The Python’s Ploy (Breathing Room – Part 1)

The Rise Of Stress

American stress levels are skyrocketing. Seven out of ten adults feel completely overwhelmed in the United States.

People sleep 2 and a half hours less each night than people did 100 years ago.

The average workload is longer than it was in the 1960’s and an estimated 49.5% of young people have a mental health disorder at some point in their lives.

“Conditions of modern-day living devour margin. If you are homeless, we direct you to the shelter. If you are penniless, we offer you food stamps. If you are breathless, we connect you to oxygen. If you are margineless, we give you one more thing to do.”

Dr. Richard Swinson, Margin

Example Of Being Margineless

Being margineless is being 30 minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were 20 minutes late getting out of the hairdresser because you were 10 minutes late dropping off your kids to school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from the gas station and you forgot your purse.

Margin, on the other hand, is having breath at the top of the staircase, money at the end of the month, and sanity left over at the end of adolescence. Margin is grandma taking the baby for the afternoon and margin is having a friend help carry the burden.

Not having enough time to finish the book you are reading on stress is margineless, while margin is having the time to read it twice. Our culture is margineless. Margine is counter-cultural.

Margin simply means having space in your life and schedule. Being margineless is the disease of the decade and having margin is the cure.

Margin is the space between your load and your limit. Click To Tweet

We all have a load and we all have a limit. It is a common thing in our culture to push an idea that is not biblical or even just common sense that we should break our limits. All of us are finite. We have 24 hours in a day, a certain number of years that we shall live, and we have strengths and weaknesses.

Having margin is having breathing room in your life where your load and limits never meet. In other words, where your expenses and income do not meet.

If you don’t have breathing room in your life, two things will happen: stress levels will go up and relational intimacy, including intimacy with God, will go down. That means that all your relationships become surface level only because it takes room for relationships to flourish. As stress goes up, we begin to develop diseases that would not be there otherwise.

Addressing The Spiritual Root

As Christians, we believe that the world we see was created by the world we don’t see. We believe that the roots of our natural world exist in the spiritual world. When you see a spider’s web, you know there is a spider nearby. When you see a tree, you know there are roots and when you see a human being, you know there is a being inside them – their thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you cannot see. The spiritual world is the real world. If we deal with anxiety, depression, and being overwhelmed only, we are dealing with symptoms in the natural world, without taking care of the spiritual roots of the problem. This can cause us to miss walking in permanent freedom.

For example, someone who hears voices assaulting them does not need only to improve their schedule and planning; they need deliverance. Dealing only with natural problems and symptoms is the same thing as sweeping away a spider’s web without dealing with the spider.

“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.”

Acts 16:16

The Greek word for divination as it is used here is the word, ‘python.’ In the city of Philippi, where this Biblical encounter took place, the locals believed that a giant snake called Python inhabited a site called Delphi in Greece. Python occupied that site until the god Apollo killed Python and took over the area. Thereafter, in the temple of Apollo there, priestesses would fall possessed by ‘the spirit of Apollo’ who would give information to patrons which they received ‘divinely.’ This is similar to modern-day psychics. These priestesses were highly paid and possessed with a spirit of divination or python.

I find it interesting that demons take the nature, role and name of a snake or animal. It is quite common to hear demons making such claims as ‘I am a snake, I am anger’, or ‘I am a spiritual husband’ when they are being cast out in the name of Jesus.

Three Traits Of The Spirit Of Python

These traits found in pythons in nature correspond to demonic tactics used by the enemy against us.

Pythons Can Swallow Their Prey Whole

Pythons have very flexible ligaments in their jaws that enable their mouths to stretch over a large prey. When young, pythons eat rabbits, frogs, rats and similar animals. However, as they get bigger, they no longer waste their time on small prey. At times, they can even wait days in order to find a large enough prey. When they find a suitable prey, the would bite the prey, and then swallow it whole.

Missing Villagers

Watiba, a 51 year old lady went missing while tending her vegetable garden. Her slippers were found not too far from the garden when local people mounted a search and close to them, villagers found a python with a very swollen belly. When they killed the snake and cut it open, they discovered Watiba had indeed been swallowed whole by the python.

I believe that satan’s task is to swallow people alive.

“For the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

One of the ways the enemy carries out this mission is to swallow a person up with the amount of pressure and problems they face until they feel they cannot take it anymore and commit suicide. Suicide is the 11th most frequent cause of death in the USA in total but it is the 2nd highest cause of death among youths up to the age of 34.

Suicide is a permanent, irreversible attempt to solve a temporary problem. Click To Tweet

Suicide is trying to solve something that is temporary by something that is permanent.

