7/11/2011

SHAKE IT OFF, MOVE ON, AND DON'T LOOK BACK





It was rainy and cold as Paul gathered sticks to build a fire on an unfamiliar island in the Mediterranean. He had just suffered shipwreck while being carried as a prisoner to Rome to stand trial. As he gathered sticks and branches, a poisonous snake suddenly "fastened on his hand." Although the natives of the island expected him to fall over dead at any moment, Paul did not panic. Luke says, "But he shook the creature into the fire and suffered no harm "(Acts 28:5).


PAUL HAD TO SHAKE OFF MORE THAN JUST A SNAKE

This wasn't the first time Paul had found it necessary to shake off something unpleasant. He had been expelled from Antioch of Pisidia. He had been stoned and left for dead in Lystra. He had been beaten and imprisoned in Phillipi. His life had been threatened in Thessalonica. He had been attacked by a mob in Jerusalem. He had been arrested by the Romans and shipped to Rome to stand trial. On the way he is shipwrecked on an island and in the rain and cold the poisonous viper "fastens" on his hand. One could understand if at this point he had thrown his hands in the air, and cried, "I give up!" or "Why me Lord!" But instead he shook it off and went on about his business and afterwards saw a great move of God on that island with many experiencing God's healing power.



WE TOO MUST SHAKE OFF EVERY UNGODLY
THING THAT WOULD TRY TO "FASTEN" ITSELF ON US

We all encounter difficult and devastating situations of life that try to "fasten" on us and poison our souls and paralyze us and destroy us. We must not allow it to happen. Like Paul, we must shake it off and move on in obedience to God. Paul himself shares a secret for doing this in Philippians 3:13b-14 where he says, "But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Paul was not allowing anything--snakes, hard times, people's hatred, etc.--to "fasten" on him and keep him from his future in God. You and I must do the same. After all, where we are going is more important than where we have been. So, SHAKE IT OFF, MOVE ON, AND DON'T LOOK BACK!