“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 NIV
In today’s verse, Jesus is sending out the 12 disciples. He has given them authority to drive out impure spirits and heal every disease (Matthew 10:1 NIV). This is part of His send off speech for His boys. Jesus is saying, be on guard, people will try to deceive you. People will try to manipulate you. People will try to get you off track from your mission. Jesus is telling them, be aware. Don’t be like the people of the world, be like Me.
Jesus understood that we are all wolves. “Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4 NIV). We all have evil thoughts. My husband and I are golfers. In golf, every time I tally my score, I have evil thoughts. “I know the putt didn’t drop in, but it really should have. I’m not going to count that stroke.” Golf is a self-regulating sport. No one is watching you. The easiest way to improve your golf score is to lie. Every golfer has the same battle. We have the choice to lie or tell the truth. To be innocent as doves, we need to tell the truth. We need to understand the consequences of lying and how easy it is to lie. That is being shrewd like a snake. When we tell the truth, when we count all of our strokes, that is being innocent as a dove. Shrewd as a snake, innocent as a dove.
Shrewd as a snake, innocent as a dove.
The center verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans” (NIV). The psalm is thought to have been written by David. David knew where to place his trust, because he had overcome giants. David knew where to place his focus because he had known victory because of God’s help. David knew there was only one place to take refuge, and that is in God. We can learn from David’s wisdom how to be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves. The answer is simple, keep our eyes on Jesus. Trust in Him, He will lead the way. He will be shrewd for us, He will help us be innocent as doves. We just have to stay focused on Him.
When I give my honest score in golf, I’m staying focused on Him. When we forgive the person who hurt us, we’re keeping our eyes on Him. When we set healthy boundaries with unhealthy people, we’re keeping our eyes on Him. When we help others grow, we’re keeping our eyes on Him. When we realize, without Jesus, we can do nothing, we’re keeping our eyes on Him. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we’ll be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.
Question of the Day?
How can you keep your eyes on Jesus today?
Further Reading: Genesis 30:1-31:16 NIV, Matthew 10:1-23 NIV, Psalm 12:1-8 NIV,