Shake Off the Beast
By: Greg Mohr
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand…And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.Acts 28: 3, 5
Paul had been through a lot in the days preceding this account. He was beaten and thrown in jail. He was kept there unfairly for two years because the Roman leaders were trying to be politically correct and please the Jews. Finally, Paul had to appeal to be judged before Caesar in order to avoid being returned to Jerusalem and condemned unjustly or killed on the way.
On the journey to Rome, their ship got caught in a great storm. After fourteen days, the ship broke up, and all 276 men on board made it to an island safe and sound. What a miracle, and what a season of bad days Paul had been through. He had suffered tremendously because he was simply obeying God and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After all of this, a poisonous viper fastened itself on Paul’s hand. Notice Paul’s response to this most recent demonic attack against his life:
“He shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm”Acts 28:5
I know many people who would have crumbled long before this, facing all the difficulty Paul faced. Paul did not throw his hands up in despair and cry, “Why me, God?” Neither did he blame God. He didn’t even ask, “Where are you, God?” or whine and complain about his trouble like many Christians do when going through a hard time. He just shook the beast off into the fire and went on.
Too many times, we regard too highly the attacks of the enemy against us. Some people milk these attacks for all the attention and sympathy they can get out of them. I am convinced we would walk in a much higher dimension of victory if we chose to regard what God is doing in our lives more highly than what the enemy is doing. Instead of talking about the problems, difficulties, trials, and pains you are experiencing, talk about how big and great and good and faithful your Heavenly Father is to you.
Then, like Paul, just shake the beast off into the fire and keep walking on with God.
Two brief qualifiers I want to share with this message. First, I am not implying that we should be less than compassionate toward our brothers and sisters who are going through a tough season of events in their lives. Each of us has experienced seasons of “evil days” (Eph. 6:13), and we certainly need encouragement and support from the church during these times—not judgment and condemnation. Second, I do believe it is appropriate when we are going through difficult times to take the time to seek the Lord and ask Him to show us if we have given place to the enemy in some area of our lives that we are not aware of. But the reality is, we can become too introspective, placing too much focus on ourselves or on the enemy rather than making much of the Lord!
Paul was able to walk in this kind of confidence and low regard for what the devil was doing because he valued God’s Word and God’s vision for his life more highly. He had heard clearly from the Lord that he must be brought before Caesar (Acts 27:23–25). He knew he could not die from this venomous viper and fulfill his purpose. So he just shook the beast off into the fire.
There is so much that happens in our lives that opposes God’s purpose for us. Instead of making that our focus, we just need to regard it lightly—“our light affliction”(2 Cor. 4:17–18). Don’t focus on it or magnify it. Rather, magnify God and His revealed purpose for your life. Then, shake off that beast and walk on to fulfill the will of God!
Greg Mohr is a conference speaker and author of several books. He is known for being an instructor who shares from his heart, teaching several core classes at Charis such as Operating in God’s Best, Prosperity God’s Way, and The Fruit of the Spirit. Previously, Greg served as senior pastor of River of Life Church in Decatur, Texas for twenty-four years. He is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and has earned a master’s degree in leadership from Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Oklahoma. Greg is married to his best friend, Janice. Together they have four children and twelve grandchildren.