The backyard patio table had been inviting on such a fabulous spring day. As I bit into my sandwich, my eye lock shifted away from that of my lunch guest to the movement behind her. Slithering beneath the rocked wall in our near distance was a four foot long snake with shiny black scales and bright white bands. Its markings clearly defined it as a California Kingsnake.
Fascinated by wild life, I quickly approached our visitor for a closer look and, of course, a photo opportunity. But, as I narrowed in on it, I received an unexpected hostile reaction from it. To my shock and dismay, it pulled back into a sort of coil and shook its tail like that of a Rattlesnake!
This behavior is referred to as Batesian mimicry, which is when a harmless species evolves to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species, directed towards a predator. When Kingsnakes are threatened, they emit an unpleasant musk and shake their tails. Had there been leaf litter beneath its tail, it would have produced a buzzing sound that resembles that of a shaking Rattlesnakes tail.
The Kingsnake is immune to Rattlesnake venom and has the ability to overpower and eat snakes that are larger than themselves. This is highly unusual, as 90% of the time, predators are bigger than what they eat. Kingsnakes defy this with their unique way of hunting Rattlesnakes by first biting them behind their head and then rapidly coiling around their bodies one to three times. Because Kingsnakes kill Rattlesnakes, they are good snakes to have around. Kingsnakes know how to fight against predators that are big and deadly and win because they know how to defeat their enemy. What about us? How do we defeat the enemy of our soul?
In Ephesians 1:3, the apostle Paul gives an exhortation on the spiritual blessings and truths we have in Christ. He says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” It is important that we remember these truths, stand on them in faith, and apply them to our lives. They are:
Chosen Before the Foundation of the World (v.4)
Holy and blameless (v.4)
In His Love (v4)
Predestined to Adoption (v.5)
Accepted in the Beloved (v.6)
Redeemed through His blood (v.7)
Forgiven of Sin. (v.7)
The Riches of His Grace Abound (v.7-8)
Made Known the Mystery of His will. (v.9)
Obtained an Eternal Inheritance (v.11)
Heard the Word of Truth (v.13)
Sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise (v.13)
The Hope of His Calling (v.18)
The Riches of His Inheritance (v.18)
The Exceeding Greatness of His Power (v.19-20)
In addition to believing and standing in faith on the truth of these promises and blessings, in Ephesians 6:10-17 we are introduced to the armor of God. This is how a Christ follower is to protect themselves in spiritual battle.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The following is a list of God’s Armor and what it means. In my research I found different variations and interpretations. I decided to use the following commentary taken directly from Pastor Chuck Smith’s writings. These are his words and examples, not mine.
Belt of Truth– Because the enemy is always coming with his lies. Jesus said that the devil is the father of all lies. And he tries to lie to you about God, about the nature of God, about the character of God, about the attitude of God towards you. He tries to lie to you about God’s attitude towards sin. “Oh, it really doesn’t matter. You can get by with it. God will judge you. God will forgive,” and so forth, and he presses the point of causing you to use the grace of God as a cloak for lasciviousness, deceiving yourself. The truth-it’s important that I be armed with the truth.
Breastplate of Righteousness– That commitment in my heart to do that which is right before God. I have got to have that as a commitment of my life. I want to do the right thing. Not to observe the situation and then determine which way I will balance. But just have that determination that I am going to live a right kind of life. Righteousness actually constitutes the right actions towards those around me. And unrighteousness is not doing the right thing toward my neighbor. Godliness is doing the right thing towards God, the right relationship with God. Ungodliness is the wrong relationship with God. There is ungodliness, my relationship with God, and unrighteousness, my relationship with man. Now he is talking here about righteousness. I have got to have that as a basic foundation, the breastplate of righteousness. I am going to do as best as God enables me the right thing. I want to live right.
Gospel of Peace– It is God’s desire that we live in peace with each other, and with Him. We live in a world that is filled with strife. We talk about marriage relationships, but how many homes are so filled with strife. The atmosphere is continually tense as we are failing to obey the scriptures in submitting one to another in love. But we are trying to dominate over each other; we are trying to rule over each other, and there is no love involved. We get to arguing over the most ridiculous things and we won’t give in. We won’t yield the point, we will press our point, get the last word in, leave a sour taste. And yet, as the scripture says, “That yielding will pacify great offenses.” How many times in a tense situation where there is just the drawn sword and the clash taking place can the whole issue be diffused by just one person saying, “I think you are right. It is stupid to go on arguing like that. You are probably right.” It just diffuses the whole thing. Suddenly the strife is gone. Why do we find that so hard to do? To admit to being wrong, or to admit to the other person possibly being right. Even when we know they are wrong. Help us, Lord
Shield of Faith– That faith and confidence in God is what is being talked about here. ”Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16) Satan is constantly attacking us. My faith in God, God’s ability, God’s power, God’s working in me. I can stand against these attacks of the enemy.
Helmet of Salvation-Thank God I have been saved through Jesus Christ from that tyranny of a life mastered by the flesh. I have been saved in order that I might walk in fellowship with God through the Spirit.
Sword of the Spirit– The Word of God. God’s Word is a tremendous defense against sin. John said, “I write unto you young men, because you are strong, because you have overcome the wicked one, because His Word abides in you.” The power of God’s Word within my heart against sin, it is the greatest defense that I can have in this spiritual battle that I am in, having God’s Word hidden in my heart.
Thank you, Pastor Chuck, for that commentary. I am grateful we have the truth found in God’s Word, knowing we have promises to stand upon and a way to fight the enemy of our soul. We are abundantly blessed to have the knowledge of the armor of God.
The day that King snake found its way into my yard, I felt a bit vulnerable and threatened. My daughter often plays in that yard, and here was this huge snake right in her play area. But, as I prayed about the situation I was actually comforted and relieved, realizing the snake is a protector to us. It is a good one to have around! The fact that it hunts and kills deadly Rattlesnakes gave me a whole new peace and perspective on its presence.
We, too, can have a new perspective in our own lives. Knowing and understanding who we are in Christ makes all the difference. Realizing that our battles are spiritual in nature, standing on the promises of the Lord in faith, and using the full armor of God will protect the enemy of our soul from devouring us. All power is found in the King of Kings, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who saves us from our enemies. Through Christ we have the victory!
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