Distinguishing good from evil.
You can listen to today’s devotion by clicking on this SoundCloud link
I captured this shot near my friend’s home on Chico Basin Ranch. Surrounding me, her kids getting as close to this snake as they could.
If you just gasped and thought, “What if it was poisonous?” then you likely don’t know much about snakes.
But the kids knew this was a Bullsnake.
When Bullsnakes feel threatened they mimic the behaviors of rattlesnakes. Unfortunately, they are often killed by frightened people. Some of you who shuddered when you saw this image may say, “So?! The only good snake is a dead snake.” But snakes are important to our eco system. One study estimated an adult male Bullsnake can devour nearly 1,000 field mice in one season! Can you imagine how many rodents would overrun my friend’s house if these snakes weren’t around?
This snake needs our respect, not our fear. It is good.
“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Hebrews 5:13-15 New International Version
According to these verses it takes training to distinguish good from evil. It’s easy to get lazy and regress into snap judgements. Like the Pharisees, we can end up quenching what is good, and inadvertently perpetrating the evil we feared.
The kids were not afraid of this snake because they could distinguish venomous snakes from harmless ones. Not just book knowledge, they practiced being in nature and had had first hand experience with the different creatures that lived on their ranch. They were at home in that environment.
In the same way we need to practice righteousness, soak in the Word and put it to “constant use” training ourselves to spot His goodness and magnify it.
Father, help us to be at home in the environment of Christ’s righteousness so we will be mature and effective as salt and light, preserving what is good and defusing evil without fear. Amen.
Copyright photo and text Jennifer Brukiewa