“Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to faultfinding.” Corrie Ten Boom
Finding a Pet:
In middle school, my Science teacher, Coach Polk, allowed us to bring in our pets for a day. The pets had to be small and contained. That afternoon, I glanced around my bedroom deciding which of my pets would be the most exciting to my classmates. I wanted to win the most “awes” and “oohs.” My turtle named BoBo, wouldn’t wow anyone. My birds, Edward and Elvis, known to freak out, would cover me in feathers on a ride to school. My hamster, meh… everyone has a hamster at some point in their life. I looked out the window—four dogs, a horse, multiple cats. None would do. So, my brother Brandon and I searched the woods for the most exciting pet.
We turned over downed branches and large rocks, waded in the creek peering into holes, until finally after dark we lifted a log and there was my pet. I gave him a name…uh…Blackie. I picked him up, carried him into the house and plopped him in an aquarium.
My Snake Blackie:
The next morning, we dropped off our pets in the Science room and went on to our other classes. That afternoon, in Science class I heard the football players tortured Blackie in my absence, and he became aggressive. They submerged his head underwater and Blackie struck at them. I wanted to push their heads in their slimy locker room toilet until they passed out.
I stared into the aquarium and spoke softly to my Blackie.
Coach Polk came up behind me. “Tammy, is this truly a pet?” he said.
I nodded. “I found him last night under a log and gave him a name.” I realize now that naming something doesn’t magically domesticate them.
His eyes widened. “Your parents let you do that, but you could’ve come across a venomous snake.”
I shrugged. “They didn’t know—besides, I know the difference. Daddy taught me.”
“Well, I wouldn’t pick him up; he’s not friendly.”
I reached into the aquarium and wrapped him around my hand to prove otherwise.
A few days later, Blackie became lethargic, and Momma told me Blackie would die of depression in an aquarium. I released him in the woods where he belonged.
Hunting for Snakes:
I thought about that snake this morning in my quiet time because my Father convicted me of something. I’ve spent more time looking under rocks for snakes instead of planting my feet firm on the Rock of my Redeemer. Searching for falsehoods is a waste of my time. Instead, I need to trust that the Holy Spirit will help me discern when I encounter falsehoods.
Have you been snake hunting? Have you been scrutinizing the works of Bible teachers? Revivals? Music? Evil doers? So much so, you’re no longer reveling in the joy of your own salvation?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9 ESV
Revelation that Comes with Abiding:
But… there’s this whole discernment thing and testing the spirits. Relying on our discernment supplied by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and our knowledge of the scriptures doesn’t require time pouring over YouTube videos or scrolling through social media looking for fault. If you use your time getting to know who God is, your discernment will grow. You will be able to tell when something is a little off. When self- proclaimed prophets, Bible leaders, the news media, or a world leader says something that’s almost true, but not quite, you’ll feel that tug in your spirit. For those times you’re not quite sure, pray and ask God to reveal it to you, then wait in trust that He will.
Be a Light:
We, as a royal priesthood, must remember we reflect Jesus. Do those in our social circles see joy, hope, peace, love, kindness, self-control, patience, and gentleness in us? Or do they feel condemnation, anxiety, fear, aggression, and superiority?
We are not called to be anyone’s Holy Spirit. Instead, God instructs us to love, pray, and share what Christ has done for us.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere.”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10
The Snakes that Enter Our Path:
But what happens when we find a snake in our path, in our church or being nurtured in our home? When God reveals a deception to us, we should first go into our inner sanctum and pray. Has God called you to expose the deception? Or was it a warning for you personally? Does He want you to share this insight with someone? Or does He want you to quietly pray for them?
Seek His guidance first in all matters.
Making Snakes our Pets:
Secondly, when God exposes a deception to us personally, we shouldn’t make a pet of it. Put it away. In our flesh, we justify our lifestyles with, “It’s just little thing and not venomous.” Giving your deception a cute pet name (like “Love is Love”, “Anxiety reducer,” “It’s my life,” “Self-love”), doesn’t make it tame. Doesn’t make it righteous. Trust me, it’ll bite.
When we turn away from personal deceptions, we will gain more knowledge and understanding, but if we remain deceived, God may allow the natural consequences of that sin to discipline us.
Are you utilizing your discernment by looking for snakes under rocks? Or are you standing on the Rock? Choose to stand on the Rock.
“And he said to man, ‘Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
Today, I’ve wrangled many a snake (actual snakes). In a panic, my neighbor called me one afternoon. A snake had slithered into her house. I walked over armed with barbecue tongs. She met me at the door. “It’s over there.” She pointed with a shaking hand. “Under the laundry basket.”
“Did you happen to see if it was venomous before you covered it up?” I asked.
“All I know is it’s big, so be careful.”
Quickly, I flipped over the basket and pointed my tongs. Underneath, a large snake coiled with its mouth open to strike. A pattern covered its body, but by the shape of his head and eyes, I knew it was harmless. “Alright fella. I won’t hurt you.” I said, picking him up. “Come on. Out you go.” I set him down in my neighbor’s bushes.
“No, I don’t want it!” She said. “Get him Tammy. Put him in the neighbor’s yard.”
“Are you sure? He’s good and will keep away the venomous ones.”
“No snake is good.”
I scooped him up, walked him home, and released him in my own garden.
Far different from the spiritual world, there are good snakes in the physical, but these days I lean towards furry warm-blooded creatures for pets.
How about you?
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House and co-host of The Hallelujah House podcast. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband of 25 years and four children ages 24 to 8. When she’s not creating content, Tammy enjoys painting, hosting retreats, and interior design projects. You can contact her directly by clicking on the About Us tab on the Homepage.