Beware of Vipers!

paul and viper.jpegPaul wrote that we should not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Many of us who have come out of organized Christianity have had to learn about his divisive ways in the process of sorting out all the false teachings we absorbed in that system from the voice of the Spirit in us. As we know, Satan can quote scripture to accomplish his twisted goals and vipers are of the very nature of the Great Serpent we must deal with. Jesus called the Pharisees (who often quoted scriptures) a “brood of vipers” as they tried to tempt Him with their logic.

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. (Matt 12:34-35, ESV2011)

There is a very instructive story about how vipers work in what happened to Paul when they were shipwrecked on the island of Malta.

And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Malta. And the native people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the natives saw the creature hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice allows not to live. And he shook off the creature into the fire, and felt no harm. However they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. (Acts 28:1-6, KJ2000)

When we are the weakest and struggling to maintain our lives, as it was with Paul, is when Satan likes to sneak in and fasten himself to us and inject his spirit-life-killing lies into our hearts. During these times, there have been those who have shown us kindness and kindled a fire in our hearts with their words. But there is another creature that often comes in. Evidently Paul had picked up this snake with the sticks he had gathered for the fire and even had clutched them to his breast, but because of the cold, the snake did not act until he felt the warmth of the fire. False Christians who harbor demons in their natures are like that. These demons can be dormant until they feel the warmth of the Spirit and then they spring into action and fasten themselves onto a saint of God in a moment of weakness. What should be our response when this happens? Should we listen to, cajole, and try to save these demons from their folly? No! Jesus didn’t give the Pharisees any quarter when they spoke their venomous words and neither should we. We should do just as Paul did and shake them off into the fire least they continue to inject their poison into us and draw us away from the path of Christ, the way of the cross.

It is interesting to note that part of the effect of a viper’s poison is to make us swell up with pride if we take its words to heart. When the gracious islanders saw this attack they, too, were confused and took Paul for an evil man, but when he didn’t swell up or die they started to idolize him. Carnal Christians are like these Maltese. They are easily moved by every wind of doctrine. On the one hand, they might want to make us their spiritual gurus because of God speaking through us, but on the other hand they turn and walk away when they see that our hearts are fixed on following Jesus even unto death. This is how the crowds treated Christ and it’s what Paul was talking about when he wrote this:

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (2Cor 2:14-16, ESV2011)

Yes, who is sufficient for these things? Our sufficiency must be in Christ.

(I would like to thank Susanne Schuberth for her latest blog entry from which God used to inspire me for this article. )

21 comments on “Beware of Vipers!

  1. Stacey Marie Amolsch-Roy says:

    Amen! Finally able to comment and say hello Michael and Susanne! Think of you two often.. I agree Michael. Viper! How appropriate! I was just threatened with a warning that I better watch out lest I get bit and stung by an adder. So I changed my profile picture to a snake around my neck. And blocked him.. I hope you guys are doing well. I must keep my eyes on Christ and just abide in Him! He is the only way. This world is not my home!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Hi Stacey. Good to hear from you again and that you are okay. We have thought of you often as well.

      “Snakes! I hate snakes.” ~ Indiana Jones 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stacey Marie Amolsch-Roy says:

        Hahaha! Oh my Snakes. As long as they don’t bite I am fine. Besides, that was years ago. Just came back from Mount Pisgah. Well, I tried to get all the way there but my gas tank said I was closing in on empty. However…..when I turned to go down my tank went up! So I just glided down in neutral. The trees are looking very parched. Mount Pisgah I found out was named after Moses and the promised land. I look back through my entire life and see so much allegory. And I am trying so hard to narrow down the voices. Some sting though like the Vipers. And I just cringed inside. I am so beginning more and more to understand about Soulish emotions. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Stacey,

      Indeed, I was really often wondering where you had been all the time. Sometime I saw blogger likes from you on ‘A Wilderness Voice’, but you never commented again. I hope you are doing well. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stacey Marie Amolsch-Roy says:

        Actually, I forgot my password to WP and could not log in as they said they would remind of it through a phone # that I don’t have anymore. And I don’t use my other email address anymore. So I am following you again. I continue to glean much on T Austin Sparks for my morning meditation. And I sit and meditate to go back through instances in my life, then I share to FB. I remember distinctively you told Fred and I, God help us get out of these messes of all these voices. I know I must be on the move again soon and just praying for clear directions. It is just my cat Isaiah and I. I love both of you so much because you have helped me so much and I cannot forget that.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you very much for the pingback to my blog EPL, Michael. 😊 I am glad to see you got your excellent article (that had been a blog reply to me on my blog before) finally finished and published now. I do hope I was the first ‘liker’ since I would give you a blogger like from the phone one minute after I had seen the notification before going to bed. 😉

    Once again, it seems to have been a complementary thing, this inspiration of yours and mine. If you had not pointed me to the fact that there are vipers who want to ‘kill’ (destroy) you when you are at the weakest, I could not have given it a name as it really happened. Thank you also for making me aware of Christians who use (negative) horizontal prayer in order to make you spiritually ineffective. It is amazing that such people are so deceived that they think they do God a favor by listening to Satan that way. You called it Christian Voodoo, right?

