SHAKE IT OFF
(Acts 28:5) But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
Sometimes our problems can cling to us like a viper latching onto our hands. Our intentions are good in life, but as we go along, situations arise that attach themselves to us and leave their venom. Are we going to swell up and die? Or, are we going to do what the apostle Paul did? Brethren, it’s time to shake it off!
Paul had gotten the run around as a prisoner in the Roman justice system, so he was forced to appeal to Caesar for his judgment. As a result, he was sent to Rome from Caesarea on a ship through the Mediterranean. A storm arose that nearly took everyone down into Davey’s Locker. God had mercy because Paul was to testify in Rome for the Lord. The ship was ruined off the shores of Malta and the entire crew mercifully made it safely to land. The Maltese showed unusual kindness and lit a bonfire to keep everyone warm. Paul went to gather a bundle of sticks and a viper leapt out of the pile and fastened onto his hand and was left dangling there. So what did Paul do? He shook it off into the fire and suffered no harm.
Problems we face have a way of adhering to us and can leave a nasty residual that can threaten our lives. We can just stand there and let it happen, or we can trust God and shake it off. Satan is termed the “serpent of old” in the scriptures and no doubt is seeking to keep us from fulfilling our mission in life that God has called us to. He wants to poison us with problems and swell us with situations. We can be so fixated on what is fixing itself on us that we can keel over and die in a matter of seconds. Or, we can send Satan to the fire and seal his fate. We can’t help what happens to us but we do have control over our reaction to what comes our way. Upon attack, Paul kept steady and took the offensive and didn’t succumb to the machinery of his foe.
Notice how Paul didn’t just sit around and let people serve him. When the fire died down he went off to the side and collected wood. Paul always took the initiative. He constantly looked for ways to serve the Lord and other people. Whether he was preaching to a crowd or performing a menial task, it was all about opportunities to serve his Master. Satan hates that type of person. He would love for us to just lay low and let others do the work. No wonder there is an attack on the Christian who is diligent in service for Christ. The devil seeks to neutralize those who are zealous for good works and render them inoperative for the Kingdom. But the ones who are focused on the Lord and are committed to serving Him learn to take the enemy’s life-suckers and shake them off to where they will be consumed. And what a witness it is to those who observe us and wonder what we’ll do or what will be done to us.
Now you know what to do when Satan and his problems come your way and try to stick around. Shake it off, and keep serving the Lord and make those appointments God has for you!