“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”- Matthew 10:16
One danger of civilized faith is that we become so domesticated, we begin to live as shrewd as a dove. We are blind to the spiritual nature of life and the unseen reality in which we reside.
Another danger is that we become as innocent as a snake. For far too long, sincere followers of Christ have had to live with the consequences of those who use religion to manipulate others and camouflage hypocrisy.
Jesus made it clear to those who were choosing to be His disciples what kind of leader He was and what kind of followers He required.
It says in John 2:24-25 “But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.”
Jesus both understood the inner parts of man and the spiritual realities which contributed to man’s bondage. He was not fooled by them. He was as shrewd as a serpent! He knew the hearts of man.
Jesus, knowing this, still went to the cross. He still died a sinners death to purify us from our sinful condition. He was in His actions as innocent as a dove.
The expectation Jesus has for His followers is to model His words, actions and behaviour.
Are you using discernment when dealing with people? Do you acknowledge the depravity of man? Are your eyes open to the spiritual realities that are present in your conversations; to the actions of the people around you? Do you recognize what rests in the heart of man? Do you see how utterly vile human nature is without the nature of Christ coming to rest within?
Seeing all you see, knowing all you know, can you turn around and love your neighbour? Is it within your will to love your enemy and to pray for those who persecute you? Can you give sacrificially to those same people who do only what is right in their own eyes?
Do you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform these broken vessels? Do you trust in the blood shed by Christ to wash away the old nature and leave your brothers and sisters spotless and clean?
Jesus asks us to be like Him. Do not be fooled, be as shrewd as a snake, yet in love, be as innocent as a dove.