Recently I had the opportunity to drive down to one of my favorite spots, the Sandhills of NC, to look for wildlife. I was fortunate enough to find a snake I had previously only longed to find. The Southern Hognose snake, similar to the western hognose that I use in my programs. Like all hognose snakes, this guy puts on an amazing threat display and it did not disappoint. These guys are getting increasingly more rare in NC due to habitat loss and other issues like invasion of fire ants in their habitat. I look at these amazing animals and thank God for his creativity. Only a loving designer could create such a remarkable animal!
We took a trip to Southern Pines, NC to look for reptiles and amphibians and were pleasantly surprised to find a male and female pair of Eastern Hognose snakes (Heterodon platirhinos) right next to one another. They both showcased their defense mechanisms of spreading their necks, mock striking, hissing, and eventually rolling over to play dead. Isn’t God awesome for creating such an amazing animal!!
A Hognose Snake Plays Dead, Do You?
Have you ever had the opportunity to see a hognose snake? They have quite the display when they are threatened. When a hognose snake is startled it will hiss, spread its neck to appear larger and even venomous. They will sway back and forth like a cobra and mock strike at their aggressor. If all of that fails they simply play dead. They roll over on their back, stick out their tongue and produce the foulest of musk. They look dead, feel dead and even smell dead. For most predators this display will convince them not to eat the hognose and move on their way. Once the threat is gone the snake rights itself and crawls away.
How many times do we as Christians play dead in the sight of the predator of our souls, the devil? We know the commands of Christ to love one another and make disciples but we sit idly by and play dead in the pews or in our homes knowing that there needs to be action with our faith. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James goes on to say in chapter 2:14 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?”
Thankfully our salvation is a free gift and we don’t have to earn it to be assured a place in heaven, but there are so many out there that are in desperate need of this saving faith that we have. Jesus wants us to have faith and to back our faith up with good deeds. We need to be truly living out his teaching and commands. If we just hear the word but do not do it are we living out this Christian life to the fullest or are we just playing dead? A hognose snake plays dead, do you?
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