In the trails of a serpent

An accurate, exciting account is told of a Nepalese farmer Mohammed Salmodin who was bitten by a cobra in 2015 and returned the kindness by biting the reptile to death.

The farmer is reported to have been working in the field when he was assaulted by the stealthy, slimy, slithering animal. They say once bitten twice shy, but Salmodin did not get shy; instead, he grabbed the damn reptile and bit it severally.

He was later treated at a local hospital and got well. However, the serpent wasn’t lucky. It succumbed to wounds inflicted by the farmer’s incisors.

When asked to explain his unusual behaviour, Salmodin said that his actions were informed by titbits of wisdom he got from a snake charmer. The snake charmer told him that biting back the snake lessens the effects of the venom.

I have heard and read accounts of snakes being converted to mouth-watering culinary. However, in such cases, the snake is killed first, unlike in the case of Salmodin. I have also heard that it tastes like fish. If that is true, then I wouldn’t mind its broth. After all Cantonese have been drinking snake soup for two millennia and some members of the United States Special forces are taught to kill and eat snakes during survival training. I think I am as honest as a politician!

As I ponder over this, my mind travels into history to encounter Greek Myths. One character that comes up is Medusa, a female gorgon whose hair consisted of writhing venomous snakes. Legendary Greek hero Perseus killed her.

As wise as a serpent 

The Bible records an event where Jesus exhorted His disciples to be as smart as a serpent (Matthew 10:16).  At this point, it is imperative to differentiate the Serpent representing Satan, and the ordinary serpent. Failure to draw this line can lead to a wrong interpretation of the Scripture. However, the big question remains; Why would Jesus tell His disciples to be as wise as serpents?

I believe there are good reasons for this exhortation. There are several thought-provoking observations we can draw from the serpent.

Embrace supernatural ears

Snakes do not have external ears. Instead, they pick vibrations from the ground and make use of them. Scientists say that snakes can tell when natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions are looming. They become restless and leave the area days before the disaster strikes.

We were created with natural ears. We get to hear numerous things. Most of what we hear does not build us. They tear us down and degrade our will. They make us feel less and inadequate.  ‘You cannot make it,’ ‘You do not qualify,’ ‘He is an imbecile,’ ‘She is stupid,’ ‘He is a dog,’ ‘She is a bitch’. Such are statements we hear thrown at us left, right and centre. Sometimes we have to shut off our ears and become alert to the vibrations and actions in the realm of the spirit. Shut off all negative comments. Shut off all discouraging remarks. Shut off all demeaning judgments. Just shut off. Ignore them. Do not let them sink into your heart. I have discovered that people will always have something negative to say about you whether you try to impress them or not. And that is the reason why we need to be physically deaf but spiritually alert.

Seek out warmth and maintain it

Snakes do not live in cold places like Antarctica. If we want to avoid this terrifying creature, then we know where we should migrate to. As wise God’s children, we are supposed to shun cold places. These are places where there is no warmth, no fellowship, and no love. It is a place with no Fire of the Holy Spirit. You get there, and suddenly grow numbness, dumbness, inertia and consequently unproductivity. We cannot stay warm until we get connected to the Heavenly Grid System. Getting connected to the Grid System mean that our wires tap into the powerlines and transmit the energy to us uninterrupted. We generally have the proclivity to be ‘cold bloodied’, and that is why we need to live in warm areas.

Scientists say that the warmer the snake’s body, the faster they can digest their prey. The warmer we are, the faster we can understand the things of God. The quicker we can decipher spiritual mysteries and riddles. The healthy we become.

Eat from the spiritual saucer too

Snakes swallow their meal whole. They do not bite it. For example, the python takes their prey wholly, including bones. The bones are digested slowly and supply the serpent with calcium. We should learn to want the Bread of God whole. Bread gives life. We should take in the words of Jesus in totality. We are bound to become spiritually sick when we decide to read and apply His Word selectively. We are supposed to swallow the whole thing; hook line and a sinker. Don’t you think so?

Exploit the Power of the Holy Spirit within

Some snakes such as King Cobra are so venomous that they can kill an animal as massive as an elephant. Even though the elephant is massive and intimidating, the Cobra has the best of it. This is possible because Cobra has something potent that the elephant has no answer to.

The Bible in 1st John 4:4 says that the one who dwells in us is greater than the one outside. We have inherent powers within us, courtesy of Christ Jesus, and we can use this power to defeat every enemy, irrespective of their sizes.

Shed off the old skin 

Snakes shed their skin. They do this to allow for further growth and get rid of parasites that may have attached to the old skin. They rub against a rough and hard surface. We need always to remain relevant. We stay germane by renewing our minds and by meditating on the Book of the Law Day and Night. We remain relevant by shedding of the past bitterness, anger, failures, defeats and disappointments, for they are parasites that can destroy us. They keep feeding on our happiness, peace, hope, love and faith. Occasionally, the process of trying to shed off unnecessary baggage may be painful.

The World Health Organization has an emblem that has Asclepius carrying a staff encircled by a snake as a symbol of healing, rebirth and transformation.

Keep re-inventing

Serpents grow new fang after about two months. We should stop at nothing in getting ourselves appraised on the things of the Kingdom. Our effectiveness as followers of Christ depends on regeneration.

Don’t lose your head

The decapitated head of a snake can still bite. Scientists say that this kind of bite contains tremendous amounts of venom. Perhaps this is the reason our guardians told us to strike the head of the snake in the event of combat with the reptile. It is the same reason that made Jesus crush the Serpent’s head at the Cross of Calvary.

We need to have unyielding spirits. We are not supposed to give up even when the odds are stacked up against us. In pain and hopelessness, we can still deliver deadly bites to our enemies. Our enemies are things such as fear, depression, anxiety and anger. Don’t lose your head. Amid challenging situations, don’t lose it. We shall need our head to deliver the final blow. Our heads contain one of the powerful weapons against the enemy. The enemy knows this and the first place to strike is the head. Once we lose our heads, we cannot fight. On the other hand, as long as our heads are intact, we still have a chance to hit back at the enemy.

Be spiritually fine-tuned

The serpent has a tongue specifically for ‘smelling’ the environment, and they can tell which direction the smell is coming from. Our sensitivities should be so sharp that we can find direction to our destinies despite being surrounded by rudderless people in a ruthless world.

Eat at His table to your full

The amount of food a snake consumes determines how many offspring it will have. If the black mamba decides to swallow a mouse per week, and the green mamba decides to swallow a rat biannually, then the black mamba will lay more eggs than the green mamba. The more we interact with the Spiritual food – The Word of God – the more we become productive. The more we meditate on it daily, the more we reproduce and the more we expand and spread our genes.

Watch your tongue

Infrequently snakes can bite themselves unintentionally and hence die. Sometimes we bite ourselves accidentally. We kill ourselves unknowingly. Why would we kill ourselves by consistently, insistently and persistently confessing negativity?

Keep growing

A snake never stops growing. It is called indeterminate growth. We can constantly keep improving. There should be no time when we say, ‘I am now a mature Christian’. Nada! We should keep aiming high. Paul affirms this in Philippians 3: 13.

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