Shake it off
As we go through life and faced with situations. It always is interesting to me others attitudes towards others. Even when communities invest in one another and engage with encouragement, there is still that icky opposition where people just want to see what we are made of.
Many Christian teachings say that God wants His children to be healthy and wealthy and that those who walk in faith should never have problems actually opposes the early Church and the teachings of the apostles. It flies in the face of the martyrs of every continent of every age who knew nothing of such a so-called Gospel.
Shipwrecked on the island of Malta, as Paul gathered sticks to build a fire to warm the drenched soldiers and prisoners, a snake fastened itself to Paul’s hand. Recognizing it as a poisonous viper, the villagers thought Paul must have been a murderer to deserve such a fate. So they watched him and waited for him to swell up and die. But Scripture records that, although he was smitten by the same serpent which had killed others on the island, Paul shook it off. And then they thought he was a god.
1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. – Acts 28:1-6 ESV
When will people listen to what we have to say about Christ Jesus? When, although we’ve been smitten by the same serpents which smite them, we shake it off and go on. When our project fails, when our car dies, when our business goes bankrupt, when your health fails, when problems mount, unbelievers expect us to swell up or fall down, to no longer love God or walk with the Lord. But when, like Paul, we shake off the snake and keep going, keep praising, keep loving, the islanders take notice.
The cynics and skeptics who live in our neighborhood and work in your office are not waiting to see how rich we can get, how successful we can be. What they are waiting to see is what we do when the serpent strikes, when pain comes, when things get tough. Will we swell up and fall down, or will we keep on? Such are the results of suffering. Even in heaven, Jesus will bear the marks of Calvary to remind us that He loves us so much that He gave everything to see us through, to bring us Home.
Use the challenges of your day to show how much opportunity He has provided you. One of my favorite scriptures is in Romans 5 and it clarifies the reward of perseverance.
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.- Romans 5:3-5 ESV
Let’s get this straight. There will be opposition today. There will be things that don’t go right. People will treat us unfairly. We will not get credit for some hard work we did. We will be associated with people and projects we did not influence. People are going to hurt us. Regardless of our best intentions, people are not going to understand what we meant. We will have to explain one more time what we thought we communicated well the first time. There will people that don’t like the tone of our voice or the look on our face.
Rise up, shake off the snake and walk in the light of who you are. Keep your heart and mind clear of who’s you are and most of all keep your integrity and authenticity aligned with scripture. Your motives will shine through in these trials. When you do recognize that your responses or attitude were inappropriate, confess and repent. Move in the right direction – live it out!
Courson, J. (2003). A Day’s Journey: 365 Daily Meditations from the Word. Santa Ana, CA: Calvary Chapel Publishing.