As Serpents and Doves
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” - Matthew 10:16 (NASB)
Observing current world events, it seems that there are many wolves in our midst which come in many forms. As a result of this, speaking the truth of Christ can and will be challenged by those who believe that Christ is not the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Forwarding ahead in this verse, we read the part that tells us to be “shrewd as serpents” which prompted me to search how one would behave like a serpent in these times since snakes are generally seen as evil.
When I think of a snake, I feel a pit in my stomach, I see images of fangs, a rattling tail, slithering, me running, and I hear my young nephew’s voice (in my head) yelling, “Get off my wand!” - aka land. My imagination takes on a new life far from what I believe scripture intended. Therefore, I looked up some positive facts on snakes and learned that snakes are observant, they prefer to be left alone vs striking. They have heat sensors near their nose, they hiss, they eat pesky rodents, and insects.
With this knowledge my side-tracked wild imagination still wandered off to a scene of me being challenged or threatened by others and reacting by showing my fangs and hissing as a show of disapproval. Not what I believe Jesus had in mind.
In all seriousness, I squeamishly say, snakes are useful and rid the world of creatures that can be destructive. When we become shrewd/wise as serpents we can sense false beliefs from those who would want to purposefully misrepresent the truth of Christ or have a cause to be destructive.
It’s good to seek wisdom from the Lord before reacting to opposition (James 1:5) and allowing the Spirit of God to give us His words in the face of the wolves, “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you,” - Matthew 10:19-20 (NASB)
I think by being aware of the wolves and their tactics we can better discern when to strike up a conversation, be silent, leave the scene, or speak as the Lord leads in His truth.
Father, You knew what the disciples were going to face as they shared Your truth, You knew there would be harsh opposition and false teachers who would try to stop them. Thank you that You are with us today as we face the wolves who would try to silence us. Teach us how to be shrewd and balanced with gentleness as we share You with the world.
This devotion by author, Terrie Miles, is exclusively and solely shared with permission to New Beginnings Church. Any unauthorized printed reproduction, sharing or use of this material is prohibited.