You cannot work effectively for Christ unless you are willing to take the risks involved. Jesus warned about the risks of encountering serpents.

I say this kindly, but the Bible says that the wicked are like poisonous serpents, and we must be snake handlers. I think it is significant that the Bible calls Satan “that old serpent” (Revelation 12:9). And Christ promised, “They shall take up serpents…” (Mark 16:18).

Jesus said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in” (Luke 14:23). But in Ecclesiastes we are warned: “…whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him” (10:8). The hedges are filled with serpents, yet as fishers of men, we are told: “If he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11).

Soul winners are promised “…and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them…” (Mark 16:18). This refers to a missionary’s or other believer’s accidentally imbibing a poison, but there is something far greater hidden in this Scripture. Just as surely as Christians drink of the blood of Christ—the river of life, of his divine love and beauty—we unconsciously drink also of the poison of this world when we go out to preach the gospel.

We absorb so much of the spirit of this world, we take such deadly things into our spiritual lives, that unless we receive Holy Ghost protection I do not see how Christian workers can go where sinners are. You cannot help drinking in some of these unmentionable things into your spirit. But if you drink any deadly thing while you are going after serpents in the power of Christ, the poison will not hurt you. When the Lord began to show me this truth, I would go home and pray, and I could feel the breath of the Holy Spirit pouring through my system. The poison would just drain out and I could stand up cleansed and pure—unharmed.