You've heard the phrase. And I learned the hard way. "If you mess with a snake long enough, you will get bitten!" I can attest to that now. It's true. But...with a caveat. However, the question still remains: "What do you do after you've been bitten?" This is the question I had to ask God for myself.
I am one who has such a passion for seeing growth in people, that it could lead me into a situation where I want more for others than they want for themselves...or better yet, where I work harder for others than they work for themselves. This sometimes causes me to sacrifice my own livelihood for the sake of their growth. Now, at times this could be a worthwhile interaction. I mean, isn't that what God desires of his people?? To think more highly of others than we do ourselves? Well, yes. AND He also desires to maintain constant communication with us so we can discern His will in each situation. Cause when we don't, we get bit!! (A phenomenon I call "Trying to do good instead of trying to do God!)
The bites we sustain in life may sometimes manifest in life disruptions, lost friendships, losing ourselves in other people, being used and abused, or forsaking our own destiny for what feels good in the moment...to name a few. These situations have all the capability to manifest in anger, revenge, confusion, hurt feelings and in some extreme cases even depression and suicidal ideation. BUT, these emotional responses are not the route we have to go nor is it what God intends us to do after being bitten. Instead, we must offer a sacrifice of JOY!
Psalm 27:6 (KJV) states: "And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.”
That's the answer. Praise God in the midst of trouble by sacrificing your desire to be angry with your intention to be joyful! There's a significant difference between this wise act and the act of being fake and phony. The sacrifice of joy acknowledges God as our divine protector and sustainer. In our times of trouble, it is God who hides us in His pavilion. He is the reason that we can lift our heads high above our enemies. No, it's not about pride in self, but it is about hope in Jesus Christ who (as Christians) is the author and finisher of our faith. The sacrifice of joy acknowledges that joy is not something that comes naturally or automatically in difficult times. We must work hard at it. We must choose to fight our flesh and feed our faith. We must choose to deal with our emotional responses maturely while displaying our faith responses genuinely. That's a hard pill to swallow for most of us...if not, all of us. Why? Because it requires a whole lot of humility and a whole lot of faith. The two things that none of us do very well with.
So, what's the caveat?
Don't mess with the snake on your own terms! IF God gives you a word to share with someone that exhibits "snake-like" behaviors, share it. IF God gives you an assignment to complete with someone you don't trust, finish it in excellence. But be sure to pray, fast and pull out your anointing oil, dust it off and pray over yourself and your "snake" that God's will might be done as He uses you as his vessel. The moment we begin to take things into our own hands, you can trust and believe...the snake WILL bite!