The Bible has a lot to say about people who went through very difficult times, and who wanted to give up. One of them was Solomon, who in his pursuit of pleasure, reached a point where he hated life, Ecclesiastes 2:17. Another person was Elijah. He was fearful, depressed, and yearned for death, 1 Kings 19:4. Jonah was another prophet who got so angry with God that he wished to die in Jonah 4:8. Even Apostle Paul and his missionary companions at one point were under great pressure, far beyond their ability to endure so that they despaired of life itself.

The enemy loves to attack our minds with this pressure and then come with his own solution. The enemy’s solution always says that your life and the world would be better if you were not in it. The biggest lie of it is that all your pain will end with your life.

As Christians, we understand that suicide is a sin because it is the murder of self. I have had well meaning Christians ask me if they take their lives as Christians, will they go to Heaven. How I answer these questions is to say you are asking the wrong question. Don’t ask Jesus to meet you on the other side of a known sin you are about to commit. Ask how can Jesus deliver me from committing this sin instead.

Jesus Christ wants to give you hope, not in your funeral but in His death on the cross. Our God gives us life and hope. There is a spirit of death that wants to partner with you when you go through the valley of the shadow of death, divorce, heartbreak, loss or failure. Your salvation is not in the rope, it is in the cross. Our hope is not found in ending it but in going to Jesus and laying our life down before Him.

Pastor Vlad’s Personal Experience

When I was a young man, I also despaired of life. I felt like I was dealt a bad hand and could not see a future for my life. Bombarded by thoughts that I now know were not mine, I thought that everyone would be better off with me not being here. These thoughts made me feel like I was a burden to my family and friends and was abandoned by God. I had extreme migraine headaches, did not like the way I looked, and had severe social anxiety. Unable to change my life, I felt deeply frustrated.

At the age of 14, the idea came to me that I should end my life. How can such a conclusion enter the mind of a 14-year-old? It cannot unless it is planted in their head by somebody else. I did not know those thoughts were not mine but I praise God for the local church and for the Holy Spirit who protected me from this. Those were thoughts and voices from the devil. Satan is after you, and he wants to swallow you whole through suicide. Solution is not found in suicide; solution is only found in Jesus Christ. I have something better that you can do with your life than take it, and that is lay it down before Jesus. That was what Jesus told me. If you say you don’t like your life, give it to Me and watch what I can do with it.

Jesus says that you were born on purpose with a purpose but the purpose is not in you, it is in God. Give your life to Jesus and trust Him. Do not believe the lie that is coming into your mind that your life has no purpose or meaning and the best thing you can do is to end it all.

What the enemy doesn’t tell you is that you are stepping into a Christ-less eternity. By not trusting in Jesus to deliver you from suicide and forgive you of your sin, you only end emotional pain to step into eternal pain. The enemy does not tell you that suicide is selfish because it transfers the pain you feel to your children, family, and friends who do love you. The spirit of death attacking you gains a legal foothold in your family once you commit suicide.

Our God is greater than any mistake you made. Your future is brighter than anything you have done. God Almighty wants you; He delights in your existence. You were born on purpose with a purpose.

If you are walking through a difficult season in your life right now, do not partner with the spirit of death or with lies. It is hard but Solomon learned to fear God and keep His commandments. Elijah was comforted by angels, allowed to rest, and given a new assignment. Jonah received admonition and rebuke from the Lord and Apostle Paul learned that although the pressure was beyond his ability to endure, the Lord can bear all things.

None of these men ended their lives but they finished their race and I prophesy in the name of Jesus Christ, so will you. Your portion will be to be fresh and fruitful even in your old age. You will pass on hope, life, and a bright future to your children. One day, you will look back on this, the hardest part of your life and you will be so thankful that you did not quit because you would not have enjoyed the things you are enjoying today.

Our God makes a way where there is no way but that does not happen if you make an idol out of death. Our solution is not in our death but in His. Jesus’ death was enough; your death is not necessary to end your pain. There is another way, and it is the better way – His way. Jesus is better, deliverance, healing, forgiveness, and salvation is better.

Pythons Squeeze Breath Out Of Their Victims

A python does not kill through venom. Pythons wrap themselves around their intended prey and crush it, tightening its grip as the victim exhales until the last bit of air is expelled. National Geographic said that pythons can actually feel the heartbeat of their victims and know to stop squeezing when the heart stops beating.

A horrifying study suggested that pythons actually kill their prey by squeezing until the victims brain becomes over pressured. Pythons can squeeze their prey much harder than the prey’s blood pressure. This could stop the prey’s bloodflow, killing the being quickly by putting too much pressure on the brain and distorting its nervous system.

If a python cannot swallow the prey whole, they circle around it, and squeeze it until it can no longer breathe. This means that pythons are after your breath. I believe the enemy of our soul not only wants to take our life but our breath. In the Bible, breath is often referred to as life or the Holy Spirit.

Jentezen Franklin’s Seven Signs You Are Being Squeezed By A Python

  1. Loss of hunger for God.
  2. Being physically tired all the time.
  3. Attack of lack.
  4. Struggling or non-existent prayer life.
  5. Old habits making their way back.
  6. Pulling away from the Christian community.

