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The student came into my office yesterday with a surprise. “Excuse me, but there’s a snake in the hallway.” “What?” I asked. “Yeah! A snake, right outside your office door!”

I opened the door, and sure enough, there was the foot-long garter snake, motionless in the middle of the hallway floor a full 50 feet from the front door. I deftly picked it up (the student said, “Eeewww!”) and took it outside, releasing it in our flower bed with the Vulcan gesture and farewell greeting, “Live long and prosper!”

Returning to my office, I began to meditate about how often the spiritual Serpent has entered our Christian student center and how often he slithers into the church building. I know he must be a regular visitor at both places.

In fact, he’s been sliding into the homes and assemblies of the righteous for eons, inflicting pain, suffering, and death wherever he is not discovered and tossed out. How can we deal with the Serpent more effectively? A simple plan would correspond to what I must do to keep that snake out of our building.

Prevent the Serpent from entering in the first place. There may be a neglected opening through which he enters again and again. Find it and stop it up.

Assume that he will be trying to get in or is in already. The Serpent likes nothing better than to sow discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19; Galatians 5:20) or to cause saints to stumble (Luke 22:31-32). No doubt Christians are tops on his list of intended victims.

Look around for him. He may not be out in the open like mine was. He may be hiding behind good intentions, competition, or hurt pride.

If you find him, get rid of him immediately. The larger snakes grow, the more troublesome they become. “Resist.. and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Steve Singleton
Via Broadway church of Christ
Campbellsville, KY

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