What Does That Look Like?—Day 4
Matthew 10: 16
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”
How often have we heard, “We do not repay evil with evil, but overcome evil with good?” To be sheep in the midst of wolves, we are certain to find ourselves in challenging situations—situations where our flesh will struggle not to interfere and respond to an offense.
We are bound to face rough days because of who we are in Christ. However, Christ has not left us in a hostile world without assistance; we, who are His, have the Holy Spirit and the word of God. And He says to us, “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
What does that look like, “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves?” This is a combination we do not see often enough. Craig Blomberg said, “We often invert the two, proving to be as guilty as serpents and as stupid as doves!”
Our devotional passage challenges us to be both innocent and shrewd at the same time. Therein lies our problem, when we are innocent we often fail to be shrewd; and when we seek to be shrewd, we often neglect to be innocent.
As sheep, we are vulnerable. However, Christ instructs us to be shrewd and to be innocent. As the Lord’s sheep, however, we are not to be gullible. Moreover, there is no need to repay evil with evil; but as believers, we should repay evil by being shrewd and innocent.
The word shrewd in Greek is, phrŏnimŏs, fron´-ee-mos; the word speaks of one who is marked by the exercise of good judgement or common sense in practical matters.
The word innocent in Greek is, akĕraiŏs, ak-er´-ah-yos; which is to be free of guilt and sin.
The word innocent also comes from a word that literally means unmixed; it refers to the purity of intention. In our dealing with wolves, let us be pure in our want of good for them and use good judgement in our handling of them.
As sheep we care for the souls of men even those who are our enemies.
Question: Are you concerned for the souls of those who are hostile towards you?
Lord, thank you for not leaving us without some practical advice when confronted by hostile enemies, Amen.