Luke 10:19 Behold, I give to you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the authority of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
The legendary preacher, Charles Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.”
Often the question is whether something is “right” or “wrong”, and may be answered quickly and easily. But sometimes we are faced with a much more difficult discernment: the difference between “right” and “almost right”. I love to take the kids to the zoo, and whenever we go we always go into the snake house to look at all those beautiful slithering reptiles– but more often than not they are so well camouflaged that they aren’t easy to find. Once you’ve spotted one, however, and recognized its markings, it becomes much easier. So George, why are you telling me about your trips to the zoo?
The Bible identifies our enemy as a serpent, and just like the ones at the zoo he camouflages himself extremely well. Satan knows that the Lord has given us authority over him, so he has to seek ways in which we fail to recognize him. He knows that defending ourselves would be much easier if he came out and said, “I’m here and I hate you!” So he lurks in the background, in unsuspected places waiting for an opportunity to steal, kill or destroy— and much of the time we don’t realize he’s there until we find ourselves in the thick of an attack. And what is his “camouflage” ? Looking as much like a good guy as he can, so we would never suspect his true nature and intentions. That’s why Spurgeon gives us the advice about discernment between “right” and “almost right”; and why the Lord Himself told us to be “wise as serpents”!
Pray to become skilled in discerning your enemy’s camouflage, remembering he comes as a “minister of righteousness” or an “angel of light” who knows how to blend into your world, and to look and talk like a friend. Don’t go by feelings alone, be careful about flattery, know your Lord through prayer and let God’s Word dwell richly in you being filled with His spirit. You want to be well defended against the subtlety of the Serpent, especially these days!