Snakes and Doves
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. — Matthew 10:16
Deer are prey, so they are very wary. Unless they’ve been desensitized by a lot of human contact, they tend to spook easily. Dogs in particular will send them bounding away. Dogs are too much like coyotes and wolves, two of the deer’s natural predators. Even a small dog, smaller than a housecat, walking on a leash will draw the attention of a herd of deer. They may stop and watch it, their heads moving in unison, their big ears looking like synchronized radar dishes. Deer are not stupid. In their own wild way, they are pretty shrewd.
Are we as watchful as those deer?
Do we recognize threats, even small ones, to our well-being? Song of Solomon 2:15 says,
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
So many dangers are easier to catch when they are small, whether it is a little sin, a half-truth, the first whiff of corruption, or any tendency in us that is not pleasing to God.
That doesn’t mean we need to hunker down and barricade ourselves away. We are in the world, though we are not of it. When Jesus told His disciples to be as shrewd as serpents, He was sending them out among the predators — the wolves — of the world. In place of the word shrewd, some other translations use wise, cautious, or cunning. He didn’t want His disciples to be easily duped or harmed.
At the same time, He told them to be as innocent as doves. Other translations use gentle, harmless, or inoffensive. Being shrewd or wise does not mean becoming combative, and innocence does not mean going along with anything and every- thing. It’s quite a balance to strike, isn’t it?
Dear Lord, thank You for the wisdom I find in in Your Word. Help me to remember Your instructions to Your disciples — and to live by them, not hoodwinked by the dangers around me, but staying true to You.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions from the Mountains by Lisa Ham, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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As Christians, we must watch out for what we’re watching, pay attention to what we’re paying attention to, and listen to what we’re listening to, right? We have to evaluate what we’re allowing into our lives, our ears, our hearts, our minds, our eyes, and our bodies and really, deeply ask if it’s God’s best for us. Not in a self-condemning way, but in light of Jesus’ love for us. We want to please Him! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
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