In Acts28:1-6 the Apostle Paul is shipwrecked on the Island of Melita. The Barbarians kindled a fire and Paul picks up a bundle of sticks. In the bundle is a viper which fastened on his hand and Paul "shook off the beast into the fire." I am sure that there are folks reading this article who have things in their lives which they cannot shake. Notice some similartities between the viper and the things folks have fastened to their lives: (1) The viper came from the heat, a type of testing. (2) It looked harmless, like the sticks. Some of the things we bring into our lives look harmless. (3) It had the power to destroy. (4) Though Paul shook it off, only God could heal from its deadly poison.
I would like to name some of the things which are like poisonous spiritual vipers with the power to destroy the lives of people which must be shaken off.
- Bad memories, emotional scars, sexual abuse, bad childhood, broken home.
- Bad feelings toward others, a root of bitterness, offenses of the past, broken trust.
- Binding habits: Drugs, pornography, drunkeness, sexual perversion, addictions.
- Bad habits: Gossip, slander, laziness, temper, filthy tongue, rebellious music.
- Obsessions: Fear, lusts, unforgiveness, jealousy, greed, success, revenge.
- Past failure: immorality that still haunts, abortion, illegitimate child, violated trust by friend or family, guilt that will not go away.
- Doubt, agnosticism, atheism, confusion, depression. Dead religious experience that gives no peace, seems empty, cold and yet binding.
If space permitted, I could give examples in every area I named above of people whose lives were destroyed by something they would not shake off. Friend, by the grace of God you can shake off anything which has the power to destroy.
1 Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." Psalm 55:22, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
You don't have to go a step further or live a day longer with these destroyers in your life! Shake them off into the fire of God's grace and forgiveness.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Friend, you can win over anything by God's grace.