Discern or be bitten!

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Genesis 3:6

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This is the Kiz Kulesi Lighthouse. Kiz Kulesi is Turkish for Maiden’s Tower. It is located on a small islet off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey.  The original tower was built during the Byzantine era (1110). It was made of wood and protected by a stone wall. Centuries later, its structure was compromised due to damages caused by an earthquake and then a fire. It has been restored a few times since then and today this 30 feet concrete tower houses a popular high-end café and restaurant.

Legend has it that a prophecy was given to a sultan regarding the imminent death of his daughter on her 18th birthday. The oracle declared that she would die as a result of a venomous snake’s bite. In order to protect her from the prophesied tragedy, he sent her to live in this lighthouse which he built miles away from the mainland where snakes lived. On the day of her birthday, the sultan came to visit his daughter with a bountiful fruit basket. Believing that the prophecy had been broken the daughter reached for a fruit and was fatally bitten by a deadly serpent that had managed its way into the basket. As a result of the sorrow he endured for losing his daughter, the tower was named Kiz Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower).

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This legend serves as an analogy for our spiritual life. The lighthouse represents Christ, the Maiden represents us Christians (living in the Light), and the viper in the basket represents sin, which can “hide” itself among the seemingly good (or “not so bad”) things we allow to enter into our hearts.  

Living in the light of Christ is being guided by and resting in the assurance of His saving grace. His light illuminates our spiritual walk and keeps us from stumbling during our journey. However, we should never take this light for granted. In other words, we must not let our spiritual defenses down simply because we are living under God’s grace. As children of light, we are not exempt from temptation nor from falling prey to the wiles of the devil, the world, and the flesh (old nature). Nor are we immune from reaping the consequences of sinful choices. That is why we must constantly walk alert and remain vigilant against the unexpected attack of the enemy of our souls; an attack that can eventually cost us more than we are willing to lose in a spiritual battle. We need to be careful with tempting fruits (ideas, desires, passions) that are appealing to the eye, but which can hide venomous snakes (sin) that will strike at the first opportunity and leave us mortally wounded physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

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And yes, in Christ we do have the antidote to the bite of sin, but the consequences of being bitten may be irreparable or at least result in a very long recovery time. 

Discernment is the ability to properly discriminate or make determinations. For that reason, in order to rightly discern a situation, we need to know and believe in the Word of God.

a1For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12

Every believer should earnestly want and seek discernment.

rk22.jpg“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” -Hosea 14:9.

In order to foresee and rightly deal with a potential spiritual pitfall, we need to exercise true discernment. It is the only thing that can allow us to rightly differentiate good from evil and best from merely good.  In this sense, not only can discernment save us, but it can also reward us with security.

a2“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” -Proverbs 3:21-24.

Just as Solomon sought discernment and wisdom to make right and wise choices so should believers seek the wisdom and discernment that comes from God. 

a3“Give your servant, therefore, an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” -1 Kings 3:9

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” -Philippians 1:9 

 “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” -Hebrews 5:14

“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” -Psalm 119:125.

Without discernment, we end up struggling unnecessarily. Without discernment, we make choices that can hurt ourselves and others. Without discernment, we rush into decisions that we later regret. Without discernment, we reach out for what is seemingly good (or godly) and end up disappointed, discouraged, and defeated. Why take the chances? We must learn to discern or be bitten! 

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Prayer: Lord, grant me the wisdom to make the right choices in my daily life. Wisdom to properly discern those things that are detrimental to my spiritual as well as my physical well-being. Help to me to stay vigilant against the enemy and his schemes. May I walk in your light so that everything I say, think, and do bring glory and honor to your name. I trust and commit to your Word so that it can keep me from being bitten by the deceitfulness of this world. In the name of your Son, Jesus, Amen. 

-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.
CREDITS
A Grape Gatherer (Painting) by Helene Beland [Photoshop edited]
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11 thoughts on “Discern or be bitten!

  1. Really important stuff right there. Thanks for sharing. I think many Christians think they can do it alone and the thing is they cannot!! We need others in our lives to heap us with the things you have written about above. Romans 12:1-2 is huge when it comes to our individual walks as well. I like the way you write!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thank God for our Savior. Jesus has done the work and has delivered us from the wages of sin, which is death. Jesus continues to be with us. I love this quote, “His light illuminates our spiritual walk and keeps us from stumbling during our journey. ” I am grateful that I’m walking and sometimes stumbling in this journey with you! Wonderful devotional and wonderful analogy. Love you sweetheart. Your wife, Mari.

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  3. Wow! Talk about a great read! And conviction on top of it? You nailed it! This story was intriguing; I knew the poor young girl was going to get bitten in that lighthouse! Your analogy and lesson were both excellent: If sin gets a hold of us, it will have an effect on us, no matter how far we run or how well we hide! The verse that comes to my mind, along with the ones you placed so well within this post, is “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:11:12). Though God can find us anywhere, I’m so thankful for Jesus, who helps us discern the evil snake from the good fruit, and Whom makes good out of our mistakes! Good thing God is already waiting with us there in the dark, or we’d have no hope at all when the snake finds us in the lighthouse!

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    1. Thank you, Angela, for taking the time to read my post and for the encouraging comments. Yes, thanks to our Savior who is always there to tend to us, especially if/when we are bitten. May we remain sensitive to the voice of His Spirit so that we may be able to discern what is of God and what isn’t. Keep shining His light sister!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! I’m so thankful for the gift of discernment, but it’s true we need to remain sensitive to the voice of The Holy Spirit, because God loves us enough to warn us ahead of time! I’m looking forward to reading more of your work, Joe! Shine bright as well, in Jesus’ name! 😊

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  4. I just love my Father’s promises. But many are “conditional”: Psalm 91:9 – Because you have made the Lord your refuse {Your LIGHTHOUSE], and the Most High your dwelling place, (vss. 10-11) There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in ALL your ways [of obedience and service]. I added in brackets, “your LIGHTHOUSE” to tie in your thoughts. I particularly love Psalm 91 and your wonderful descriptions are given in this post regarding venomous serpents: “You shall tread upon the lion and the adder…(vs. 13) and then the why’s, in verse 14: “Because he {MEL, JOE} has set their LOVE upon Me, therefore I will deliver them…”

    THANKS again, Joe for the visuals you always give in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for this GREAT POST Bro Joe.
    Tragic story about the death of this Sultan’s daughter. They did all they could to avoid the fulfilment of the prophesy . They obviously spent a lot of money and time to built the tower as a precaution to avoid the prophecy but in the end they let their guard down by taken for granted the seemingly small areas- like the fruit basket. That is what the Bible called the ‘little forces’ that ruin the vineyards( Song of Solomon 2:15). It would be tragic also if we believers do well in avoiding the so called BIG SINS i.e Murder, Fraud, etc, but let our guard down by practising the so called SMALL SINS i.e lies, unforgiveness, malice, etc, which could also sting us to death. With God, sin is sin ! . May God help us to take every warning in the Bible seriously at all times. God bless

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Richard. Yes, may the Lord help us to remain sensitive to the voice of the Spirit and may we take heed to the warnings, especially those little vipers (sins) that so easily entangle and bite! (Hebrews 10:1) Blessings to you and yours my brother!

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