BLOG: There’s still a snake in your house
My wife hates snakes.
In fact, that’s an understatement. There aren’t enough CAPS LOCK keys in the world to put in writing how much my wife, a real Eve’s daughter, hates those crawling dirt lickers.
A few days ago my wife found a snake (a small 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 hand, our two young children ran into the room to check out 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 murder a “helpless” creature in our own home was anathema.
My wife wanted a corpse. My kids wanted a pet.
Adam and Eve often get a bad rap, and rightly so, for listening to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Rather than embracing their God-given roles and design, our ancestors chose to listen to the voice that told them that God’s authority was oppressive. They entertained the suggestion that God was suffocating with his expectations, directives and prohibitions.
Satan was at war with God. Interestingly, rather than fighting in a shady corner of the garden, Satan shrewdly chose the front line of his battlefield as the well-tended home of God’s created children.
We like to think of the Genesis 3 story as a story that only exists in the past. We often think of the story of Adam, Eve and the serpent as one that belongs on the front pages of children’s books – simple characters nestled among carefully placed foliage illustrations.
This is exactly where Satan would have this story kept.
Unfortunately, the question of whether God’s purpose is trustworthy has not ceased to be asked in the garden. The slippery words of the accuser of God, “Did God really say?…” and “You probably won’t…still echo from the hills of Eden in the mountains and valleys that mark our own journeys of pilgrimage.
Let me ask you, do you hear these questions in your own home? Do you see the same seductive views of God’s purpose hanging before you asking to be used not in God’s ways, but in ours? Do you see God’s purpose for the family structure being undermined, redefined, or even challenged?
If so, there is still a snake in your house.
But what should we do about it? Like myself 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, in a fallen world, there are proverbial serpents everywhere. Snakes will come through our doors. If we bar the doors, they will enter through the windows. If we cover the windows, they will wait 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 follower of Jesus is not just learning to avoid snakes (James 4:7), but learning to live in a world so full of snakes that they go through the television, waiting at the grocery store. and everywhere in between (John 17:15). Closing the eyes does not remove the serpents; it just makes us very unprepared for their attacks. Playing with snakes does not make them less dangerous by familiarity; it only softens our guard and weakens our defenses against them.
So where to start with snakes in our home?
We do what Adam should have done. We see. We identify. We protect.
Are you actively looking at for what messages or ideas can be around you and your family? Are you tuned in to anything that questions God’s authority, goodness, or purpose? Are your spiritual ears tuned to anything that would seek to replace God as supreme for your satisfaction and security?
If so, what do you do when your radar locks on a snake? Do you turn off the radar, burn down the house, and wrap your kids in bubble wrap? Where do you identify the snake for what it is? Do your children know what sin is? Do they know God’s purpose for family, for sex, for church, for relationships? Are God’s instructions posted on your walls, in your conversations, and openly discussed along your paths (Deut. 6:6-10)? Do your kids recognize a snake when they see one and how do they react when they do?
Finally, do you have a plan for protect? If a snake is identified in your house, do you know in advance what to do with it? Is everyone in your house on the same page with the plan? Do you have clearly defined protective boundaries for yourself and those you love?
We didn’t go looking for a snake in our house, and we certainly didn’t open our door inviting one in. When one was seen, competing voices identified it as friend or foe. Honestly, since I threw the thing over the fence, we haven’t talked about snakes in our house. We are not very well protected for the next time one appears. I need to make some changes in our house.
Imagine if Adam and Eve actively searched for snakes, identified them for what they were, and protected themselves from them in their own homes. What would have been different? Imagine doing the same thing at home. What could be different?
Brothers and sisters, may we always seek out sin, identify it as such, 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 brave, be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Cor. 16:13-14 BCS).