April 4, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. - Proverbs 4:19.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21.
In Naples, Florida a man was driving erratically and crashed his vehicle into some barricades. Was he drunk? Was he talking on his cell phone? Was he reading the paper? Studying for an exam? Putting on his makeup? No, his problem was somewhat new and original. His pet snake attacked him. Witnesses report that Courtland Page Johnson got out of his vehicle, wrestled with his snake, then, got back into the vehicle - and drove off. When officers arrived at Johnson’s home, they found him to have cuts and blood on his body. Johnson admitted that it all happened when his snake bit him and he may have panicked. I’m just wondering what happened to the snake?
I have had several pets during my lifetime (I have none right now), especially while I was a boy living on a farm. Some of the pets that I have had are dogs, cats, a jackrabbit, crows, a ground squirrel, a de-scented skunk, and an owl. My mother had a small snake, a racer of some type for a pet for a while that she kept in a cage but I never thought I would want one as a pet. My personal opinion about snakes is that the only good snake is a dead snake. Living in a rural area, I dislike having snakes hanging around because I might step on it and they try to get into the house, which would be an even bigger problem. There was a story about a man in Oklahoma last year who let several varieties of rattlesnakes slither around his property. It was fine until he tripped and fell and three of the snakes bit him. I think he lived but he probably has a new respect for the snakes.
Most of you, like me, do not have a pet snake. However, you may have something that can be just as deadly as having a pet rattlesnake or a pet cobra. What could that be? You may have a pet sin and the, "wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a)." What is your most favorite pet sin? The apostle Paul gives us quite a list in Galatians 5, "…adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries…." This is not a complete list and knowing that Paul adds, "and the like."
Have you ever thought about your favorite sin as being similar to having a pet rattlesnake wrapped around your neck? Not a whole lot of difference. The rattlesnake can kill you very quickly whereas your pet sin may take a while longer. It may take longer but it still kills. Sin starts out killing on the edges of life - circling in for the final destruction. Sin kills the joy. Sin kills the love. Sin kills the fun. Sin kills the good. Sin kills the life. Sound familiar? It may be time to find a new pet.
As Paul says, "…do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:12-13)."