Gen Z explains politics and life to his boomer parents – Blue Skies and Green Pastures
In my journey as a runner and hiker, I have had a few snakes cross my path, literally. Just this week I was running on the paved road and was surprised to see the colorful red and yellow bands of an adult Coral snake. Sadly I didn’t get a photo because as soon as it saw me stop to look at it, it squiggled around and then rushed into the grass. They are actually quite shy. I’m always excited to see one, even though they are poisonous. https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/dont-mess-with-texas-coral-snakes/
I have also encountered or simply caught sight of large Rat or King snakes, Copperheads and Water Moccasins. Texas is the land of snakes and insects, after all. Thanks to our cats and dogs, and keeping our grass mowed, we don’t have a big problem with snakes around our home, but we have seen at least 10 of them over the years, mostly non-poisonous ones caught in the chicken house, but also a few Copperheads. I don’t have snakes for pets or want to touch them, but I’m not super scared of them, nor do I want to kill them unnecessarily. Snakes must have a place in our world or God would not have created them. In fact, their role is to eat other animals and be food for others. Still, they can be dangerous to humans, so I keep my eyes open on the trails and in tall grass or any place snakes might hide. Some of them are very good at blending in with the ground, like the Copperhead below, so we have be aware of their possible presence.
Two kinds of Dangerous Snakes
But what about those two-legged snakes, the kind that blend into our surroundings, look harmless, even pretty, but are full of poison? I am talking about people, of course, who aren’t what they seem. There are two types that I want to mention.
Snakes who don’t know they are poisonous
First, there are people who are unintentionally harmful. These are people who are being used by Satan but don’t know it. They can be Christians or unbelievers, but they do not know the Word of God well enough to speak truth, so they are easily sucked into false church practices, false doctrines, controversies, arguments, or ‘good’ works of their own design that keep them too busy to actually serve the Lord. They might be a ‘Super Christian’ who is very busy in church work, or they might be a ‘spiritual’ person who doesn’t believe they need organized ‘religion’, as they call it. The problem is they don’t really know why they do what they do, or they do it because it makes them ‘feel’ a certain way, and they are not seeking God’s will , so they are literally still living in the flesh. The danger of these people is they are contagious. They make other weak believers or unbelievers think that the way they live is what it means to ‘be a Christian’. So they lead others away from a true walk with the Lord without meaning to.
Snakes that Attack
The second type of person is much more sinister. This is a person who purposely leads others astray from God because they are ‘opposed’ to God, opposed to the truth, and definitely being controlled by demonic forces, not God. Peter and Paul warned us about these false teachers. They teach doctrines of devils. Paul warned Timothy about them . They try to add or take away from the gospel by telling people they must do or not do certain things to be saved.
 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,  through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,  who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (ESV) 1 Timothy 3But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2 NIV
This has been going on since the beginning of time. Satan tricked Eve in the garden by making her doubt what God had clearly said about not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You1 shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,2 she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.Genesis 3
After this the serpent (Satan) was cursed by God and all snakes became associated with fear and danger in the world. But Satan doesn’t use actual snakes to deceive and destroy people, he uses other people to do it. The only way to be safe from them is to KNOW YOUR BIBLE! Study, memorize, discuss, and do it more than once. Do it daily and do it all your life. The Word of God is your protection, your weapon, your shield, and your source of Truth. Anything that contradicts the Bible is a lie. The world is very focused on making you doubt the truth of God and the need for it, and the method is through the words and actions of these “sneaky snakes”.
Look out for Snakes!
Where will you encounter these ‘snakes in the grass’? In Church! Yes, Satan attacks Christians right where they live and work using false teachers who pretend to love God, but really love money or power or fame. Also, in school, at work, social media, music, books found in Christian bookstores, movies, advertisements, in your own family, everywhere. Why are there so many? Because Satan knows his time is short! He is trying to destroy as many souls as possible and destroy Christian testimonies and lives before Jesus returns. Many will fall away in the last times. Don’t join them.
What should you do when you see a snake?
Stay alert to when something doesn’t sound quite right. Are they adding to the Bible or taking away from it? Are they adding to the gospel? Are they claiming the Bible is anything less than 100% true? Ask questions. Maybe your friend doesn’t realize they are speaking lies or spreading a false gospel. Tell them, “Hey let’s doublecheck what you just said or what that teacher taught us today.” Ask the teacher or pastor where that is in the Bible if they say something you suspect is wrong. Don’t let false teachings go unstopped. The truth matters! You should be respectful about it. But if they get angry and stubbornly hang on to a lie, it’s time to move on. Pray for them and then stop going to that church or whatever. Do not let yourself be sucked into a false doctrine that goes beyond the Word of God.
I caution you to be careful, though, because there are some non-essential doctrines that true believers do not agree on. The details of the doctrines of end times is one of them. But when it comes to the gospel of salvation, we must not be swayed.
We are saved by grace through faith and then we are to confess publicly that we believe that Jesus died for our sins, he was resurrected, and sits at the right hand of God now. He will return to judge the world and he will set up his Kingdom in the new earth one day. We are not saved by anything else. Not by our genetics, our family’s religious beliefs, baptism, good works, confession, giving money to the church, feast days, certain clothing, having children, praying certain words, special anointing that other believers do not have, pilgrimages or anything else that WE DO ourselves. Jesus saved us by what HE DID. These things are unarguable and essential to the Christian faith.
I hope you have a wonderful Spring day and don’t step on any snakes! And Happy Easter!