At first, it might just seem like you are going through a phase but if it has been going on for a long time, it is not just a phase; you might be under spiritual attack. If you find yourself just existing, it means something has gone. Breath has gone. You have no breathing room.

This is the devil’s aim. He wants to take your breath, prayer life, love for Jesus, love for life, and desire to be in a Christian community. He wants you to be lifeless. The enemy doesn’t squeeze everything out of you all at once but month by month, year by year, gradually.

We Must Inhale And Exhale

There is something that we must do and that is to keep breathing. Just like you do physically, you need to inhale and exhale frequently. To inhale is to read the Word of God daily. When you read God’s Word, you are inhaling God’s Spirit. The Bible is like air to a Christian – you don’t see it but you cannot live without it. You cannot live without God’s Word.

I preach the Bible, but I don’t read the Bible to preach it; I read the Bible to live. I am a spiritual being that needs to inhale God’s Word.

There is one thing that you can do to exhale and that is prayer.

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.”

Psalm 150:6

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6

In other words, don’t just keep it inside. When you take breath in, you also have to let it out. When a Christian only reads the Bible but they don’t pray, they bottle up their anxieties, frustrations, and hurts. That is not how to overcome them; they will cause you to blow up. Let God know what you feel; pray it out. Men of God often confessed to God, vented to God and thanked God but one thing they did not do is bottle everything up inside themselves. When you bottle everything up inside you, if you get a problem, you will either explode on everybody around you, or bleed on everything you touch.

The practical solution to fight the spirit of python that wants to take your breath is to breathe in God’s Word and breathe out prayer, praise, and thanksgiving to God. That is the rhythm of spiritual life – breathing in God’s Word and breathing out prayer and praise.

Pythons Lay Eggs And Incubate Them Until They Hatch

Female pythons incubate their eggs until they hatch but the eggs require a specific temperature in order to hatch. The snake wraps around its eggs and shivers to raise its body temperature to warm the eggs.

If the enemy cannot swallow you whole or squeeze you out of your spiritual rhythm of prayer and Bible reading, he will try to lay eggs in your mind. This is a very undetected but dangerous attack. Eggs are not snakes but they are potential snakes if they are incubated at the proper temperature.

The Egg Of Doubt

Satan laid the egg of doubt in the Garden of Eden. The devil put a question mark where God put an exclamation mark. Satan will try to put doubts in your mind when you are going through something dark about the things God made very clear in the light. That is doubt.

Doubt is not bad if it leads us to God. Many great men in the Bible, including John the Baptist struggled with doubt but they did not let their doubts hatch.

Doubt is questioning your faith, unbelief is being determined to not believe. Doubting is a struggle faced by the believer, unbelief is the condition of the unbeliever. Doubt says, I can’t believe; I need more proof. Unbelief says, I will not believe in spite of the proof. Unbelief is stubborn while doubt is honest. Doubt is looking for the light; unbelief is being content with the darkness. Doubt is born out of a troubled mind and a broken heart. Unbelief is an act of will. Jesus helps doubters but He cannot tolerate unbelief.

Great men of God had doubts. Doubt happens when things happen that you did not expect or things that you were expecting did not happen.

Overcome Doubt By:

Don’t distance from the Christian community because doubt feeds on isolation.

Focus on what God has done. We tend to focus on what is not happening in our lives which will only increase our doubt. But if we focus on what God is doing, it increases our faith.

Remember how much Jesus loves you. Jesus showed Thomas the marks that his sin left on Jesus and all Thomas’ doubts vanished. Jesus’ stripes heal our sickness; His scars heal our doubts. His stripes bring healing; His scars bring hope.

Call on Jesus in your doubt. When Peter began to sink into the sea after walking on water, he called on Jesus. God does not mind if we doubt as long as we seek answers from Him.

Speak God’s Word against the devil who brings doubts. Eve engaged in a conversation with satan. Jesus engaged in a confrontation with satan. When the doubt is persistent, rise up against it and command it to go in the name of Jesus Christ.

Every person will go through seasons of doubt where they discover their faith. If you turn to God, you will find Jesus to be worthy of your trust. You have to trust in the Lord and place your faith in Him with the help of the Holy Spirit.

If you are watching what is happening in the church and in the world today, and the enemy plants a seed or an egg, if you press into the Lord, read His Word and pray for Him to reveal Himself to you, you will come to the same conclusion that the heroes of faith did that Jesus Christ is worthy of your trust. Don’t incubate python eggs in your mind by taking those thoughts and doubts to where you won’t get the right answer. Don’t just Google your faith. Go where you will find the solution. Don’t incubate those eggs by leaving the church or Christian community, good people in your life who can guide you and help you to get through to the proper path.

Watch The Full Sermon Here: