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Home » Copperheads & Copper Smiths: Bitten in the Line of Ministry Word, Steve Hill

Copperheads & Copper Smiths: Bitten in the Line of Ministry Word, Steve Hill

Staying Steadfast Amidst Spiritual Adversity


Vipers in the Scriptures

In the scriptures, we find a vivid account of an episode where a viper, emerging from the heat, clings to Paul’s hand. While there’s a myriad of interpretations and messages that can be derived from this, my focus today is on the symbolic representation of these vipers. They stand for the unexpected and sudden attacks from spiritual adversaries that can throw us off balance when we least expect it.

Targeting the Engaged and Committed

Such attacks are all too common in our spiritual journey. Paul, in this biblical account, was deeply engrossed in gathering sticks for a fire when this venomous creature fastened itself to him. It’s essential to recognize that it wasn’t a hand in rest that the viper chose. Instead, it was one that was active, engaged, and on a mission. This is metaphorical for our lives – it is often the most engaged and committed individuals that spiritual adversaries target. These vipers of the spiritual realm pay no heed to the idle, the greedy, or those who do not prioritize prayer. Why? Because such hands are already tainted.

The Hands that Tempt Adversaries

However, it’s the hands actively engaged in the Kingdom’s work that these forces seek to attack. Hands that reach out, that work diligently, that serve selflessly – these are the ones that often face the bite of the enemy. Life has taught me that the devil often leaves alone those with idle, clenched fists. Those who hold back, neither giving nor working nor sharing. But those who open their hands to ministry and service? They are prime targets.

Paul’s Unyielding Service

Consider Paul the Apostle for a moment. He was a prisoner. Yet, even in captivity, he was proactive, gathering sticks for the fire. The most inspiring individuals are always those who, regardless of circumstance, find a way to serve, to contribute, to stay active in their faith and commitment. As pastors and leaders, it’s invigorating to be in the company of such spirited individuals.


Facing the Unexpected Bites

Yet, even the most devoted among us aren’t immune to surprise spiritual assaults. Just as we’re gaining momentum, feeling confident in our spiritual journey, an unexpected challenge might strike. It might be a dark thought, an overpowering feeling of despair, or an unforeseen hurdle in our mission. Such challenges, akin to a venomous bite, can halt our progress, fill us with doubt, and test our resolve.

The Poisoned Paralysis of Doubt

I’ve witnessed many fervent believers and ministers who once burned with passion and purpose but are now stagnated, burdened by the paralyzing poison of these spiritual vipers. Once visionary and proactive, they now struggle to find the energy even for a brief moment of prayer.

Paul’s Steadfast Response

To those facing such challenges, I offer this advice: when bitten by these spiritual ‘copperheads’ and harassed by life’s ‘coppersmiths’, do as Paul did. Hand them over to God. Cast them into the purifying flames of faith and prayer. Often, these spiritual adversaries want you to expend all your energy on them, hoping you’ll be too distracted or drained to continue your mission.

However, like Paul, our response should be unwavering faith. Turn over these challenges to divine judgment and continue to walk your path with trust and determination.

Ten Things We Learned:

  1. Symbolism of Vipers: Vipers in the scriptures symbolize unexpected and sudden spiritual attacks that can disrupt our spiritual journey.
  2. Target of Spiritual Adversaries: Spiritual adversaries often target individuals who are engaged and committed in their spiritual journey, not those at rest.
  3. Nature of Attacks: The most committed individuals in their spiritual journey, those actively working for the Kingdom, are often the ones most susceptible to these attacks.

  4. Idle Hands vs Active Hands: While hands that are idle, greedy, or not devoted to prayer may be overlooked, those that are active in service and ministry are prime targets for spiritual adversaries.
  5. Inspiration from Paul: Even in challenging circumstances, such as being imprisoned, Paul remained committed to his service and faith, serving as a model for unwavering commitment.
  6. Facing Spiritual Challenges: Even the most devout believers can encounter unexpected spiritual challenges that test their faith and resolve.
  7. Effects of Spiritual Attacks: These spiritual challenges can lead to feelings of doubt, stagnation, and a diminished drive to pray or serve.
  8. Paul’s Response to Challenges: When faced with spiritual challenges, Paul’s approach was to turn them over to God and rely on unwavering faith.
  9. Advice for Believers: In the face of spiritual attacks, believers should remain steadfast in their faith, handing over challenges to divine judgment and continuing on their path with trust.
  10. Unwavering Faith: The overarching message is the importance of unwavering faith and the need to stay committed to one’s spiritual journey, even in the face of adversity.

Image: Screenshot Together in the Harvest | YouTube

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