Have you ever had a message given to you that keeps coming at you from different directions that you really weren’t expecting? Well, that is what has happened to me recently with the message Shake It Off. First, I attended the P31 Women’s Retreat in September, and the song by Taylor Swift was used as a mood setting song. Visualize 200 women in a room with hands raised shaking them to symbolize leaving other peoples opinions behind so each woman can move forward with her Best Yes decisions, and focus on who God says that she is and not what others say. Secondly, my pastor preached a sermon this past Sunday called Shake It Off based on Acts 28: 1-6, and it really hit home with me.
Acts 28 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
Preacher Keith explained that vipers/snakes in the Bible are often used to refer to spirits that are sent your way by the enemy. We have to choose not to become a victim to the snakes, but rather to shake them off through standing firm in what the word of God says about us, and moving on. Satan knows that he can’t take away our salvation, so he will do anything that he can to rob us of our relationship with God, to take away our witness, or to steal our joy. Often he will send a snake our way to do so. Snakes can be anything that can get in the way of our relationship with God.
By nature, snakes are sneaky, self centered, self promoting, and self defending. God has called each of us to do something, and even the Apostle Paul carried wood. Don’t expect others to do things for you that you can do yourself. When snakes appear in your life, you must immediately take action and shake them off. Choose not to listen to the words that you know aren’t really true. Don’t keep carrying the past hurts and pains that have become snakes to you–the Bible says that we can walk on snakes. Reasons to shake it off: Snakes have an unchanging nature of their breed, the receive undeserved attention, they spread unwanted poison, and they cause unhealthy reactions.
The Savior Jesus Christ deserves the attention in our lives, not the snakes that we have chosen to carry around. Once you shake the snake off you have flexibility and credibility, but you need to make sure that you don’t give the action of shaking it off more attention than you are giving the cross. The very best way to handle snakes is to avoid them.
Obviously, God is trying to say something to me through two Shake It Off messages in as many months. I’ve been in serious prayer about the things (snakes) in my life that I need to shake off and move forward by dropping the snake at the foot of the cross.
Do you have anything in your life that could potentially be a snake to you? Well, it’s time to Shake it Off!