Thursday, July 12, 2018

Charming the Serpent Before It Bites

Here's the journal entry from my quiet time with God this morning. When I come into God's presence, I always stop, look, listen, and respond. The key question is, "What truth do You want me to see and act on from Your Word today, Lord?"

Look: “If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer.” (Ecclesiastes 10:11, ESV)

I may have the capacity to do a thing. But if I don’t act on that capacity, it means nothing.

I may be able to present competent plans for good. But if I fail to present them, someone with a wrong plan can carry the day.

I may be able to resist temptation and evil or blunt their attacks on me personally. But if I haven’t armed myself with the Word of God and submissive prayer and surrender to God, I could be toast. I need to constantly wear the whole armor of God.

And I must do the requisite work. Not to save myself, but to respond to the God Who has already saved me with a life that honors Him and expresses gratitude for the gifts, abilities, and opportunities that God has given to me. Christians are motivated to use their gifts and their lives to honor God and serve the neighbor, spiritually, materially, and in other ways.

Prayer without work is a way of testing God. And work without prayer is futile.

But God’s Word condemns laziness: “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.” (Proverbs 26:14)

Listen: Lack of preparedness, lack of diligence, spiritual and otherwise, is a deadly thing. It gives the evil from the devil, the world, and our sinful selves a chance to prevent us from being all You have in mind for my life.

Your Word, Lord, says to leaders what they should do with their gift: “.... if it is to lead, do it diligently” (Romans 12:8). Through lack of prayerful preparation, leaders can fail to exercise diligence as leaders, becoming susceptible to the activities of the serpents before they can be “charmed,” won over, blunted, or thwarted. This is particularly the case when the “serpents” are gossips, unleashing damage with their every word and innuendo.

I have been called by You and Your Church to be a leader. I need to use the gift You have given me for this calling as You intend.

Response: Today, Lord, help me to be prepared, to prayerfully “charm” the adversary, as well as the evil in the world and the evil in me. In other words, help to so walk with You that I can, by faith, claim Your promise of deliverance from evil for all who take refuge in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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