled, struck, and planted his deadly fangs in the young man’s leg.

“But you promised,” said the young man, falling, feeling the deadly venom enter his bloodstream.

“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” said the serpent, slithering away.

Unfortunately, it is often the case that we are no wiser than the young man in the story. The old serpent in our lives is called the devil (accuser) and Satan (adversary) (Rev. 12:9). Satan is subtle (2 Cor. 11:3). He entices us with “fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). If the young man in the story had fled from the snake, he would not have suffered a deadly bite. Likewise, resisting the devil will cause Him to flee from us saving our souls from death (James 4:7). All would do well to remember the words of Peter, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

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