“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
In John 15:18, during the last supper Jesus reminded the disciples that “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first”. The ways and the will of God and man have long since diverged. So much so that those of us who are disciples of Jesus are now like prey amongst the predators. At times it can seem as if there are no longer any more safe places for us in this world. Jesus knew this and so he left the disciples with this poignant proverb.
“Therefore be as shrewd as snakes.” This can be often misinterpreted because of the negative cultural and spiritual preconceptions many of us have about snakes. But Jesus means here that as Christians living in this world we ought to have the guile and craftiness of a snake. As snakes often live amongst people and many other animals but out of the view of everyone, we too should be living amongst the world but be careful of how we do so (particularly in places where it is dangerous for us to be known as followers of Jesus). This is not to say we should be living sneakily but rather with intention of how we move and are seen.
“…and as innocent as doves.” Our lives should reveal an abided relationship with the Lord which is one that is holy and pleasing to Him. We should have nothing to hide in the way we live. Our actions should be holy and our interactions with the world should be a reflection of that. As that of the grace of a dove in flight our lives should seen as such to others.
As odd as it is to be likened to two creatures of seemingly opposite characteristics; as a snake and a dove; it is the same to be a Christian in this world. Knowing and feeling the spiritual world yet living in this one. Living and abiding to the Law of God and yet submitted to the authority of our earthly sovereignties. This is a tricky balance to hold, do you find that you lean more to one than the other?
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in your current situation
Pray for specific people you know; neighbors, friends or those you see when you walk. Or, pray for opportunities to get to know your neighbors better.