Wise as Serpents; Gentle as Doves

We who are Believers and Followers of Jesus Christ are not simply disliked, we are hated by those who are not of us. And do not accept everyone around you simply because they call you ‘friend’ for if they are not of us, they are, indeed, against us. If they do not follow after the teachings and follow the same they are in abject defiance of Him and everything Christians are about. For this reason we are to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.

“I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of people, because they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 And you will be brought before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them and to the Gentiles. 19 Whenever they hand you over for trial, do not worry about how to speak or what to say, for what you should say will be given to you at that time. 20 For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:16-20. We live in darkness and carry His light into it, and He has knowingly sent us into a world of evil-doers. Our task is daunting, but not impossible for we are empowered, prepared and protected by His Spirit. We are His ambassadors.

Obedience Before Rest

Our adversaries are all around us and we must use the wisdom given us in the manual we have been given and respond with the gentleness displayed by our Master, but there is more. We must also be prepared as steel refined by the fire of the Holy Spirit. This is no easy task that we have been chosen to follow. We are in a battle which requires us to be prepared and afterwards we will find His rest if we have been in obedience to His commands. For this reason we have been told to put on the entire armor of God, surrounding our hearts and minds with the Sword of the Lord, the Word of God which is, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4:12-13. Rest does come, but not until we have obediently entered the fight.

Many amongst us are NOT followers of the Christ, but are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They like to call themselves ‘Christian’ because this provides them acceptance by many who simply cannot bring themselves to admit that they have friends who really are not their friends. We who are Followers of Jesus Christ are on a far different path than others with whom we are friends and, perhaps, even family. Jesus said this about the contrast,

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword! For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39.

Our eternity is found in Jesus Christ and not in the temporal and physical life on earth. We will discover that family really is not family in every case and friends are not who they may seem to be. We must now choose to obey Christ and follow Him. We must love Him more than any one person. We must choose to defend Him, to love HIm as we obey Him. He is our Lord. We must, therefore, be as wise as serpents and as gentle as Doves. We must not allow friendships to overshadow our obedience to the commands given by Jesus Christ.

Jesus remains Lord.

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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