Take Up Your Sword by Kay Keith Peebles

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It was hilarious!  I had always been afraid of snakes.  I became afraid of snakes in the third grade when I learned to distinguish the poisonous ones from the non-poisonous.  Since then, I had only seen two poisonous snakes in the wild, one was a baby copperhead.

This summer, after coming up to the mountains for ten years, I saw my first poisonous snake in our area.  I was near one of the small lakes close to our home when I saw a snake swimming on top of the water several feet from where I was standing.  I could see his head and knew he was poisonous!  Although the water was a bit murky, I got a picture of him with my cell phone and discerned he was a copperhead.  I realized, for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid of the snake, just respectful.

A week ago, my husband and I were coming home from a day-long outing and parked our car in the garage.  When we began unloading the car, my husband shouted, “There’s a snake in the garage!”  He was in the corner by the garage door.  We could see that the front half of its body was inside a box which the exterminator had placed in the corner of the garage to catch small rodents and insects as they entered.  It was late in the afternoon and the inside of the garage was dark.  I maneuvered myself to the other side of the car so that I could step outside of the garage to see the snake with better light. “It’s a copperhead,” I yelled to my husband.  We had no rake or shovel with which to defend ourselves.  Upon observing the situation, it appeared he had entered the box to eat something that may have been inside.  We realized he had become caught on the sticky surface and was unable to pull himself free.  I asked the Lord for wisdom and immediately we decided the best thing to do was back the car out of the garage so that we could sweep the box out of the corner and onto the driveway.  Our weapons became a broom and an automobile.  When the box was pushed outside, the snake drew up the rest of his body inside the box which made him fully contained inside. My husband then proceeded to drive the car over the box five or six times to make sure the snake could not harm anyone.  There was no way we could have removed him from the box.  He was stuck there to die a slow death and since he knew small critters could enter our garage, we did not want this happening again.

Once the snake was dead, we both felt relieved.  It was disconcerting to have a poisonous snake in our garage.  It left us feeling a bit vulnerable.  Then we began to laugh.  It was actually hilarious!  The head of the snake could not have touched us.  The snake had been incapacitated!  God had protected us from being bitten when we walked near the snake.  He was a dangerous snake but rendered helpless; unable to harm us.  His poisonous head was covered by a box.  We chuckled at the thought of him chasing us and trying to bite us with this big box on his head.

I began to understand more clearly the victory Jesus gave us through the cross and resurrection and the believer’s call to resist the enemy (devil) to obtain personal freedom from oppression and bondage.  In scripture the devil and the demonic realm is equated with a snake.  It was a snake that spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden tempting them to sin against God.  See Genesis 3:1, 13.  The Apostle John described the devil by what he saw in the Revelation of the end times.  “And the huge dragon was cast down and out—that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth and his angels were flung out along with him.”  Revelation 12:9 AMP.

The Apostle Paul explained the work of the cross as Jesus redeemed mankind by defeating all the works of darkness (the devil).  “Stripping the rulers and authorities of their power, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by means of the stake (cross).”  Colossians 2:15 Complete Jewish Bible, emphasis mine.  The Amplified version says, “[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].”  God had disarmed the snake by sticking his head, which was his weapon, to the inside of the box.  It was impossible for him to bite us.  Christ gave us all the weapons and authority needed to debunk and pull down the enemy’s hold on our lives and the lives of others.

We all came into this fallen world crippled by our sin nature.  We inherited the sins from past generations in our family that did not serve the Lord or they did not deal with the curses of sin on the family tree.  Sins of the father are passed down for several generations and if there is no repentance and breaking of those strongholds, they remain and continue crippling us from one generation to another.  See Exodus 34:7.  Jesus redeemed us from our bondage, giving us all we need to secure our complete freedom.  Unfortunately, some remain bound either because they don’t know how to be free, they are afraid to deal with spiritual matters or they don’t want to be free.

How often do we cower in fear because of the works of the devil?  How many times have we backed off from an opportunity to gain personal or corporate victory over bondages and injustice when the Lord told us the victory was ours?  Fear of the enemy will stifle any hope of victory we have.  It will keep the children of God bound and powerless, always floundering instead of staunchly opposing him.  Victory comes only by resisting every weapon of the enemy, leaning into the fray and wielding our supernatural weapon Jesus provided for us.

We have been given a powerful suit of armor, but that armor only covers the front of our body, not the back.  We were never created to cower or run from the enemy, we were created to face, resist and oppose the enemy because Christ has already defeated him!

Paul encouraged the Ephesian church.  “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].  Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:10-11.  AMP.

“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”  Ephesians 6:13.

We find the armor of the Lord described in the book of Ephesians in chapter 6:14-18.  We are to be girded about the waist with the belt of Truth, Biblical Truth.  Our breastplate is that of Righteousness (integrity, honesty and transparency; morality according to God’s Word, and our hearts completely surrendered to the Lord).  The shoes upon our feet are Peace, (representing the resolve that we trust in God, believe His Word and rely upon His strength).  Faith is our shield, (faith in the finished work of the cross, the power of the blood of Jesus to redeem and protect us, and the knowledge that He defeated the enemy, we are simply enforcing His victory).  The helmet of salvation guards: 1) our mind which is the mind of Christ Jesus, 2) eyes that look only to Him for our salvation, 3) ears which hear and obey His voice, 4) breath (life in and through Him) and 5) mouths which declare His Word.  Our armor is our defensive protection but our weapon is the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God).  His Word is our supernatural weapon used against every attack of the enemy.

We must know who we are in Christ Jesus and what He accomplished through His life, death and resurrection.  Once we are established securely in Him, We are His agents in the earth raised up to uphold and apply His Word against the lies of the devil.  His Word will sustain us and enable us to stand firm until the enemy surrenders and flees.  James 4:7 promises, “So be subject to God, Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.”

Lessons Learned From The Snake:

1)    Do not be afraid of his power because Christ has overcome all the works of darkness.  Colossians 2:15, 1 John 4:18, Revelation 12:7-10

2)    Seek the Lord for His strategy (wisdom) for victory in each battle.  James 1:5,                   1 Samuel 30:8, Judges Chapters 6 and 7.

3)    Put on your armor, understanding the purpose of each piece, which guarantees victory.  Ephesians 6:13-18

4)    Faith (strength) comes through studying/meditating the Word of God, intercession/prayer, praise/worship and waiting in His presence.  Isaiah 40:31, 2 Timothy 2:15

5)    We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by declaring our testimony, and by being willing and able to die for the faith.  See Revelation 12:11.

We are not inherently entitled to victory without participating in the battle.  We were created for this purpose.  We are in a battle for our faith, our family and the nations.  There is no true freedom apart from Christ Jesus.  American soldiers have been willing to go to war and die for our national freedom.  Are we willing to fight the spiritual battles necessary to secure our spiritual freedom and that of others and die to ourselves in order to obey the will of God?  Conscientious objectors will not inherit the Kingdom.  The world is looking for the answers only we can provide.  God is depending on us.  It is time for the church to take up our sword and fight!

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