Shrewd and Harmless
“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NLT)
It looks like a suicide mission. If Jesus has truly sent his followers into the world as sheep among wolves, what hope do we have? In fact, his following prophetic words (verses 17-20) promise both persecution and power. The wolves will do their worst, but the shepherd will be there with them to accomplish his purposes. The sheep are not as vulnerable as they appear.
Even so, we have to be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. That means we have to know the ways of darkness while living according to light. We have to discern the strategies of the enemy while never resorting to them. We have to recognize the power of evil while living in greater power. Our natural instincts—to return blow for blow, anger for anger, word for word—won’t serve us well. We win by going into a hostile world and demonstrating a thoroughly different spirit.
The ancient serpent has his agendas, and the descending Dove overcomes them. Be careful which spirit feeds you. It isn’t easy to be both shrewd and harmless, but it’s imperative. Don’t be blindsided by darkness, and never step out of the light. Walk through this world with full awareness of evil and firm resolve never to indulge it.
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