Wise and Harmless - Shrewd and Innocent


*   (Mat 10:16-28 NIV)  I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. {17} "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. {18} On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. {19} But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, {20} for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. {21} "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. {22} All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. {23} When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. {24} "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. {25} It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Be-el-ze-bub, how much more the members of his household! {26} "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. {27} What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. {28} Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

*   (Mat 10:16 KJV)  Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.


Are serpents wise or shrewd? Are doves innocent or harmless? Symbolically the serpent can refer to satan and satan is certainly shrewd. You might even say wise but not in a good way. The dove is a symbol of peace and representative of the Holy Spirit. Satan is our enemy while the Holy Spirit is our protector.


So we could conclude we need know our enemy and be able to anticipate his trickery. We should block each jab satan takes with the truth of God and the power that comes from His Holy Spirit. So not only do we need to know our enemy but we must also know our defender by the Holy Spirit.

*   (1 Pet 5:6-11 NIV)  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. {7} Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. {8} Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. {9} Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. {10} And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. {11} To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.


Here we see again the same warning but in a different form. This time like a lion! Watch for him in all of his guises. He is shrewd : Resist him.  God is your salvation. There is no other.


*   (2 Cor 11:14-15 NIV)  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. {15} It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

*   (Mat 7:21 NIV)  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

*   (Mat 7:15-16 NIV)  "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. {16} By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

*   (Mat 24:3-5 NIV)  As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" {4} Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. {5} For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many.

*   (Mat 26:41 NIV)  "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

*   (Mark 12:38-40 NIV)  As he taught, Jesus said, "Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, {39} and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. {40} They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."

*   (Mark 13:31-37 NIV)  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. {32} "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. {33} Be on guard! Be alert ! You do not know when that time will come. {34} It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. {35} "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. {36} If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. {37} What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'"


Be wise, be shrewd. Know your enemy and know that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Be innocent and harmless and thus the power of God will be with you.

*   (1 John 4:4 NIV)  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

*   (Mat 28:19-20 NIV)  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


You want answers. You need answers. You will find answers. Simply pray, read the Bible and trust in God.

*   (John 12:25-27 NIV)  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. {26} Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. {27} "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

Love God with all your being. Do not hold back. This life is short, eternity is forever! Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant!”