Bible, Theology

Live Like a Limpet


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English Riviera

Back in the day, one of the best summer-time things to do was to roll down Headland Park Road on our mountain bikes and go crabbing in the rock pools of the English Riviera. We’d raid the ‘fishing box’ (an old Wall’s ice cream container) and arrive at the big pools with a bright orange H-shaped crabbing line.

Then all we needed was bait.

The sea-wall surrounding the big rock pool was covered in thousands of Limpets and we just needed one decent-sized specimen to get some crab action. But, unless you knew what you were doing, you were never going to get a Limpet.

Limpets have the ability to sense movement when predators (Seagulls and little boys) are near and respond quickly by clinging furiously to the rock underneath when they sense danger. Limpets have a protective outer shell and a sucking mechanism that makes getting them off virtually impossible. (Without a hammer…but then they’d be squashed…which is pointless).

However, there is one way to get the Limpets off the rock to expose their soft under-belly and to then use a knife to kill/scoop them out onto the hook of your line:

You chain your bike up quietly on the railing of the promenade and shimmy down the slanted wave-breaker with a pen-knife in your pocket. Once you’ve managed to open the said pen-knife against the amalgam of sand, salt and previous year’s crab remains, you set yourself quietly, like a great cat in the tall grass of the Serengeti, ready to pounce.

preston seafront

Speed and accuracy are now what’s required. If you manage to quickly and precisely assault the unsuspecting Limpet, prising it’s outer shell from it’s rocky refuge, it will pop off immediately. If you miss the best angle or if you don’t quite catch it with enough force, the Limpet will respond immediately, clinging to the rock, remaining impervious to any further attempts.

Limpet Lessons & Romans 8

Twenty five years later, I realise that the Limpet provides a powerful lesson for standing against the devil and his schemes of temptation that threaten to make us vulnerable and even to bait and gut us:

  • Limpets anticipate attack from predators
  • Limpets respond quickly when they sense danger
  • Limpets cling to their rocky refuge with impressive force
  • Limpets have a hard exterior and a soft interior

Romans 8 talks about setting your mind on what the Spirit desires…’ (as opposed to what the flesh wants) which I am convinced is the only way of combating our Tempter and Accuser, the devil.

  • Assume a state of mind that anticipates temptation, regardless of how you might feel at any given moment, either strong or weak. (This is different to living in a paranoid state of ‘here a devil, there a devil, everywhere a devil, devil’)
  • When you sense temptation, work on cultivating a reflex response in your heart and mind away from the temptation to the ‘thing’ that the Spirit desires. It has to be lightning quick which is why memorising scripture is awesome.
  • Cling to Jesus. When the devil prowls around like a roaring lion from 1 Peter 5, let him. Just cling to Jesus in your heart and mind knowing that only in His power can you stand. (Your Rock will not allow you to be tempted beyond that which you can bear but will provide a way out…[see 1 Corinthians 10:13])
  • Developing this hard exterior doesn’t harden your heart – it protects your heart from callousing to the effects of sin and temptation.

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