My wife hates snakes.
In fact, that is an understatement. There aren’t enough CAPS LOCK keys in the world to express in writing how much my wife, a true daughter of Eve, hates those dirt lickers.
A few days ago my wife found a snake (a little baby, but still a snake) in our house. Immediately I was called to attention and ran to the garage to get a gun. As I stood over the snake with a shovel in my hand, our two young children ran into the room to see the view. Our children are still at the age where they think animals sing songs and fall in love, so the idea that I would kill a “helpless” creature in our own home was anathema.
My wife wanted a corpse. My kids wanted a pet.
Adam and Eve often get bad press, and rightly so, for listening to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Rather than embracing their God-given roles and purposes, our ancestors chose to listen to the voice that told them that God’s authority was oppressive. They entertained the suggestion that God was suppressing his expectations, directives and prohibitions.
Satan was at war with God. Interestingly, rather than fighting in a shady corner of the garden, Satan astutely chose the front line of his battlefield as the well-kept home of the children created by God.
We like to think that the Genesis 3 story only exists in the past. We often think of the story of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent as one that belongs to the front pages of children’s books – simple figures nestled among illustrations of carefully placed foliage.
That’s exactly where Satan wants this story to be kept.
Unfortunately, the question of whether God’s purpose is to be trusted has not ceased to be asked in the garden. The slippery words of the accuser of God, “Did God really say? … “ and “You surely won’t …Still echo from the hills of Eden in the mountains and valleys that mark our own pilgrimage journeys.
Let me ask, do you hear these questions in your own home? Do you see the same alluring views of God’s purpose hanging before you asking to be used not in God’s ways, but ours? Do you see God’s purpose for the family structure undermined, redefined, or even completely challenged?
If so, there is still a snake in your house.
But what are we going to do about it? Like me standing over the snake in our laundry room with a shovel in hand, it’s easy to get tangled up amid the voices telling us what to do. Some voices demand harsh execution while others cry out for tolerance and mercy.
What should we do when we find a snake in our house?
The harsh truth is that in a fallen world there are proverbial snakes everywhere. Snakes will come through our doors. If we lock the doors, they will enter through the windows. If we brick the windows they will be waiting for us outside and will probably hide in some dark corners of our house that are often overlooked.
Part of the difficulty of being a disciple of Jesus is not just learning to avoid snakes (James 4: 7), but learning to live in a world so filled with snakes that they go through the process. television, waiting at the grocery store. and everywhere in between (John 17:15). Closing your eyes does not remove snakes; it just makes us unprepared for their attacks. Playing with snakes doesn’t make them less dangerous out of familiarity; it only softens our guard and weakens our defenses against them.
So where do we start with the snakes in our house?
We are doing what Adam should have done. We see. We identify. We protect.
Are you actively looking at what messages or ideas can be around you and your family? Do you listen to anything that questions God’s authority, goodness, or purpose? Are your spiritual ears tuned in to anything that would seek to replace God as supreme for your satisfaction and security?
If so, what do you do when your radar crashes on a snake? Do you turn off the radar, burn the house down, and wrap your kids in more bubble wrap? Where do you identify the snake for what it is? Do your children know what sin is? Do they know of God’s purpose for family, gender, church, relationships? Are God’s directions posted on your walls, in your conversations, and openly discussed along your paths (Deut. 6: 6-10)? Do your children know a snake when they see one and how to react when they do?
Finally, do you have a plan for protect? If a snake is identified in your home, do you know in advance what to do with it? Is everyone in your home on the same page with the plan? Do you have clearly defined limits of protection for yourself and those you love?
We did not go to our house for a snake, and we certainly did not open our door to invite one. When one saw one, competing voices identified him as a friend or an enemy. Honestly, since I threw the thing over the fence we haven’t talked about snakes in our house anymore. We are not very well protected for the next appearance. I need to make some changes in our house.
Imagine if Adam and Eve actively searched for snakes, identifying them for who they are and protecting themselves from them in their own home. What would have been different? Imagine doing the same at home. What could be different?
Brothers and sisters, may we always seek sin, identify it as sin, and protect ourselves from sin in our own homes and circles of influence for the glory of God and our good.
“Be vigilant, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love ” (1 Cor. 16: 13-14 CSB).