But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Paul encountered a lot of trouble in his life and ministry! Beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonments, dangers and perils of all kinds. It wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, but in fact it was because he was doing everything right! He had just come out of a fourteen-day storm and now he and his shipmates were marooned on the Island of Malta in the cold and the rain, when a viper came and fastened itself on him and threatened to kill him!
Sometimes you can be on round two trouble. You understood it the first time, because you had a Word, but now you are on round two or even three. Now it isn’t even so much about getting what you wanted, now it is about keeping a right heart towards God, because the repeated attacks are now threatening to poison your spirit.
You see people who have less skill and ability than you getting promoted; you look at people who you thought would be ten steps behind you and they don’t even care as much as you do, but they walk into the blessing and the opportunity any time they choose.
Many people give up, not because they stopped wanting what they were going after, but because in the process their spirit got wounded – they started to think that maybe even God isn’t trustworthy any more. They just got out of the shipwreck and then the viper appeared. It seems like God could have prevented it, but He let it happen.
May I commend to you Paul’s principle; he didn’t spend long entertaining the snake, he just shook it off into the fire!
The bitterness and the privilege to be offended and the people who lied on you – shake it off! Decide, “You can have my car, but not my heart. You can make me homeless, but you don’t have the right to make me bitter.”
Whatever is trying to poison your sweet spirit, shake it off! You have still got it! It may look like strength has left you, but what people do doesn’t stop what God will do. We don’t make it because we have a clear journey to our appointed place, we make it because we shake off what happened and we say to ourselves, “God will do it again!”
Even the people who were watching you, interpreting your trouble as your fault and waiting for you to die, will turn around and say, “We didn’t mean it!!!”
May God anoint you to outlive every situation that ever took anything out of you!
Pray and declare
Heavenly Father, you know the path I take and you are able to keep me. Like Sarah I choose to judge you faithful in all your dealings with me. Help me, Lord! Don’t let bitterness or disappointment take root in my heart and poison my love for you. I worship you, because there is no shadow of turning in you!
And I declare in the name of Jesus, that I shake off all sadness and all resentment at what I have experienced. I shake off anger and offense and I refuse to entertain depression and despondency. It’s not too late for me! God will do it again in my life!
Thank you, Father!