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Concerning snakes and shoes and authority

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Luke 10:19

…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace… Ephesians 6:15

I had a ringside seat to an unthinkable feat when I was five—a literal, but very unintentional, snake-treading. And like all stories coming out of the early 60’s, this one had a happy ending…for everyone, that is, but the villain—the snake. But unlike other heroes of that era, our heroine’s “white hat” was a pair of sturdy boondockers.

Concerning snakes and shoes:

When I was a little girl, my mom took my sister and me shoe shopping. Easter was around the corner, but we weren’t looking for Easter shoes. We weren’t looking for sandals; we weren’t looking for Keds; we weren’t even looking for saddle shoes. We were shopping for what my folks called boondockers—leather hiking boots that came up over the ankles.

My parents had just leased a cabin in the woods for weekend excursions, and the land around there was “snaky”. Dad and my brother already owned boots, but we girls were bootless and needed to shop.

I remember the consternation of the salesman as he measured our feet for the boondockers. He was beside himself, trying to persuade us that what we really wanted were cute little patent leather shoes for Easter.

“No,” my mom insisted. “My girls need boondockers.” She would have been more thoughtful had she explained to the “Mr. Whipple” look-alike serving us that we needed snake protection for our country place, but I think Mom rather enjoyed shocking him. It was 1960; little girls didn’t wear such footwear.

After much hemming and hawing on the part of our flustered salesman, we were outfitted with our boots; and as we left the shoe store, my five-year-old mind imagined snakes snapping at the thick leather and I hoped they would respect the boundary at the top of my boot and politely limit their strikes to below the line.

I was faithful to lace up my boondockers every time I wandered out into snake country. Everyone in the family was. One day the five of us went out to pick the blackberries which grew wild all over the place. Each of us was armed with a cleaned out, empty paint bucket in anticipation of the bounty awaiting us. (I always ate more berries than fell into the bucket on these excursions.)

A huge patch of them twined chaotically by the side of a dirt road running down to the river. I was by Mom’s side as the family spread out, picking and plunking away, when suddenly she squealed, sucking in a lung-full of air and leaping sky high.

“I just stepped on a cat’s tail!” she gasped. “Jinks didn’t follow us out here, did he?!” She was referring to our big black and brown striped feline family member who always accompanied us on our country weekends.

My dad started poking in the berry brambles, “Here, Jinks! Kitty, kitty, kitty!” And then he jumped back. “Freda, you stepped on a copperhead!”

Sure enough, hidden under the blackberry brambles was a large copperhead with a squashed head. Dad poked it with a stick to make sure it was dead, and it was dead. Very dead. Terminated. By Mom—or rather, by her highly lethal, boondockered foot.

Awed, we all huddled around the carcass for a closer look. There it was, beautiful copper body with telltale dark brown hourglass-like markings up and down its spine, with a smashed—and very dead—copper head.

I am often reminded of this snapshot from my childhood. You see, I am witness to a literal serpent-treading. Mom was outfitted in the proper footwear, and although she had been unaware of the viper’s presence, she hit the bulls-eye. With one step she stopped the serpent, dead in its track.

Concerning authority in Christ:

We have authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm us. We just need to keep our feet shod with the proper footwear—our authority in Christ and the preparation of the gospel of peace. As we live our lives mindful of the truth, we will do damage to the enemy simply by obeying God.

So often we fear the “what if’s” of life and become incapacitated: “What if I miss God?”. Do you belong to Christ? Have you prayed? Are you in the Word? Do you walk in love? Then step out without fear. Your Father will lead you, and if you miss it, He’ll guide you out of that place and over to the right place. It’s far simpler than we believers of the 21st century have made it.

And I believe concerning you—an everyday Christian—that it’s very likely you have a trail of viper carcasses littering the path behind you. You have been outfitted to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and as you’ve obeyed God in your life—even in the everyday, mundane tasks—I believe there’s a good chance that you have destroyed demonic schemes without even realizing it.

Next time Satan attempts to debilitate you with “what if’s” and seeks to intimidate you away from your adherence to God, just remember my mom’s boondockered feet and the squashed copperhead: Step out, obey God, and know that He will be faithful to guide you and to bring light to your path.

But don’t forget your boots. It’s snaky out there!


The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Romans 16:20


© 2014, Dorothy Frick