Remember the old westerns? Inevitably, an inexperienced cowboy would be bitten by a venomous rattlesnake and left to die, but then the old wrangler would come along and extract the venom from the bite with his mouth. For the young man to have any chance of survival, the poison would have to be removed. If the venom was not removed, then it would enter the bloodstream and affect every part of his body, causing his imminent death. The problem was not in the bite; it was in the poison.
I recently read a wonderful book that talked about how praise takes the venom out of the attacks of the enemy. The bite may still be there, but it takes the poison out of the bite. You see, it is the toxins of fear, doubt, and worry that poison our faith. Once our faith is contaminated, then we become helpless and ineffective. Just like the snake-bitten cowboy, the toxins move through our mind and emotions, paralyzing us. We no longer can pick up our armor, our sword of the Spirit, our shield of faith, or our shoes of peace. We begin to feel as though we have been left for dead.
A similar situation impacted me recently, and I saw this come to life firsthand. Over the past few months, I have been suffering through some physical problems, and it has been very taxing on my faith. At first, I was full of faith, wielding the sword of the Spirit at every thought and fear. But as time went on, and things grew worse, my faith began to weaken. Small seeds of doubt and worry filtered into my mind, and the “what-ifs” began to surface. I was still holding on to my shield of faith, but I could feel it slipping. With each negative report and each difficult doctor visit, the toxins were slowly seeping into the bloodstream of my faith. At one point, I found myself feeling paralyzed and losing my will to fight the battle. Once my faith had been infected, weariness and discouragement quickly found a home in my soul.
You see, it wasn’t the venom from the physical issues that was causing the problem; it was the venom that was poisoning my faith that was creating the most damage. Remember it’s not the bite; it’s the poison in the bite. Jesus told us in John 16:33 that we would have trouble, but He also said, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are going to have difficulties and situations that “bite” us. But we do not have to accept the venom that comes with the bite. We do not have to succumb to toxic faith any longer because we have a guaranteed antidote…it’s praise.
In the middle of one of my deepest valleys, the Lord sent a word to me and reminded me to praise. I immediately got up in the middle of my despair and put some worship music on. As the music played, I begin to walk through my house singing praise unto God. Although I did not feel like it, I knew that the venom of the enemy had to be extracted from my soul. The more I praised, the better I felt. I began declaring who God is and worshiping Him for His mighty power. I could feel my faith rising; I could feel my joy coming back; and I could feel the peace that passes all understanding pouring over my mind. The bite may still be there, but the poison is gone. Once the poison is gone, then the bite has to heal up.
I don’t know what you are dealing with today, but as you begin to praise, then your faith will be restored. Jesus tells us in Matthew 17 that we can have faith as small as a mustard seed and still move mountains. He says, “Nothing will be impossible for you.” We cannot move mountains with toxic faith, so it’s time to get the venom out! It’s time to get your praise on!
Carmen McLean, an inspirational speaker and author, uses God’s Word, along with her personal experiences to equip and encourage people from all walks of life. Carmen grew up in a pastor’s home, but drugs and addiction tore her family apart; however, God has taught her how to walk victoriously out of the brokenness of her past and into the freedom that He has given. Her latest projects include, an upcoming book, Daddy’s Little Girl, which brings to light the struggles and restoration from a broken past, and her website, www.livingabove.net, which offers practical help for everyday life.