Several years ago
my wife, Carol, and I were driving on a road trip through a
half dozen states south of Minnesota. Along the way, we
often stopped at the roadside rest areas to stretch our legs
and purchase a cold soft drink. However, we had
an interesting experience during one of those stops. I
do not recall which state we were traveling at the time, but
it was very likely either in Nebraska, Kansas, or Missouri.
Although the specific location is not important, the memory
of what we saw there was enough to give us nightmares.
As I was wandering
around, I noticed a barbed wire fence separating the grounds
of the rest area from a large field of native prairie
grasses, dirt, rocks, and gravel. The un-kept area
looked as though it had not been used for decades, or even
longer. Then, I saw a sign nailed to one of the fence
posts that read, "WARNING...SNAKE INFESTED AREA...KEEP OUT!"
sign quickly caught my attention. There were venomous
snakes just beyond the fence that was only a few feet away!
I thought, "Okay...I will not be going in there.
But, why would the snakes not crawl under the fence to where
I am standing...and beyond? How would they know to stay
on their own side of the fence? Maybe they are all over
the place...even in the parking lot!"
I turned around and
slowly tip-toed through the lawn toward the direction of the
car...carefully looking for any unusual movement under every
blade of grass. Oh...did I mention that I was not
particularly fond of snakes? Carol had already made
fast tracks to the safety of the car, and had the door shut
and windows rolled up tight.
Thankfully, we did
not see any snakes, but they were probably nearby. We
were very happy to be back on the road again.
That true story is
a reminder that snakes of a different kind are poised and
ready to strike our personal lives. Most of the time we
do not even see them, but they are certainly there.
They are quiet, subtle, and can move quickly to poison the
heart and mind of folks who are unaware of the danger.
The snakes that
invade our lives often appear as something good, but are
evil. They will often masquerade as being fun and
colorful, but will eventually bring heartache and pain.
Deceit is one of their deadly trademarks, and can cause the
most unsuspecting person to fall to temptation.
certainly not immune to an invasion of snakes, either.
In fact, churches are prime targets for them. Every day
we see more and more churches becoming mired down in pits of
apostasy...the result of snakes being allowed to cross over
the church's threshold. Many of the snakes that enter
there are false teachers promoting a watered-down gospel
message, and the abandonment of sound Biblical principles.
Of course, the
snakes to which I am referring are the schemes devised by the
devil himself...who made his grand entrance disguised as a
serpent to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As
explained in 1st Peter 5:8, "...your adversary the devil
walks about...seeking whom he may devour."
Victory over the
snakes of this world can be achieved, but only if we have the
strength and mighty power of the Lord God residing within us.
brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His
might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be
able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do
not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness
in the heavenly places.