    Every blessing to you and Dot (praying for her health, still),
    Susanne 🐱

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dimple says:

    Thanks for an excellent study, Michael: I hadn’t really considered the meaning behind the picture before. Your exposition clarified a particular event for me!


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ken Dawson says:

    Wow Mike I just read your article about the vipers after reading the T Austin Sparks article for 04/08/17 from New Zealand–they go together well.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good article. It hits in a passages I have been memorizing and speaking. 1 John 4:1-4. In the first three verses John warns them of false teachers and tells them to be careful and test the spirits. Then in verse 4 he tells them:

    “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them. Because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”

    What I hear in the first three verses is for me to be realize there are people that are false and that I should make an effort truthfully recognize what they are and avoid them, like you are saying. But in verse four he is reminding me that I am God’s child and I can rely on him to keep me on the right path.

    I believe this is important because it means that I can really enjoy the truths that he shows me and not wonder if I am in error.

    The other verse I am working on is verse 7: “Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God, and he that loves is born of God and knows God.” Oh Boy, I can focus on this and be born more and more and even know him more and more. I can know this isn’t false.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Hi Russ, thanks for bringing this passage to my attention once again. There is a lot here in these seven verses. “Every spirit that confesses that Christ is come in the flesh is of God.” the word translated “confesses” means to say the same thing. We have the Spirit of God speaking to us if we are born again of the Spirit. But those who are NOT born of the Spirit of God will not be speaking the same things as the Spirit is saying to us. This fits together with what John said in the earlier part of His letter…

      “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1John 2:26-27, KJV)

      We must first be born of the Spirit and then we must walk by the Spirit in us, and not be carried about by every wind of the teachings of men (false prophets and teachers). We will know them by the spirit that abides in them if we are yielded to the Spirit of God.

      “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1John 4:5-6, KJV)

      Carnal Christians are given away by their speech. They speak of the things of this world out of the abundance of their hearts. When you try to have fellowship with them, what do they speak about? How much of their speech is about themselves and how often do you hear “I, me, my, mine, etc.? This is all of the world and focused on the things of the natural man, not on Christ as their ALL. Those focused on themselves and this world will not be speaking from the Spirit of Truth, but from the error they walk in, speaking of themselves.

      “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: FOR HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13, KJV- emphasis added)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Love that Michael. So true and much more than ever. When we are born of the Spirit it seems to me that the body of Christ will flow in harmony with one another. And then there be people who more or less, you can just tell that the flow was interrupted. Throws everyone off key for a second there. The Pharisees are just not born of the spirit. Quoting scriptures that sound so religious. Where is the Holy Spirit in this? That’s why I have missed you all very much. My head seems to be swirling around of FB. But I can’t hear on the phone so I like the pm messenger. Still looking for that one to walk hand in hand with. Not in that way but you know what I mean. Alaska is starting to sound good to me right about now. I have been invited to go out there so who knows.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Stacey. I have been speaking the Word so I can hear it and receive it. Faith comes by hearing, not necessarily by reading. I think it is making a difference. Hey, I have an 86% decibel loss in my hearing. I think my loss was from a high fever when I was young.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Stacey, I will be praying that Jesus continues to draw you to Himself and watches over you in your travels. We truly are pilgrims and strangers on this earth if we seek that city made with the hands of our Father with Christ as its Foundation. But the fruit of our seeking is to be found totally IN Him and no longer of ourselves.

        God bless you, dear sister,

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wise counsel, Michael. Thank you. Have a blessed Easter!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Alan Haungs says:

    I used to believe that BEWARE of vipers was a warning about those faulty denominations but I now believe that the word BEWARE means that vipers are everywhere

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Alan, and the closer we get to those who think they are righteous, the more vipers we will encounter. Good to hear from you again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cie says:

      Yes that’s true, Alan. And while external vipers are more easily spotted, we must not forget about those little foxes or vipers hiding within our very own souls. It’s amazing how well they camouflage in righteousness. Any time I sense any degree of ‘protectionism’ for my self, in my gospel or in my praying… I can see the little fox trails within me. Yes, they truly are everywhere.


  8. mareg51 says:

    Cie, this is the best comment I have read on this site. A wise reminder not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Reminds me of the C.S. Lewis story of the red lizard on the shoulder of one of the characters in his book: THE GREAT DIVORCE. As comforting and as beautiful as the lizard whispering in our ear, he must be put to death.


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