“I hate snakes!” These were the words from Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when he fell into an ancient room overflowing with snakes. I’m in complete agreement with Indiana Jones but not merely from a fictional experience. When I was growing up, I had a friend who rang our doorbell and when I opened the door, she had snakes slithering everywhere. She had snakes in her hair, coming out of her shirt, writhing around her arms and slipping through her fingers, everywhere. I freaked out and slammed the door so hard that our house shook. Snakes are no bueno for me, full stop.
So the snake talking with Eve in the garden of Eden is very perplexing to me. Eve didn’t seem to mind talking with the snake, but his venom through their conversation was deadly. The snake didn’t do his venom through fangs but rather through the dialogue with Eve. If we think about Satan being a snake, using words for venom, then it would be helpful to identify the venom or words that he uses for poison, similar to Satan slipping venom into Eve’s outlook through his slithery words.
To begin, Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan’s native language is deception or lies. Also, we read in Revelation 12:10 that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. I would also suggest that Satan uses fear and insecurity to oppose genuine love, since 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. Using deception, fear, insecurity and accusation, the end goal for Satan is to steal, kill and destroy, as Jesus tells us in John 10:10. This important verse contrasts the goals of Satan against the reason Jesus came and lived in human skin. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
If we want to live the full life that Jesus makes available to us, as He describes in John 10:10, then we need to look at some enemy venom that might be pulsing and circulating in our thoughts, emotions and outlook.
If one of Satan’s venom is deception, then we need to be committed to pure truth. Contrary to truth, Satan uses deception in lots of ways, including inaccurate perceptions of ourselves. For example, if we think we’re better than we really are, this is pride and it’s an alluring deception. On the other side, if we think we’re less than who we really are, this is insecurity and it can be debilitating. To counter Satan’s deceptive venom, we must give Holy Spirit free reign and ultimate authority in our lives because Jesus calls Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth!
Furthermore, Satan endeavors to accuse us, accentuating our failures, weaknesses, flaws, etc. I experience Satan’s accusations when I sit down to write and my thoughts hear that I’m dumb, can’t write, have nothing to say, can’t communicate in writing, etc. I also experience Satan accusing me when I let my past failures obscure and minimize Holy Spirit being my advocate; working transformation and redemption throughout the failures and shortfalls of my past.
I would also suggest that Satan puts venom into our thoughts when we let fear grow and eclipse God’s power, sovereignty, presence, peace, light and truth in our thoughts and perspective. Wherever fear, anxiety and insecurity reign in our lives, we would be wise to pause and assess the enemy’s venom and God’s antidote: genuine love.
Finally, let’s agree with Holy Spirit to extract enemy venom in our own lives. Let’s also consider that we could partner with Holy Spirit to carry anti-venom into our daily exchanges with the people around us. Consider some practical applications:
- Truth wrapped in words imbibed with gentle grace can be an antidote for the rampant deception that pervades our world.
- Being an advocate for people can mirror who Holy Spirit is in our lives, since Holy Spirit is the penultimate Advocate.
- Let’s be conduits for genuine love rather than fear, anxiety and insecurity.
There’s more than enough of Satan’s venom circulating today. To counter this venom, let’s do three things:
- Agree with Jesus and let His anti-venom chase away the enemy’s poison in our lives.
- Partner with Jesus to bring His anti-venom to the people around us.
- Remain committed to less venom and more loving kindness!