I found a snake skin in the backyard the other day, stretched out under the redwood trees. Yikes! I’d better watch where I’m stepping, and when I pull up plastic ground cover to give the trees breathing room, I’d better do it carefully or find what’s living in those half tunnels I keep uncovering.
That snake skin was just the sort of thing my children used to collect. (One still looks for animal skeletons.) I thought my youngest grandson might like to share this find with classmates. So I carefully gathered and carried the snake skin into my office. It is a thing of beauty. Well, sort of. All those intricate patterns. A rattlesnake? Possibly. I prefer to think it’s a gopher snake.
I’ve been trying to find the lesson in it. God always has a lesson.
How about: Off with the old life and on with the new! We need to peel off sinful desires and temptations so that we can walk in a way that pleases God. It’s not easy. It’s very hard work. The snake didn’t just slip out of its skin. It had to work its way out. Just as we have to work out our salvation, one day at a time, following in Jesus’ footsteps and not lazing around in our old skin/sins.
Another possibility suggested by my daughter: While that snake was shedding that skin, it was vulnerable. It was out in the open, on top of the needles and branches of the redwood tree, in clear sight of the young hawk that likes to perch nearby, looking for a meal. We’re also very vulnerable when we are shedding old habits, easily drawn back into bad thought patterns and behavior if we are not careful and diligent.
Another thought that occurred to me. Our goodness is only skin deep. We’re still snakes in the grass. Hardly an encouraging or pretty picture, I know. Even when we’ve accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, we possess a sin (snake) nature that constantly tries, and too often succeeds, in causing trouble and grief.
If we want to be protected when we’re vulnerable, take off the old nature and put on the new. If you want a goodness that is deeper than one layer of skin, spend time each day in God’s Presence, in His Word, listening for His voice, and obeying His instructions. We can talk to Him any time and He hears our prayers. We have His promise that we won’t stay as we are (sinners struggling to shed that sin nature). He will slowly strip it all away as He tenderly transforms us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.