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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

He Felt No Harm

And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. ~Acts 28:5

 

One of the great tests of the Christian faith is how people see us perform under intense adversity. Adversity will bring out either the best or worst in us. We either react or respond to our problems. Paul faced an adversity that he could not have anticipated or planned for. This morning, we want to closely examine how Paul dealt with a potentially life-threatening adversity in his life.


We see a helpful servant.

Paul was among 276 men who survived a terrible shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea. He and the other survivors landed on the island of Melita, now known as Malta. The pagan people of this island made a fire for these cold, shivering men. Paul immediately pitched in and helped gather sticks for the fire. He was just being a helpful servant. Serving God and others should be an automatic impulse to us as Christians. Serving is always God’s will for our life!


We see a harmful serpent.

As Paul was laying the sticks on the fire, a venomous serpent came out from beneath and latched its poisonous fangs onto his hand. From a human standpoint, Paul did not stand a chance to live once the venom started to travel through his bloodstream. This is such a vivid picture of Satan sinking his fangs into us spiritually whenever we are serving or doing something good for God. Satan wants to kill our service, kill our spirit, and kill our success. He desires to fill our bloodstream with the poison of bitterness, controversy, doubtfulness, and discouragement. He strikes hardest when we are busy serving the Lord.


We see the heinous slander.

The pagan people of the island saw this viper hanging onto Paul’s hand and said, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.” They made the nonfactual conclusion that Paul must have been a murderer and was deserving of this situation. When people make negative conclusions and say critical and mean things about us, it sometimes can be as bad as being snake-bitten. Slander destroys reputations; slander rips friendships; slander can set us back.


We see a hefty severance.

“And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.” What did Paul do? He shook it off! What do you do when people are against you? Shake it off! What do you do when you have been unfairly criticized? Shake it off! What do you do when you’ve been written off and presumed a failure? Shake it off! What do you do when people throw stones and other things at you? Shake it off! What do you do when you have a failure and setback? Shake it off! And notice: Paul felt no harm! Yes, we will be snake-bitten when we serve the Lord, but shake it off! Yes, we will be snake-bitten when we least expect it, but shake it off!


We see a happy substantiation.

Those pagans watched Paul for a great while to see if he would fall down dead or become deathly sick, but they saw that no harm came to him. We are told that they changed their minds and assumed that he was a god. They kept an eye on Paul to see what would become of him, and he was unhurt. God vindicated His servant. God demonstrated His power to protect. People are watching us to see how we react or respond to adversity. The greatest testimony for them to see is that the snake bite cannot harm us. They want to see if we are going to fall down dead or shake it off.


If you’ve been snake-bit, just shake it off! Let it go! Let go of a past that has its fangs on you! Let go of the problem that has you in its grasp! Shake it off!


Have a resilient God Morning!


Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Samuel 9-12

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