Shake It Off
“And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.” Acts 28:5
The Apostle Paul wrote a full third of the New Testament in letters to the various churches which he, with the guidance and assistance of the third Person of the Godhead, planted amongst the gentile nations. In his epistles, he exhorts the churches to live righteous, holy lives, chasing after Christ full heartedly, following his example. We can see Paul’s example and how he lived out this life of walking in faith written out for us within the book of Acts.
Just like us in this modern day and age, Paul wasn’t living correctly when he started. He thought he was doing just fine, being zealous for God; but, his idea of how to live for God ended up hurting others. So many of us lived our lives the same way. We may or may not have been doing so for God, but we were serving one god or another in the form of idols. Money, prestige, respect, possessions, self gratifications, and whatever else we were living for we treated as our god. In the pursuit of our gods, we hurt those around us (for those of you who would say you weren’t hurting anyone around you, kudos. Know, however, that you were hurting yourself and that is just as bad). We were not living as we should have.
So, how should we live? Well, a general reading of the book of Acts shows us a life in which we see the zealot Saul become the Apostle Paul by doing nothing more than following the Lord. Jesus came to him on that road to Damascus and changed his life. There was an immediate change toward the True God and away from the letter of the law, but it took time for Paul to grow. The letters attest to this fact as he begins the earlier ones referring to himself as an apostle of Christ first, yet in later ones he refers to himself as the lowliest servant. This change was remarkable, yet we can experience the same, which is why this line of scripture, this one single line speaks so many volumes of how to live this Christian life.
Paul had truly met Christ, and as he grew in the Lord, and had learned to trust Him, having been saved from death time and time again, and having been spoken to by the Spirit and by angels, Paul became more and more focused on one single goal. He pushed forward only toward the finish line of seeing Jesus again. So, as the world and the devil (in the form of the viper) attacked him directly (by not only biting his hand, but latching onto him) he noticed it, but simply shook it off. He did not complain. He did not whine. He didn’t even flinch. He simply shook it off into the fire. That fire, in a spiritual sense, was the cleansing fire of the Holy Ghost, removing the afflictions of the world as Paul simply chased after Christ with his whole heart, never letting those trials hold him back from service.
This is how we should live this life. There should be nothing more important than our service, devotion, and dedication to our Lord Jesus. No affliction from this world should ever hold us back. We need only know that the Father allows it, and so, there is purpose behind it. We needn’t know when it will end or how. We need only trust that it will come to an end and it will have served a purpose in God’s plan. He knows. Therefore, we should stay focused upon the guiding hand of God Who leads us through, and just shake off the fear. Shake off the worry of what may happen and know that we serve a good God Whose hand is not there to scold, but to gently soothe our sorrows and comfort our pain.
“I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy Presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:8-11