You can absolutely learn safety from a snake.

There is a question as to whether Christians are allowed to defend themselves. I've heard many say they don't have that right, and it slays me every time. I know you would do what is necessary to protect another person. I know you would not stop a police officer from protecting you. So, why would anyone feel it's not okay to protect yourself?

We do not live in a safe world. I think everyone knows things happen here which are hard and dark and evil. There are some things we can not stop, can not comprehend or imagine, and can not alter the course of. That's the way of life. 

In Matthew 10 Jesus tells his followers "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Today and tomorrow I would like to look at the lessons we can learn from this statement in regards to how we live our life.

Wary as Snakes

When I lived in Colorado Springs our house backed up to a large park which had a huge hill to the side of it and a pavilion on top of the hill. The park itself was green and lush and you could run around that area all day without a worry or care in the world. But when you went up the hill you had to follow the path to the pavilion and all around was brush and weeds. One time my bother and I went up the hill, and when we got half way up the hill we froze when we heard it: the distinct sound of a rattle. Now, we were taught to freeze at that sound, but as the rattle continued we grew more fearful until we finally just turned tail and ran back down the hill.

1. The snake was aware of who was in his surrounding area, more so than we were as children. He didn't attack us, nor did we ever see him, but he let us know he was there and we were in danger.

When my husband was in high school he went fishing at a pond out in the country with a friend. He had been using borrowed lures, so when one got caught in a tree he swam out to get it untangled and bring it back to shore. As he was heading back to the side of the pond the person he was with told him to look behind him. As he did he saw the unmistakable ripples coming off a snake swimming through the water in his direction. He quickly made it to the edge of the pond, and the snake moved on to another location as well.

2. Whether the snake was defending his territory, going for a leisurely swim, or looking for food we will never know, but the snake was able to clear the area quickly just by making its presence known. In this situation my husband's friend may be the one who was being aware, but you can see an example of what we need to do every day. The snake scared off the predator, or, in this case, the boy returning the lure.

When my oldest was a sophomore in high school he helped a family friend on her ranch. One afternoon I got a phone call from her, and she was very calm the entire time, but she informed me they were on their way to the emergency room. My son was helping move a gate, and as he stood up on one level to lift the gate a snake was stepped on and bit his shoe. It was a Copperhead. It turned out because of the way my son was standing on part of the snake the fang went more into his shoe and sock than it did his toe, and we all were relieved when we took him home from the ER with no shoe but nary a scratch.

3. My son nor the others helping knew the snakes were there, but the snakes knew the people were there. They stayed out of site and quiet until they could do nothing more than defend themselves. My son stepped on him, and the snake defended himself.

This is what being as wary as a snake means to me, and what I want it to mean to you. Snakes live, breath, eat, and do all the things in their life they should, but they have protection they use regularly. They are aware of who is around them, they are willing to show they are in control of their own space, and they are willing to defend themselves when necessary. All things they do in order to stay as safe as possible. All things we can do as well.

Tomorrow we'll talk about living as "innocent as doves."


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