Everything had been going splendidly well in a particular paradise known as the Garden of Eden. The garden, and everything else created in, and around it, had been spoken into existence by the Lord God. The Lord’s finest creation, man, was the only thing of God’s whom He fashioned with His own hand. Man, and his valued counterpart Eve, were relating to their Creator, creation, and each other, the way God intended. No shame, or blaming, nor questioning of their Maker had ever crossed their minds, till a friendly serpent (God’s adversary), was introduced to them in the third chapter of the book of Genesis, in the Bible.
‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1)
Never before had the only couple occupying earth entertained the concept of questioning God, His goodness, or whether or not He was withholding something good from them. Eve, unwisely elected to engage with the serpent, when she chose to answer his question. From that point on, things started to go downhill in that prime-choice real estate that was freely given to them by their Maker. She ended up taking a regrettable bite from a piece of deadly fruit, while the serpent took his own unique bite, out of her! His venom-injected bite wasn’t noticeable at first. There were no visible puncture wounds like you see from snakes now, but nevertheless, she was left with venom that ate away at her, just the same.
Is it any wonder that Satan elected to use the “craftiest” of God’s creatures, when approaching mankind, in an attempt to hurt our Creator? We were created in God’s image, and are His beloved craftsmanship. Who better for Satan to attack, than God’s pride and joy…man?!
Satan doesn’t always come across as our adversary. He’s slick and subtle and his most successful venom is the kind that causes us to doubt God’s goodness, and to get our minds focused on self, much like what happened to Adam and Eve. Our great-distant grandparents were attacked in their own backyard, and it came out of nowhere as far as they could see…just like how the enemy who is after our soul, and testimony, comes attacking us!
This once blessed couple started to doubt God’s goodness, and their minds certainly drifted towards self. Four major relationships were severely damaged as a result of this extremely poor ‘fruit-fest’ they had in the garden. It deeply wounded their relationship with their Creator, with all of creation, with each other, and their relationship with their own self-identity.
Immediately the serpent’s venom was at work in their mind, and heart…ushering it to beat for things counterproductive to their well-being. Then their physical bodies began to know sickness, cellulite, and senility; all of which would age them along to death’s doorstep. And though they had no money in which to speak of, they would instantaneously know how to ‘pass the buck’ when it came to taking responsibility for their actions. For the first time, they would have an innate ability to blame each other, lending to a game we all play in their honor called, ‘the blame game’. Grandpa Adam blamed both God, and Grandma Eve. Then Grandma Eve blamed the snake, and all of creation would then suffer the consequences of this once perfect couple (Genesis 3:12-13).
When learning the anatomy of a snake, we find that its fangs can be sharp, long, hollow, or grooved, and that they are connected to a small sac in the snake’s head behind its eyes. The sacs produce a poisonous liquid called venom. So when a snake bites, venom is released and starts to work immediately to kill or paralyze its prey. And what, exactly is venom you may ask? The definition of the word ‘venom’, means, “a form of toxin secreted by an animal for the purpose of causing harm to another”.
The original couple knew the damaging effects of a snake’s venom. They, and the entire human race, have suffered the damage of those four major broken relationships (Creator, creation, with others, and with self) ever since the results of a particular snake’s venom in the garden. Unfortunately, he still seeks to inflict his bite while he can, and so therefore, we will all be prone to his bites until Jesus’ long-awaited return.
The serpent spewed his venom into Adam and Eve the same way he spews it into us. In general, a snake carries its venom in its head, just as Satan attempts to fill our head with his venom too. And all those toxins cause us to have very clouded thinking!
One of the most dangerous snakes in our modern world is the Russell’s viper of India and South Asia. One man who had been bitten by one, reported that he began to see double, and it took 110 doses of anti-venom to save him.
Think again on that…he began to see ‘double’.
Don’t we too, start to see things in a double-minded manner, when the serpent (the devil), spews his venom at us? As believers, we might say we believe one thing, but our double-minded spirit can often usher us into a lifestyle that doesn’t reflect what we claim to believe. The Bible has much to say about being ‘double-minded’. One verse in God’s word is James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts, you who are double-minded.”
Another type of snake, the Pit Viper, hunts day and night for its prey. Does this sound like someone you know?? God’s word tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Our Enemy seeks us out, day and night. He has nothing better to do with his time, and he knows his time is running out! Job 2:2 says, “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Where do you come from?’ And Satan replied back, ‘From wandering this way, and that way on the earth, walking about it.’”
We’re no different than our relatives from Eden. We are just as susceptible to the venom of the enemy as they were. Often our bodies respond to his bite as if we had experienced a real snake bite. We become double-minded in our thoughts, and we run for cover. Soon after, our bodies engage in activity that doesn’t honor our Creator, and parts of us (the heart) are never the same.
The devil likes to keep himself hidden and inconspicuous, whether he is traveling beautiful gardens, or roaming this earth. We can’t see his form physically, but we can see his influence through behaviors and attitudes we may hold, or those around us hold when bitten.
Has the enemy’s venom taken root in your heart, causing you to feel the image of Christ you were called to reflect, shutting down? At times it has with me. I’m often guilty of letting whatever kind of venom he injects just slither around in my veins as my body bathes in toxic emotional poisoning, until it affects how I think, and act. His venom can also often distort how I see God, then suddenly God seems smaller than the poisonous venom the enemy has me ingesting.
So what are WE supposed to do, upon suffering a venomous bite of the serpent’s?? We know that if we ever experience a bite from a physical snake, we’re told to stay calm, and elevate the affected limb. So in Christian terms, that would mean when we’re bitten by the enemy we are called to elevate our heart and mind up to God. We must allow Him to renew our spirit, when it comes to a spiritual attack from our venomous one! A serious physical snake bite warrants a trip to the hospital to see a physician. After a spiritual attack from our enemy, our hospital is God. He is our Healer, and the Great Physician. We just have to be willing to come out of hiding, much like Adam and Eve were called to do (Genesis 3:8-10).
The truth is…I’m not always obedient in going to God when I’ve kept company with the serpent’s ways. I pay a heavy price, like my great-distant grandparents did when it comes to disobedience. If I’m honest with myself, so does everyone around me when I don’t go to the Great Physician and elevate my wounds to Him upon a venomous bite from the enemy. When I don’t make note of the enemy’s tactics, he can so often slither slowly around me, in my little corner-garden of the world. He offers me all sorts of toxins hidden in such delectable ‘fruits’ of this world, which lead to a debilitating mind and heart, as he did my distant grandparents.
So what about you? Are you mindful of the enemy in your daily life? Are you taking inventory of venomous poisons you may be ingesting? I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t always choose wisely which fruit to eat, or choose it from a tree of God’s provision. Our distant relatives learned that the only fruit worth tasting and producing, were fruits from God that were of His spirit. The same is true of us. All other fruits we ingest, leave us unsatisfied, filled with guilt and thoughts that destroy. Through the ages of time, there seems to be more trees available with fruit that we are NOT called to eat. Those trees are the serpent’s favorite! He’d love for us to hang out by those trees, so he can slither by us too, and fill us with his venom. But God’s antidote (Christ), is much stronger than Satan’s venom.
We don’t have to keep company with the serpent of the world, letting him inject his lies and behaviors into us. There’s plenty of good fruit from God’s trees we can eat, while being mindful of…the venomous one.