Devotional: April 19th
One North American mammal that has always fascinated me is the opossum. It is the answer to the age old question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" To show the opossum that it could be done. When you see an opossum lying on a road surface you can reasonably be sure it is dead in spite of the popular story that opossum's "play dead" when they are frightened. That just isn't the case for one on the road.
When an opossum is confronted by an enemy, most likely a predator (opossums are more likely to consider something that will eat it an enemy as opposed to something that just wants to visit), it is very afraid. Opossum's are not agressive animals, and are ponderously slow, therefore it is not really looking to fight. It will hiss and growl and show its abundantly blessed mouthful of fifty teeth to try to impress the attacker.
If that doesn't work it will emit a foul odor, vomit or even defecate in an effort to disinterest its attacker's intentions. Sometimes that works. However, for those predators that are persistent, and obviously more hungry than smart, the opossum has one more weapon. It passes out. It's not a game that they deliberately play, it is an involuntary reaction. This comalike state consists of a dropped heart rate, lower body temperature and drooling. The predator thinks its dead and passes on the meal.
We could learn quite a bit from the opossum. His "play dead" routine is not an act. It is a protection mechanism God gave him to save his life. "Likewise you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts." Romans 6:11, 12 This is our protection mechanism. We don't have to play dead or pass out, we are, in Christ Jesus, dead to sin.
Since we are dead to sin we should be able to flee from it as God has rendered it motionless for our benefit. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
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